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Archives by Tag 'Ron Caputo'

Get Better at Shooting with Momentum Near the Goal!

By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In the Duke offense, players often start on one side of the field, cut across to receive a pass, then step down to take a shot. Ron Caputo, assistant coach for the Blue Devils, trains players to mimic this crossing motion in the “Step Down Shots” drill to help prepare them for games.

Step Down Shots

Drill Summary: Form a line of players about five yards from the side of the goal, and form another line about 10 yards in front of the goal on the opposite side. One at a time, players in front of the goal take a banana cut and receive a pass from the player at the front of the other line. After receiving the pass, fire a shot at the far side post. Be sure to switch lines after passing and shooting.

Keys to the Drill:

1) Take a banana cut. Don’t run straight across the field.
2) Catch and shoot the ball with your momentum going toward the goal.
3) Aim for the far side post.
4) It’s okay to miss wide – focus on instincts, not on accuracy.

This video came from Championship Productions’ video “15 Drills for Building a Successful Shooting Program.” View other world class Lacrosse videos!

“Swat the Fly” to Become a Better Shooter!

By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ron Caputo, Duke University assistant coach, runs his players through this drill to discourage cradling the ball when shooting. In addition to learning to not cradle the ball, players will also learn to properly exchange their weight when making a shot on goal.

Swat the Fly

Drill Summary: Players form a single file line facing the sideline about 6-7 yards in front of the goal. A coach stands roughly five yards in front of the line with a bunch of balls. To begin, the first player in line steps up and gets in a position similar to a tennis player when they serve the ball, with the arm back over their head and only one hand on the stick. The coach lobs a ball up to where the player can easily catch it, and the player immediately fires a shot into the goal using one hand. Coach Caputo usually gives each player 2-4 reps at a time so they can develop muscle memory.

Keys to the Drill:

1) Don’t cradle the ball.
2) Good weight shift.
3) Focus on form, not accuracy.
4) Hand position on the stick.

This video came from Championship Productions’ video “15 Drills for Building a Successful Shooting Program.” View other world class Lacrosse videos!

Learn a Face-Off Tactic with this Drill from Duke University!

By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Duke University assistant coach Ron Caputo shares one of the drills that he and head coach John Danowski use to control as many face-offs as possible. The Dead Stick drill is a precision drill that requires players to use sound technique to make sure they retain possession of a face-off.

Dead Stick

Drill Summary: Two players get in a stance as though they were about to face-off. The first player’s job is to clamp the ball, put it between their legs and behind them on the ground, stay in the crab walk position when turning around (with their butt and back to the other player) and corral the ground ball. The second player assumes the face-off position, but doesn’t try to steal the ball until the first player puts it on the ground behind them. Another variation of this drill is to have the second player stand up at the start instead of getting in the face-off position. This forces the first player to explode out of their stance and concentrate on boxing out.

Keys to the Drill:

1) First player’s chest should be directly opposite the second player after the turn.
2) Exaggerate putting the other player on their back.
3) Get big on the box out.
4) Practice jamming.

This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Face Offs: Drills and Strategies.” View other world class Lacrosse videos!

Effective Dodges and Shooting Drills for Midfielders

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whether on the field with a team or in the backyard, the offseason is a perfect time for rising midfielders to continue their development. With Duke assistant coach Ron Caputo leading the way, learn about effective dodging techniques and shooting drills designed for midfielders.

The techniques and drills learned will go a long way towards your players being able to dodge, beat their defender, and score goals. Step-by-step, Coach Caputo breaks down each technique before members of the Duke lacrosse team demonstrate them at full speed.

Offensive Skills

If the game slows down – which it does especially late in the season – midfielders need to be proficient in 6-on-6 offense. But for midfielders to be effective, they must be able to dodge, beat the defender, and score.

One of the first rules for a midfielder is to be able to beat your man and score a goal. Well, you often beat them by split dodging, swim dodging, and roll dodging. Check out these techniques below.

Split Dodge

The split dodge is one of the most effective moves for getting off a shot or making a pass to a teammate. While keeping the shoulders square, the move revolves around a quick burst of speed and change of direction – forcing the defense to backpedal and lose momentum.

Swim Dodge

Notice how violent the players are being with the ground. You must explode off that foot and go. You should have no consideration for who is playing defense. They simply don’t exist. You must get by them.

Roll Dodge

Here you must snap your head around. If you control the head, you control the rest of the body. Get your chin on your shoulders so you can see as much of the field as possible. When you turn and go the other way (when the chin turns), the body turns as well.


