Shooting

Intermediate level players, much more so than beginners, need to start concentrating on their shooting ability. Shooting is like other fundamentals in lacrosse. The more the player works at it, the better he will be. Most of the best players in the world grew up with a lacrosse goal in their backyard or in a nearby park, and spent hours a day shooting by themselves.

The most critical part of shooting comes from something that was learned at the beginner level, which is to get the players’ hands away from his body. If he has worked on passing with one hand for a couple years, then he should really not have any problems with this. This is why building a solid foundation and learning to throw one-handed as a beginner is so helpful. It develops a throwing motion that is great for both passing and shooting.

Time & Room

With shooting, the intermediate level player has to learn to incorporate some other motions into his passing technique. When shooting with time and room (standing still from outside) the player wants to take a big step with his opposite foot. So, if he is right-handed, then he wants to step with his left foot. As discussed, he wants to extend his hands away from his body and get his left elbow up as high as possible. He then wants to twist his torso as far to the right as possible. A shooter at this point, with the right technique, is like a loaded coil or spring. As he takes that big step with his left foot, his torso uncoils and twists back to his left, and his wrists snap his stick over the top. The players’ hands should be about a foot apart, so his bottom hand is on the butt end of the stick, and the top hand is about a quarter of the way up the shaft (about the length of the forearm). This is a general guide. It is important that the shooter finds the most comfortable hand position for his individual biomechanics.

GRIP IT AND RIP IT

When a player starts practicing his shooting each day, he should always start off by aiming at the middle of the goal and then working his way out to the corners. Too many players try to pick corners too much and they end up missing the goal in practice and in games. Remind your shooters that it is better to take a good shot and make the goalie save the ball than for them to miss the goal. Also, as they start to be able to aim for corners, teach them to shoot the ball six inches in from each pipe. So, if the player is trying to hit the top right corner, they should hit six inches down from the cross bar and six inches to the left of the right pipe. This gives the shooter some margin of error to work with.

The Over-hand Shot

The most important shot that an intermediate level player really needs to work on is the over-hand shot. This will develop correct shooting technique for later on. It is also the most effective shot in lacrosse because it is accurate and hard for the goalie to read. With an overhand shot, a player can shoot at any part of the goal. He can go high to high, high to hip level, or high to low. The player can also hide his stick behind his head as he winds up for an overhand shot and shoot with time and room, on the run, and in close.

Shooting on-the-Run

The only real changes that occur when shooting on the run is that there is less leg power involved. The shooter must get more of his power from snapping his wrists over and turning his torso. One tip that helps young players a great deal when learning to shoot on the run is to have their shoulder pointed towards the goal. This makes them really turn their body into their shot and keeps them from fading away and shooting off their back foot. It is also important to have intermediate players concentrate on running down the pipes towards the goal. They will take more accurate and powerful shots with better angels than if they fade away from the goal. When learning to shoot on the run, have players start slow and work on timing their shots in stride instead of trying to shoot at full speed.

Shooting in Close

The overhand shot is also great for finishing, which means shooting in close (anywhere within 5 yards close to the goal). Stress to your players when finishing that accuracy, not power, is what scores goals. It is also very effective to shoot overhand when finishing because the player can hide the stick behind his head for a quick and deceptive shot. Many young players drop their sticks when they are finishing and get stuffed by the goalie. For all of these reasons, the overhand shot is the best shot for an intermediate level player to work on. Once he has mastered this shot, then he can move on to shooting sidearm and underhand at the advanced level.

KEYS

  1. Keep your hands free from your body with your elbows up
  2. Wind up your torso to generate more power upon release
  3. Step toward the goal driving off your back leg. For shooting on the run, time shots in stride and dip your shoulder towards the goal
  4. Follow through toward your target

Some great tips to get you going:

Teamwork is Key

Always remember that teamwork is the key to a good attack.

Don’t Force it

Never try to force in, with the ball or by a pass, if the defense is drawn in. Pull them out first.

Time Your Cuts

Time your cuts, don't cut if the man with the ball is not watching or not in position to pass.

Make Good Passes

Take pains to make every pass a good pass.

Don’t Rush at Him

Don't rush at a man when riding - particularly behind the goal. Force him to pass - force him in the direction where there is help. Talk all the time and run hard. The success of an attack depends on their riding ability and their desire to have the ball.

Never Pass to a Covered Player

Never make a pass to a man who is covered just to get rid of the ball.

Never Stand Still

When you have the ball, never stand still - keep moving all the time - if necessary run backwards and forwards - but keep moving. When you are ready to make a pass, take one step back quickly and move. If you are standing still, you're wrong.

Back Each Other Up

Always be in position to back up shots and feeds. When a cut is made, or a shot is taken, the whole attack must play a part, moving to be in a position to backup a pass or a shot. Control the ball!

Away From the Defense

In moving the ball around the circle, make all passes sharp, short, and to the outside, away from the defense man.

Get it Off the Ground

After picking up a loose ball, turn and face the crease immediately. If nobody is open, move in fast until you are picked up.

Feed Passes

All feed passes must be thrown crsiply and accurately. If it's a bad pass, do your best and make a great catch to help your buddy out.

After the Pass

If you receive a pass after cutting and haven't got a good shot, hold onto the ball.

Ride Hard

When you lose the ball, ride it. The close attack must ride and ride hard until the ball is past midfield.

Make Him Play You

Make your defenseman play you and you alone every second you are in the game. Keep moving all the time so that he must center his attention on you an not be in position to help out his fellow defensemen.

Cut Hard and Fast

Make full cuts - go through and out - don't cut at half speed or hang around the crease after your cut.

After the Clear

After the ball has been cleared, if you have a wide open opportunity to dodge, do it. If you are sure a man is open, pass to him, otherwise settle the ball down and let your attack get set up. Remember, after a clear the midfielders will need time to catch their breath. Middies rest on offense, not defense, Control The Ball!

Fake Passes

When you have the ball, be constantly faking passes - keep your defense man's stick moving. Go ahead, throw that sky-whammy.

Outside Shooting

On all long shots, a man must be on the crease.

Be an Outlet

If an attack man is being ridden hard and can't dodge or get away - the nearest man on each side goes to help him.

Move the Ball

Don't dodge if there is an open man. Don't hold the ball long unless you are planning a dodge. Keep it moving with quick, short passes.