Five Basic Lacrosse Shots to Improve Your Attack Skills
When you first start playing lacrosse, you may be exclusively taught to use the overhand shot when aiming for the net. But as your skills improve and your competition becomes better, there will be times that the overhand shot just won’t cut it. So, having additional shots in your repertoire becomes a necessity if you want to stand out as an offensive weapon.
The five most commonly used shots after the simple overhand shot (and the ones off which nearly every variation is based) are the side arm and 3/4 set shots, on-the-run shooting, inside finishing and the jump shot.
A way to practice these shots is to set up an item between you and the net. Cones are ideal, but larger objects work too. If you cannot see over the object, that is fine. Move until you can see the net. Once you find the spot, stop — this is where you want the face of your stick to be when you release. Whatever direction the face is pointing is where the ball should go. Aim for different spots in the net as you never know what angle you’ll be shooting from during a game. Aim for the pipe and the outside of the net. If you aim for the center, you could hit the goalie during a game.
Remember that no matter where you play, the field and net will always stay in the same spot. Run the drill at different spots to mimic game-like situations.
Here's a detailed breakdown of each type of fundamental lacrosse shot:
Side-Arm Set Shot
For sidearm set shooting, we want to understand where we are on the field and when it's appropriate to use this type of release. A lot of coaches will tell athletes not to shoot side arm because they want them to throw overhand. However, the side arm release can be very functional because we can utilize it to increase our angle when we're lower and closer to goal line extended. In this case, the ball is leaving the stick much closer to the center of the field than it would if I were to shoot a three quarters or an overhand or a righty release.
3/4 Set Shot
We typically find ourselves in a balanced athletic position and our hips are perpendicular to the target. In this case, we're shooting a three quarters release, which means the head of the stick will come through in a diagonal pattern. Oftentimes with a set shot, we can shuffle and sometimes crow hop into the release, but either way, we end up in our set position.
In this case, we also want to focus on our weight transfer to maximize both power and accuracy. We want to utilize transferring weight from our back foot onto our front foot. If we transfer all of our weight onto that front foot, what ends up happening is the back foot should swing around towards your target after the release.
On the Run Shooting with an Overhand Release
This is widely known as one of the more challenging skills in the game of lacrosse, especially when coaches are asking athletes to do it in both their strong and weak hands. The release happens off of the opposite foot as it did for set shooting. So in this case, for lefty. I'll release off of my left foot as soon as that foot makes contact with the ground, a complete my hip rotation and let my shoulders and then hands come through direction that we're running before, during, and after the release. We'll have huge accuracy and power implications to maximize this. What we want to try to do is alter our momentum towards the target, regardless of which direction we're running. To start. At the point of release, a very common mistake athletes make when they throw on the run is that they continue to run in the direction that they started. Therefore, not altering their momentum and oftentimes leading to inaccurate throws.
What I want you to notice about this is the foot work pattern. Not necessarily exactly the type of steps I'm taking, but the angle of my run. So what I'm doing is I'm cutting to the back pipe. Starting on one side of the cage and finishing on the other. So it's going to be extremely important whether we have the ball in our stick or not. When we cut in these areas of the field, we want to cut across the cage to the back pipe.
Now with this technique of fake high finish low, I want you to notice that my fake high does not include a ton of forward and backward motion. It's more so an up, down motion with that initial fake cradle. What that allows me to do is minimize the time it takes to go from fake to finish. Whereas if I were to bring my stick while out in front of my face, I would be increasing the amount of time it takes to then recoil my stick, giving the goalie a chance to reset. So we want to minimize that by keeping the stick behind our head for the fake, allowing us to finish a little bit quicker.
Jump Shot with an Overhand Release
For jump shooting, we're going to be jumping and rotating and shooting all off of one foot. Whichever foot we jump off of, we also want to land on. As well as the jump and maybe just as important, if not more, is the pivot of our foot. That's what allows us to initiate our hip rotation and generate a lot of force on this shot, regardless of which direction we are running.
This technique is beneficial when we don't have enough time to set our feet because of the defender that's chasing us or a defender that's sliding to us. So by utilizing the jump shot, as soon as we get the proper foot planted and we have the correct balance, we'll be able to utilize this release very quickly.