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During his tenure as head men’s lacrosse coach at Robert Morris, Bear Davis developed his squad into one of the top scoring programs in the nation. By implementing game-like shooting drills into his regular practice plan, Davis ensured his players were comfortable within the offense, working on practical situations, and involved in competitive drills.
In this week’s team development feature, Davis leads you through whiteboard discussion and on-field simulations featuring three of his most effective drills. Each drill is suitable for players at nearly every level and easy to implement at your own practice with just a few adjustments. Look to deliver results with your own squad in practice and in game situations this season.
Begin by forming two lines out in front of the cage. Get your shooters in a line with each player possessing a ball. As players come up, they will feed to the opposite line across the cage. This player will then receive the pass and immediately fire on net. Be sure to point out a spot on cage that you want players to shoot on. Meanwhile, the next guy in line is ready to go because his teammate has a ball. Look to get tons of reps with this drill. This Time & Room drill is also similar to last week’s feature drill featuring John Nostrant and the Haverford School.
Start with a midfielder dodging down the alley. Next, get your attackmen to clear through and have the defenders step up. From here, the attackers will look to make a little fish hook move on the inside as the midfielder dodges down the alley. The midfielder will then dump it off to the attacker and the attacker will finish in tight.
Look to run this drill on both sides of the field and get a lot of reps in. Also, look to make over-the-shoulder feeds as well. Be sure that the attacker clears through for the dodger — this is key. The player inside here gets his hands free, catches, and looks to finish strong.
The key with change of direction shooting is for players to free up their hands (using your feet). It’s common for players to not always know what this means. Therefore to help with this concept, look to set out cones in front of the goal and get a coach in the middle (of the paint). Establish two lines of players starting from up top (on both sides of the field). One at a time, players start with a sprint to the middle (to free up some space), and then proceed toward the cage with a dodge. They will eventually get down to the cone nearest to the GLE, move back up to the top cone, get around this top cone, and finish off the shot.
Finally, make sure that players use their eyes to always read the slide attacker. We can do this by getting a coach set up in the middle to hold out a number and the players must shout these out. Through this, we will know that the players are dodging with their eyes up and are capable of reading when a player is sliding to try and take the ball away from them.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “25 Game-Speed Shooting Drills for Lacrosse” featuring Kenneth “Bear” Davis. Check out more shooting videos by heading over to our lacrosse library.
Look to add these highly efficient shooting drills to your lacrosse practices this year. The drills come from John Nostrant, the head boys’ lacrosse coach at the Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Perfect for warm-ups, game days, or after conditioning, these three shooting drills get your players a lot of reps in a short time and aim to improve overall shooting accuracy.
This shooting drill uses three lines of players. It all starts with a pass from the right line to the middle guy and then a shot on cage by the middle guy from about 15 yards out. Next, a pass immediately goes from the left player to the right player for a hard shot. Remember, there should be no defense or goalie’s in this drill, just offensive players working on their shooting. Players should always switch lines.
The goal here is to get a volume of shots, get players warmed up, improve on stick work, and to not wear on their legs. 3-Man Shooting is a good pre-game drill and perfect following a lot of conditioning work. Note: The team will burn through a massive amount of balls in about five minutes. There’s constant movement involved, ample passing, and a lot of reps.
Next, have all the lacrosse balls start in the top middle area. The players on the wings will get two shots back-to-back. The first is a set shot, like you’d get in an extra-man situation, set play, or fast break. The second shot is a “hitch and go” featuring a big shot fake and run to the middle.
This is a terrific warm-up drill, but also ideal for teaching technique, dodging, stick skills, and overall throwing and catching. Make sure that you get players to make a big pump fake and then sprint to the middle before unloading a shot.
Also, provide two feeders up top just constantly feeding players with passes. This should be their only job. It really helps players get in a lot of reps. Force the players to mix up shots, whether it be a low shot, high pipe shot, bouncer, etc.
Tip: Since there’s no defense here, players have the tendency to take their time and make a big wind-up. Constantly remind them to get their shots off quickly like in a game situation.
Finally, using the same set-up as before, get players to first make a set shot. Then for the second shot, have players step out, make a backdoor cut, lead with the stick, catch the ball, make one fake, and then shoot it. Remember, don’t run behind the goal. Stay in front of it. Meanwhile, lead players with your stick on the backdoor cut. Like before, players get back-to-back shots in the same sequence here.
