The Basics of the Lacrosse Shot
Scoring in the game of lacrosse is an artform that can take years to master, but it doesn’t have to take that long. Some players just have a natural way of finding the back of the net. Others can find it hard to become a scorer. The natural movement of the human body has everything to do with the ability to shoot. The “natural” scorer is generally in tune with their body and they let their body move naturally through their shooting stroke. Other players that lack the confidence and trust in their natural motion will be too tense and never become a great scorer.
Players may find themselves struggling to score because they are “going 100 miles per hour in the wrong direction”. Throwing a lacrosse ball is easy to teach. Top hand, bottom hand, push, pull. Where most new coaches go wrong is how their players are holding their sticks. Gripping the stick harder does not equate to harder, more accurate shooting. Players should be challenged to play the game with the necessary strength grip on their sticks. A good exercise is to have players execute passing drills with the hardest grip possible, then ask them to use the lightest grip possible, then ask them to find the happy medium where their hands give them the ability to feel the ball in their pocket and have the most control. This is important to accomplish because a great scorer has a great feel for the ball in their stick, much like a soccer player’s “touch” on the ball, or a quarterback’s “touch” on the football.
Once a player can feel the ball in their sticks, they need to allow their hands to operate separately from the rest of their body. This can be accomplished through simple footwork and hip drills without using a stick. Ask your players to simply step to open their hips, then close their hips to the “target” while pulling their trail foot.
Connecting your feet and hands is very simple. Top hand should be at a 90 degree angle at the elbow and armpit with both arms reaching back comfortably… not too far stretched. Shooters should strive to have a “beginning shooting position” or a technique that looks the same before every shot. This will allow a shooter to be deceptive.
Feet, hands, arms are now all set. A player is ready to shoot the ball. What happens next? How do they all work together?
After the player takes a step, their hips will begin to close. Hands and arms should begin moving in unison with the close of the hips and the ball should be released when the hips and shoulder become square to the target. The most accurate shooters are able to time up the squaring of their hips and shoulder to their target with the push and pull “snap” of both hands.
Shooting and scoring doesn’t have to be complex. Relax, stand comfortably, take a step as if you were starting a walk, trust your natural motion, and let it fly!