4 Key Techniques To Improve Your Lacrosse Shot

Xcelerate Nike Lacrosse National Program Director, Brian Lalley, discusses, 4 Key Techniques To Improve Your Lacrosse Shot:

Shooting is a skill in lacrosse that most players are very eager to improve at. Since it’s a skill that a young man or woman generally is passionate to improve at, they tend to get a lot of reps in this skill. We know that habits are built on repetition. Through undisciplined repetitions, so many bad shooting habits are built. Recognize some of these common errors with shooting and work to build better habits through focused repetitions.

Mistake #1 - Hands Too Close to the Body

This habit is usually built at a young age since the player does not have the muscle strength in his/her forearms to extend their stick up and away. I know some companies like String King have made smaller sticks for young players just like basketball lowers the rim for younger age players.

When I work with a player, I first try to set his/her technique before they shoot to give them a feel for that technique and then build from there. Hands up and away from the body allow that player to use more wrists rather than pushing the ball with hands close to the body. It has also been proven with physics that the further the ball is away from the axis of rotation (belly button), the more rotational velocity generated.

Mistake #2 - Not Shooting Overhand

Before I approach this mistake, I’m definitely not a guy who thinks a sidearm or underhand shot is a bad thing in a matter of fact kind of way. I do believe that players should first learn how to shoot a good overhand shot. Once a player has developed the overhand technique I do think it’s ok to develop the techniques to shoot sidearm or underhand. I approach this like a license for driving. You need to have an underhand or sidearm license through proving you are able to execute it at a high level.

The greatest advantages of an overhand shot in my mind are first accuracy. If we shoot with an overhand release and, “paint the pipe,” we could miss high or low and still get our shot on the cage. Second, the head of your stick is hidden longer from the goalie, so he/she is not seeing the ball as long. Lastly, with a good overhand release with a tall chest and shoulders, a good shooter uses wrist snap to change the plane and get goalies reacting late to the shot. Deception is a great advantage of the overhand release.

Mistake #3 - Not Enough Hip/Shoulder Rotation and Follow Through

This is a component that tends to take good shooters to very good shooters. Some players focus on their arms and wrists but get very little core and shoulder rotation. There is a lot of power there going unused without a good rotation.

One drill I love to get players doing to build this is to go down on both knees with his / her hips and shoulders square to the goal. A partner pulls the head of the stick back as far as he/she can, maximizing the shoulder reach and core rotation. Once the partner lets go, the player in the drill should explosively rotate his/her shoulders and hips through the shot with maximum follow through.

Mistake # 4 - Not Enough Wrist Snap and Stick Follow Through

The power and deception in the wrists/forearms is a muscle group often not maximized in shooting. I’ll regularly see shooters not break their wrists at all. This motion should be paired with the rotation in the hips and shoulders. I tell players to break their wrists while trying to get the middle of their back pointed to the goal for maximum follow through.

Just like the knees down with hips square, I like to work on this while standing with hips and shoulders square to the net on our feet. On the follow through, players should snap their wrists and bring the stick as far across their body as possible.

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