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The majority of shots that players take in a game are on the move in some way or form. Therefore, it’s important for players to become comfortable and proficient with shooting on the run from a number of different positions on the field.
With Johns Hopkins University Offensive Coordinator Bobby Benson as your guide, you’ll learn about different techniques for shooting on the run. Coach Benson first breaks down each drill before having his team run through multiple reps at full speed.
First, no matter where you are a player on the field, you must always move your hips toward the goal. This is how you generate the most power and accuracy. When it comes to practicing it, set up cones down the middle of the field (about 5 total, with the second cone being about 10 yards away and slightly to the right or left) starting at the midfield line.
Players should initially make a dodge at the initial cone. At the next cone, concentrate on turning your hips and going to the pipe. The last two cones are set about five yards beyond the third cone, about 3 yards apart from each other, and 12 yards away from the cage. Run between the two cones so you make your move toward the goal and not running away from it.
Remember, your shot should not be much different than other shots: Keep your arms back, keep creating tension, and keep swinging through.
Note: Coach Benson likes to have players practice spinning around as they shoot so they are facing the other direction. This helps with follow-through and swinging that opposite hip into each shot.
The next dodge is from the high wing. After making an initial move, players should split down the side in this case, turn their hips to the pipe as they shoot, and finish between the two cones. Concentrate on getting those hips toward the goal as you shoot.
Now start from the mid or low wing. Too often when guys dodge from the wing, they end up drifting away from the cage. We want to make sure we are going towards the goal with these shots.
Finally, we are coming around from behind the goal. The biggest mistake guys make when dodging from behind or when shooting around the cage is that they drift and don’t turn the corner. The first cone is placed where we want to make our move, the second is at the goal line, and then split the last two cones when coming around the edge. When you get to the goal line, it’s key to turn those hips and make a beeline for the front of the cage. Your back should be facing the opposite side of the field when done. Swing the right hip into the shot and bring the back around.
This drill is perfect for practicing dodging on the run. It forces you to shoot the ball out of your split dodge. Players will catch the ball inside the box and won’t have a ton of time to shoot the ball at 10-12 yards. Therefore, focus on staying inside the hash marks and moving north-south. That means we are going to the goal. Work on spinning around with each shot and getting your hips into it.
You can also do the same drill from behind the goal. Start with a pass across, split the top side hard, and work on turning the corner and finishing in front of the cage. If you do this drill correctly, you should finish in front of the cage and move right into the opposite line.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “35 Championship Shooting Drills for Lacrosse” with Bobby Benson. To check out more shooting-oriented videos, head over to our lacrosse library.
It takes a very specific skillset to be able to play on the inside effectively. After all, this is where the action off the ball really takes place. Players must demonstrate an ability to be accurate on net, have a quick release, take hits from the defense, make convincing cuts, and get open.
In this week’s skill development feature, Johns Hopkins assistant coach Bobby Benson reveals key tips and techniques when playing on the inside. This breakdown places a particular emphasis on 2-v-2 play with two crease attackers. Then, learn two new drills that focus on catching the ball inside, setting effective screens, plus making good cuts and finishing on cage.
Often when we play inside, we feature just one crease attackman. However, there are a variety of offenses used today that implement two crease attackers, like the 2-2-2 offense. With two attackers in the mix, the ability to play together effectively is key if you want to have success on the crease. It’s vital that players communicate so they can cut and get open on the inside together. You must talk in order to be successful.
A slide by the defense can often make life a lot easier for the offense. For instance, when the ball is behind the cage and the defense slides, and we haven’t yet set a screen, we can now just separate and try to find a gray area. If we already went through a screen, we can then screen the second slide and come right off of it. But we also need to get open when the defense isn’t sliding at all.
When the Ball is Back Right
When the ball is back right, our crease guys have options on what they can do. First, if the defense is inside one of our crease guys, we can try to seal the ball-side defender that gets caught inside. Now our opposite crease guy can cut right off what is now a double screen. If his defender follows him, he will curl to the ball and make a sharp cut. However, if his defender ducks underneath, he can flare or fade into the open area for a spot feed. This happens most frequently on passes across X behind.
When the Ball is Back Left
When the ball is back left, the defense is taught to be ball-side of their man. Therefore on that pass, we can often screen our own guy before he can get outside of us. Now we can come off and play. If we can’t get outside of our own guy, and the defense does a good job of forcing us to the inside, then we can go ahead and screen across.
When setting screens, we need to make sure that we are square to where the cutter is going. Don’t set a screen with the shoulder. These screens are too easy to get around. Instead, set the screen with your chest, back or butt, and facing where the cutter is going. Just make sure you’re square to where he’s going to cut.
