Shooting and Passing
After a player has become comfortable with the basics of stick handling and is able to control the ball, she is ready to transition into the next steps: passing and shooting. Lacrosse is a team sport that requires effective ball movement from one player to another. There are two parts to the successful execution of a pass: the pass and the reception. The successful transition of possession from one player to another must begin with a good pass.
The ultimate goal of lacrosse is to score goals. The more goals a team can score, the more likely they are to win a game. Similarly, the more times a player is able to capitalize on a scoring opportunity, the more likely her team is to win. There are a limited number of scoring opportunities in a game, and players need to be able to maximize the opportunities they are given.
If a player maintains good form when she passes or shoots, she will maximize the power and accuracy of every pass and shot—and increase the chance and frequency of successful execution. Following are the elements of good shooting form.
When shooting, make sure your weight starts on the back foot, with your feet shoulder width apart and your front foot planted.
Keep your arms—both hands and elbows—away from your body, as described in the basic stick-handling section. The player’s elbows should be bent; the exact distance away from the body will depend on the specific player.
Keep your hands approximately 12 inches (.3 m) apart on the stick (figure 2.6a). If your hands are too close together, you will not have enough control over your stick. If your hands are too far apart, you will lose flexibility and power on the shot. Although each player’s comfort distance will be slightly different, 12 inches is a general guideline for good shooting form.
As you shoot, shift your weight from the back foot to the front foot. Simultaneously, rotate your hips, torso, and shoulders toward the target. The shift of weight from front to back, coupled with the rotation of the hips, torso, and shoulders, will bring power into your shot.
Use a push-pull motion when shooting. Pull the bottom hand down and across the body to the opposite hip. Simultaneously, push or drive your top hand forward, with the head of the stick toward the target (figure 2.6b). The bottom hand should pull across to the other side of your body until the top hand is full extended toward the target. Ultimately, the top hand will follow through, with the head of the stick, to the outside of your planted front foot, on the opposite side of the body.
As your top and bottom hands engage in the push-pull motion, snap your wrists forward toward the target.
Transfer your weight from back to front and rotate your torso and hips forward toward the target. A shot’s power comes from your legs, hips, and torso. This motion, the torso twist, occurs as you transfer your weight from back to front and rotates your torso and hips forward toward the target. The weight transfer or torso twist should occur simultaneously as your hands push-pull and follow through toward their target. When players are first becoming comfortable with the torso twist, they should overemphasize it. The torso twist is the origin of a shot’s power.
Release the ball after pulling with your bottom hand, pushing with your top hand, and driving the head of your stick toward the target. The stick should follow through to the outside of the planted foot, on the opposite side of the body (figure 2.6c).