The next step is that we must know how to shoot and get the ball past the goalie. Here are a few shooting drills that should pay immediate dividends for midfielders.

Hands Back Drill

This is a drill used by Duke lacrosse every day and a perfect warm-up and pre-practice drill in advance of stretching. One player will go at a time. The player will step between the pipes, call out “One More” and then receive the ball. Next, the player will get his hands all the way back, will get his shoulder “in his mouth”, and then drive down as hard as they can to the middle of the goal.

It may seem a bit weird to shoot two feet from the goal, but as player’s progress, you can keep moving further back. The goal here is to create muscle memory for shooting so that when a player is in the heat of the moment, they can catch a ball, get the hands back, and rip it without even blinking.

Shoot it as hard as you can and almost fall over into the cage as you shoot. Come hard over the top and let it go – similar to a pitcher in baseball. Then switch to the left hand.

Layup Shot

This shot is similar to a layup in basketball. It’s important for the outside leg to come over the inside leg. This gives you power when coming at the goal. For this drill, a teammate will toss lacrosse balls into the air to each player. The participating players will catch it and then shoot the ball hard on net.

We are looking to create torque and get our body twisted. Keep in mind that every time you shoot the ball in lacrosse, your right shoulder should be facing the left pipe and your left shoulder should be facing the right pipe – no matter where you are.

Also, when coming from behind the goal, your hips should be turned as you are shooting the ball from there. Make sure you do the drill left-handed, too.


Two Cage Shooting Drill

For this drill, put a cage in front of the shooter so they are forced into the habit of not dropping the hands or shooting side arm. Players must come hard over the top using the techniques previously taught. Get the hands and hips back, and follow through while turning the hips. Notice how the players in the clip are getting the hands back each time and driving the ball down. Younger players may hit the goal a lot at first, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it in the long run.


The clips above can be seen in Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Midfielder.” Check out the entire collection plus other videos featuring midfielder skills and drills by viewing our lacrosse library.

3 Essential Ground Ball Drills For the Dynamic Midfielder

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Midfielders play extremely important roles on any lacrosse team. They are the only players to play both offense and defense, so they need to be complete players. It’s key that midfielders can dictate the tempo of a game by playing hard and fast, so in order to do that, players have to drill hard and fast.

Being skilled with ground balls is vital to becoming a dynamic midfielder and it’s very important to be able to pick the ball off the ground. Teams generally want their midfielders to create tempo and cause havoc out on the field, but the only way to do that is by knocking the ball to the ground and picking it up.

Led by Duke assistant coach Ron Caputo, the following drills will teach you proper ground ball techniques, skills and methods to incorporate into your next practice and ultimately improve the play of your midfielders.

Racing Through the Ball As Hard As You Can

A good midfielder doesn’t care about what’s around them and will always run through the ball. In this drill, have a line of players stand about 5-10 yards from a ball on the field. Meanwhile, take two players and have them hold out their sticks toward the ball, but never touching it. While the sticks will hit the players, it shouldn’t matter. One by one, players will sprint forward and scoop up the ball. Even if the ball gets kicked and moves forward, players should not be worried about distractions and conflict.

Players should start out with their right hand first and then use their left h and on the way back. Remember, players should pick up the ball with both hands though. The goal here is to get comfortable picking up the ball and not be worried about contact or distractions on he field.


Picking the Ball Up With Both Hands

One of the biggest keys for a midfielder is to be able to move the ball to teammates right away. To do that, players must be able to pick up the ball with both hands and do so very fast.

In this drill, two players will start out about five yards apart and face the main drill participant. One player will then roll the ball out to the main participant’s right hand and as they pick it up, he will “get in the mirror” and pass it back to the roller. Then the other roller will toss the ball out to the player’s left side, and the player will scoop it up and deposit it back to the roller. The drill repeats continuously.

This is a great conditioning drill and will keep your players playing fast and being able to pick up the ball with both hands before moving it quickly to teammates.


The Box Out Drill

Another job of a midfielder is to keep opposing teams off the ground balls and allow one of their teammates to get it. In this drill, we’ll have two players work together at a time. One player will be in front of the other. At the sound of the whistle, the player playing behind the offensive player will try to get around the man and get the ball that’s resting just out in front. Meanwhile, the player in front will use his elbows and hips to box that player out and not let him get the ball. The player may not pick up the ground ball until the coach blows his whistle a second time.


The three drills in this week’s feature can be found in the Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Midfielder.” To check out additional videos in the Becoming a Champion lacrosse series, click here.


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