Does your squad implement any of these drills or similar variations as part of their practice routine? Which other shooting drills do you recommend for getting your players a ton of reps?
In this week’s player development feature, learn basic shooting mechanics and key shooting drills from one of the game’s greatest players. With Gary Gait as your guide, you’ll find out how to properly isolate the hands and arms, develop release points, improve accuracy, and get important tips for generating power.
Shooting in lacrosse is certainly more complex than just throwing the ball on net. We’ll begin with a basic shot and how it involves body mechanics.
The best shooters in lacrosse all have the ability to get shots off and put it in any place or direction they want no matter what their body does. This comes from isolation and the ability to throw the ball no matter where the body is.
To start, square up your feet towards the goal and then get the right mechanics on the hands and the arms. As for your grip on the stick, grip it at the base of your fingers and not in the palms. This allows you to get more follow through and movement on the stick. Also, slide that top hand down the stick a bit.
Now we want to get the arms in the best position so we can get the most out of them. Extend the bottom arm so you can get a long pull. Flatten the top arm so you can get a nice push. Don’t get the stick at an angle where the pull is much shorter and where the push is shorter. Instead, position your arms in a way that maximizes their potential power.
Now, let’s focus on turning the feet and changing the position of our body. We still want to practice getting good use of the hands and arms here. Now point your feet to the sideline and keep them square. Shoot the ball and come across with the stick and focus on that same quickness. Your feet should be still. All we’re doing here is shooting stationary on the goal. Get lots of reps and explode through the movement.
Finish by reversing sides. Get the stick up and get a good pull and good push.
The next step is developing release points. Release points come from how much you pull and how much you push, plus when you pull and push.
For example, if you start from the same position every time, you can push and pull from here and get the ball to stay high. You can also develop a different release point by delaying the pull and the push. As you start the motion, drag the stick a little, then pull and push. It looks the same from the starting position, but now you can release the ball low.
We can also incorporate some side-to-side action. To aim side-to-side, pull the stick across the body as you make your push-pull movement. While this makes a natural upper body turn, it also makes your stick travel on a diagonal. From this same position and with the slightest adjustment with the hands and the push/pull, it will really change where the ball releases. Now you can hit the right corner, the left corner, the mid-left, the mid-right, bottom left and bottom right.
Before, we were facing the goal, now we can adjust our body (turn it to the side) and go through the same motions and shoot it at all areas of the goal. Move the ball around the goal and keep your body in the same position. Then turn the other way (from right to left, or vice versa).
Next, it’s about focusing on accuracy. Accuracy comes from practice. Simply get out there and practice over and over again trying to hit the same spot. You’ll develop consistency and accuracy this way.
After accuracy comes power, which derives from the body, driving through the legs, the hips and up through the body. The power then travels up through the hands, and you finish by being able to control where the shot goes using your hands and arms, how much you push and pull, and when you push and pull.
With power, line up facing the sideline and bring the stick back to generate speed with the stick. Turn your body to see over your shoulder. Drive your leg down, turn your hips through, keep your stick back, and come all the way through while twisting the body. Now we’re back into the position of how much I push and pull determines where the ball releases. So step, drive, shoot and get a really hard shot on cage.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion Lacrosse Player with Gary Gait: Shooting Techniques and Drills.” To check out more videos featuring shooting drills and instruction, visit our lacrosse library.
Follow along as Ohio State head coach Nick Myers breaks down form shooting with you. Myers covers the finer points when it comes to shooting and how players can use deception to get the most out of each shooting opportunity. See how you can implement these key tips with your squad this season so they can improve their shooting skills and overall offensive effectiveness.
Let’s start with the core fundamental pieces when it comes to shooting. You can make an analogy to golf here. In golf, you have the tendency to overswing. When you do, you sacrifice your fundamentals and form for power. Well, in lacrosse, you can compare this to a shot using only the arms. When this happens, you won’t be able to progress (especially with accuracy and power).
Continuing with the analogy, a lot of times in lacrosse, we aren’t using the right kind of club. For instance, there are different types of shots like in tight to the cage, off ball, time and space, and shots on the run. You have a number of shots in your bag, and you need to be effective at all of them.