If the defense doesn’t switch on the screen, then the read is the same. If the defense comes around and follows, we should curl and cut to the ball. If the defender ducks underneath, then we should step away to the open area for a spot feed. Also, if the defender tries to jump to the top-side of the screen early, we can go backdoor.
Be sure to notice where the screens take place – always about 7-8 yards out and to the opposite pipe. If we don’t do this, we won’t have enough room to operate effectively. Also, if we set our screen and the defense switches screens inside, look to flare or feed into that open area. There’s no point in cutting to the defender. After the seal, we should go right to the ball.
For this drill, we’ll get four guys on the perimeter. These guys will be skeleton players. There’s also 2-on-2 action on the inside and this is live. As the ball moves around the perimeter, the guys inside are constantly moving around and getting open with the goal to score. This is the perfect opportunity for inside players to work on their communication, cuts, working off the ball, and finishing on net.
This drill really helps with catching the ball inside and finishing. We’ll have one player inside and five feeders around the perimeter. Number the feeders 1 through 5. 1 will be lower right, 2 will be lower left, 3 will be top left, 4 will be top center, and 5 will be top right.
Whichever number the the coach yells out, our crease player will then have to go get the ball from that number and finish it. This inside player will be continuously cutting in the circle, back and forth, and finishing as many balls as he can in a certain period of time. Each perimeter player will have three balls, so it’s 15 total shots per player.
Notice that the inside player is working on catching the ball, getting it in and out of his stick quickly, and putting it in the goal quickly — all while keeping his feet moving the entire time. Don’t catch the ball with your feet still. Keep the feet moving so that defenders will have a tougher time checking you.
The following shooting drills work on players moving to an area, catching the ball with their feet set, and getting away a quick release and hard overall shot. With Johns Hopkins University Offensive Coordinator Bobby Benson as your guide, you’ll learn about turnaround shots, shots for mumbo drills, and shots off of quick screens. Coach Benson first breaks down each drill step-by-step before using on-field demonstrations to illustrate how the workouts should be carried out.
In this drill, our shooters will start out by facing in one direction. On “Go”, they will then turn to the outside, catch a feed from a teammate, and then fire a shot on net. As soon as the player releases his shot, he will then replant himself, turn to the outside again, approach the next feeder, catch the pass, and release another shot on cage.
Two feeders will start in the wing areas of the field with the shooter in the middle of them. Each player should look to get 10 to 15 shots before switching out.
Remember, it’s key that we turn to the outside so that we can turn our back to the goal and get our body set to receive the ball. On the other hand, if we turn to the inside, we are much more likely to catch the ball square to the goal where we can’t get that good hard shot off.
Now add a second player and move the feeders down to the GLE. With players criss-crossing, it will make them push a bit harder now. Be sure to have players working at a good pace. It’s key that the participants communicate constantly so they don’t hit each other as they run across.
Now for this drill, we’ll implement two goals on opposite sides. Shots should be taken from about 12 yards out. Each player will do the same semi-circle move as before, just working on opposite sides of each other now. Coach Benson finds that involving two players at once makes participants play at a faster pace. Remember to keep good form at all times and that each respective player should only shoot on one specific goal throughout the simulation.
It’s important to practice the shots that you’ll typically get in the game. At Hopkins, Coach Benson likes to devise shooting drills that will look like some aspect of his own offense, whether it’s utilizing a wing-to-wing skip, rolling off the crease, or a mumbo.
This drill emulates a mumbo. A mumbo is when a wing player heads into the crease area and sets a screen and the player on the crease comes off the screen to catch the ball and take a shot. This drill will force shooters to get off the crease, get their feet set, catch the ball back, and shoot it hard.
It all starts with a dodge from up top. We’ll then set the mumbo and do it over and over again with the two participating players to really practice their shooting. It’s key that we get the timing down between the dodgers and the screeners. Remember to try and create shooting drills that will emulate the parts of your offense. Thus, when players get into a game, they are comfortable with specific kinds of shots.
This time we’ll start with a dodge from behind the cage, make a screen to the crease, and then come off that screen and look to throw a good feed behind with a catch and finish. Look to get those feet set so that you can catch the ball with your weight back and arms back in order to get a good release and hard, accurate shot.
Here’s another shooting drill that involves two players making a quick screen with a pop out, but no dodge this time. One player will come down for the quick screen about 10-12 yards in front. The other player will curl off of him, catch the pass and shoot. That same player will then immediately turn into the screener and the previous screener now turns into the shooter. Remember to curl into the area just behind the screen. This will give you the time necessary to get set and then have the open space to deliver.
The preceding clips can be found on Championship Productions’ DVD 35 Championship Shooting Drills for Lacrosse featuring Bobby Benson. Click here to check out our extensive video collection highlighting additional shooting drills.