Written by: Coach Mike Faith, Girls National Teams Director
Everyone loves to shoot, attackers, midfielders, defenders, and even goalies! Becoming a great shooter is going to require hours and hours of training and self-discipline. The best shooters that you see and play with have many different ways to shoot in lacrosse. They can shoot overhand, sidearm, behind the backs, risers, twizzlers, and some trick shots. The truth is, there is an art to shooting.
If you think about your high school or club practices, you probably don’t spend a lot of time shooting because you have to work plays, defenses, clears, rides, etc. Not to mention, if you play midfield and you are playing club, you might only shoot two times a game if that, and in a tournament, you might shoot eight times all weekend. As a True athlete, it’s your job to master the shots and your form BEFORE the game. Everyone wants to prepare, but due to the limited amount of shots you’re taking, then you must learn before the games.
To practice this, get at least 50 balls and a bucket and try to find a goal and master your craft. I would suggest starting with overhand shooting. Once you master this, you can then go into different angles and change levels to confuse the goalie. You also want to practice shooting on the run and when you are practicing, make sure the reps you are doing on the run are game reps. I would rather have a player take 20 shots that are as hard as she can run than 50 shots, and they are all at 50%. You need to practice how you are going to shoot in the game, so when you get in the game, you have taken that same shot a thousand times! Muscle memory is key!
Deception has become a big part of the women’s game. Shooting around defenders to screen the goalie, shooting low angle shots at goal line extended, and shooting step down shots on eight meters is very common now. These also take a lot of practice. The 8m shots are the easiest to practice, but the more you practice, the more confident you will become. Confidence is something that every player is looking for, and I think you gain your confidence from what you do outside of practice. My coach used to call it your Edge workout. Try to get three to four edge workouts a week, and your skill and confidence will go through the roof!
Remember, practice makes perfect. Put in the work and do your best, but most of all, have fun!