First, you want to have good balance. By putting a piece of cheater tape on the stick, it will allow a player to have a point of reference for their hands. Coach Myers puts his stick right on his hips, gets a good base and balance, and puts his stick right to his chin. He will then rotate his chin to his shoulder. You want good space between you and your stick. And then you just let your body naturally rotate with you. This is what we call the catch and load phase.
1) Catch & Load — This is where you simply have a good stance, receive the ball deep, naturally coil the body, load the hips, and keep your weight on your back foot.
A great drill to practice this is to work with a partner, have light feet, and work on receiving the ball right into your catch and load position. Every rep I take, I am bringing it back and loading, catching it deep as the ball comes in, my feet are moving as the ball is in flight, I’m rotating my shoulders, my hands are out and up, my chin is on my shoulder, and I am ready to shoot the ball. You can’t be flat footed as you don’t want to drag the stick down. It makes the shot longer and creates room for error.
2) Follow-through – Start with your elbow, hip, and front foot. These three areas will be connected. You should rip with your elbow, which will open up the hips. Then turn your front foot and open your stance. This will really generate some power through the core of your body. Don’t allow your hands to come into your body.
Start with a ten-yard time and space shot. We call this our “Driver Shot.” We generate the most power out of this one. Our feet are set, we are catching and loading, and we are really trying to follow through to the goalie with as much power as we can get. Don’t overshoot. The key is to get the ball out and up quickly.
Shooting Progression: Catch and Load, Open Stance, Rip Elbow, and Follow Through.
In the slow motion clip, notice that the head of the stick is behind his body. This is hiding the stick from the goalie and forcing the player to coil his body and really get out and over the top.
With Soft Toss, we are working on the following: Stepping in and following through right at the target, not shooting for accuracy but for power, working on form, catching the ball soft, rotating the body, and delivering an explosive followthrough. Go righty and then lefty. It’s just a partner pass and shot. If you can get 25-30 reps before practice each day, you’ll really improve your technique and overall shooting.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Explosive Skills & Drills for Offensive Lacrosse” featuring Nick Myers. Check out more shooting videos by visiting our extensive lacrosse library.
Check out these three pracrical shooting drills that replicate game situations. Robert Morris head lacrosse coach Kenneth “Bear” Davis leads you through each one, first through whiteboard discussion and then via on-field simulations. Each drill is suitable for players of all levels and easy to implement into your own practices. After making these drills a part of your practice routine, hopefully they’ll deliver results come game time.
In this drill, one player will start with the ball before giving it up to his teammate. That first player will then make a back cut immediately after passing the ball. The feeder will then pass it right back to that player before the shooter get his hands set and then rips a shot. Communication is particularly important here among players for this type of play to succeed.
Meanwhile, the shooter has options. He can shuffle down, or get an over-the-shoulder look, among several other moves. Also, the “Give and Go” is ideal for middies in order to simulate a fast break, where players typically pass off to a point attackman before calling for the ball right back. You typically see give and go looks stemming from fast break opportunities.
Tip: On the shuffle move, players should get their shoulders square to the ball carrier before calling for the ball and receiving it back.
If your offense features a lot of pick and rolls, it’s key that your offense can also read and react to the pick and rolls, too. This drill is a great way to practice this.
You can run this drill from the side or from up top, whatever fits your offense best. Don’t forget that players need to open up and get their shoulders square to the ball carrier (so he/she can be ready to receive the pass). Coaches can also dictate where they want players to move in the drill, like telling players they must give it up, or go to the cage, or allow a player to freelance (unscripted).
Tip: You can run this drill on both sides of the cage at the same time to maximize reps and make sure everyone is getting involved.
According to Coach Davis, this is not a drill for the weak. Line up your players in two lines and within the hash marks of the field. One line should be filled with defenders. The other line will have midfielders or attackmen. One midfielder/attacker will carry the ball and go one-on-one with a defenseman. Players have limited space to work with and must stay within the perimeter of hash marks (where the lines are formed).
Starting at the 50-yard line, players must run down the gauntlet until it’s just a one-on-one with the goal. If the offensive player beats the defender clean, then the defender must do all he/she can to chase and recover. The offensive player will look to get off a high percentage shot on goal.
This is a terrific warm-up drill for 1-on-1’s. Defenders get to work on their footwork and offensive players get to work on their ball protection.
Tip: Once within 10 yards of the cage, players can then shoot on net. Also, you can make this drill as physical as you’d like, but it’s recommended to get the fundamentals down first.