This week’s player development feature focuses on three inside shooting drills that are helpful towards developing a complete attackman. The three drills — led by Duke head coach and 2010 National Champion John Danowski — are easy to implement at practice or at home. After some hard work and commitment, mastering these three workouts should pay major dividends towards overall player improvement, plus execution in practice and game situations.
The following inside shooting drills focus on three techniques: C-Cut, Fade and Pop. It’s important for players to remember to always read the defense and the man who’s covering you. What exactly is he doing? Is he sliding, turning his head or is he looking to slide? These are important questions to ask yourself.
C-Cut: This technique involves the attackman starting on the back pipe when the ball is being dodged on the opposite side of the field. As his teammate starts his dodge and begins movement, that’s when the attackman moves, too. The attacker will move up the field and get himself on the same plane as his teammate before cutting to the ball. If the defense is also cutting toward the ball (this action should get the attackman freed up), that’s when the player’s momentum will take him to the feeder. Remember to practice this drill with both hands.
Fade: The fade is more of a sneaky technique. This move — which can be used when there is no second slide, or when your defender leaves you to cover someone else — also enables the attackman to sneak to certain spots on the field. In this case, the attacker will start moving forward to the ball before fading to the back pipe. All the while, the attackman should have his stick ready, should be prepared for a pass and should look to finish on the back side of the goal. With this move, instead of a curl technique, the attackman should back pedal behind the defense before shooting.
Key: Always have one eye on the ball and one eye on your man.
Pop: This technique is an effective way to get separation form you and your man but has to be timed so you get yourself open right when your teammate sees you. Players should start out about five yards in front of the goal (facing the sideline) before popping out about five or ten more yards on a horizontal line and receiving the pass for a shot on goal.
Tips: Stay technically correct throughout this drill. When cutting to the right pipe, the stick should be in your right hand. When cutting to the left pipe, the stick should be in the left hand. This allows players to have their body between the ball and defender at all times. If attackers play the percentages, they’ll ultimately end up having better success.