Guide To Bar Down In Lacrosse (Pro Tips Included)

Undoubtedly lacrosse has many slang and terms. On top of some basic common terms, each term also has its own unique lingo. As a beginner, you will probably be confused when hearing them the first time. Thus, in this post, we will explain a key term, “bar down” in lacrosse. Particularly for offensive players, you will hear this term here and there. 

As a lacrosse slang, bar down describes a shot that strikes the bottom of the top crossbar and deflects to the ground into the goal. Essentially bar down shot is highly accurate and nearly perfect which makes it impossible to save. Because it’s one of the perfect shots players look to attempt, the lacrosse community hence gave it a name, bar down. 

Now you understand what bar down means and how players view it as the perfect shot any attackman could make; you probably wonder how to shoot a bar down yourself. In this post, we will go into details in regards to what it looks like in action and how you can achieve bar down shots.

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Where does the phrase bar down come from?

If you play ice hockey, you would know this term originated from this winter sport. It refers to a shot where the puck hits the crossbar and ricochets into the goal. In ice hockey, this is also an incredibly difficult shot to make and requires a level of great skills. 

As these two sports share many similarities such as using sticks to play and shooting on nets, the lacrosse community brought this term over and started to use it for the same meaning. In fact, because ice hockey and lacrosse are similar and lacrosse started to gain popularity, many players play both sports. That further contributed to the fact that the two sports overlap in many ways. Thus, there you have it, bar down is a term that came from ice hockey.

Bar Down In Lacrosse

Why is bar down shot difficult?

It’s not hard to understand the idea behind bar down. But for players who don’t have a lot of playing experience, it’s hard to grasp why it’s such a difficult shot to achieve. Essentially to be able to make a bar down shot, the ball needs to hit one precise location at the crossbar that deflects the ball downward and inward. 

When I say precise, it means exactly that one section on the lower half of the beam in order to make it work. If your shot is a tad higher, the ball will hit the crossbar head on and bounces right back instead of going down into the goal. On the other hand, if your shot is a tad lower, the ball will miss the crossbar and who knows if it would make it to the net. 

Another factor that makes bar down difficult to execute is this shot must be done with enough velocity. Over the course of a lacrosse game, players can get a few great shooting opportunities so they usually try to shoot in the most practical way possible. Bar down isn’t one of them. It requires both an insane accuracy and a maximum velocity. 

For this reason, you rarely see players attempt to shoot bar down shots during games, let alone bar down goals. Put simply, bar down is highly uncertain, so lacrosse coaches aren’t often enthusiastic about it nor encourage players to attempt bar downs in games. 

That said, I do think bar down makes a great shooting exercise that improves your control and accuracy. If you are able to do bar down flawlessly even without any pressure, that’s a great demonstration of your shooting skill. So if you sense your shooting needs some improvement, it doesn’t hurt to incorporate bar down into your daily shooting drills using a rebounder in the backyard.

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Bar Down Shots In Real Action

Bar down shots are regular guests on lacrosse highlights for they are really exciting and difficult to do. So I looked through some highlight videos and picked out a few great ones to demonstrate what they actually look like. 

What most lacrosse players won’t tell you is executing a bar down shot has a lot to do with luck. No one can guarantee their shots to hit bar down even during practice. Hence, when it does, you will probably remember that shot for the rest of your career. It’s a rare one to come by that’s for sure!

How To Shoot A Bar Down Shot

Now you are probably more excited to learn how to do it, so in this section, I will give you some tricks and tips that allow you to get started. Before we begin, it’s important to set some reasonable expectations. Since bar down shots require an advanced level of skill, it will take some time and patience to fully master this shot. 

Aim with your eyes, Snap with your wrists

Because you are aiming in a little section of the crossbar, your eyes must lock in the spot you are hitting the entire shooting motion. In the post “How To Shoot A Lacrosse Ball”, I highlighted the fact that your eyes will determine the direction and accuracy of your shot. Thus, to do a bar down shot, your eyes must guide you to it. 

Now you can control the general direction of your shot, but what about accuracy? This will have to do with snapping your wrists. During a shooting motion, your wrists will control the trajectory and path of your shot. 

You have to snap your wrists just at the right timing to make it land perfectly at the spot. To do that, you have to go through many hours of practice to find the perfect timing. You will miss a ton in the beginning, but try your best to not get discouraged and continue to practice.

Bar Down In Lacrosse

Sidearm and underarm shooting

Among different types of shots, sidearm and underarm shots give you the best chance at succeeding. Go back and watch the video above again. You will notice players have to utilize sidearm or underarm shots to accomplish this shot. 

The reason is that in order to hit the lower section of the top crossbar, the ball needs to be shot from below and travel at an upward angle to hit the spot. Overhand shots simply won’t do. Your shots will hit straight on and deflect right back. 

Mastering sidearm and underarm shooting is very difficult as you are used to shooting overhand. Take some time to get comfortable with each individual shooting motion first. Then incorporate aiming as part of your drills. From there, you will slowly get good at sidearm and underarm shots. 

Turning your body

This tip not only applies to shooting bar down but also serves as a key step to ensure you can make the best quality and most accurate shots. Rotate your body as much as you can to push the ball forward once it is released. 

Bar down in lacrosse

I always make sure my body at least turns 180 degrees from the start to the end of a shooting motion. If you don’t stumble a few steps afterward, you aren’t throwing your body enough into the rotation. 

That said, every person has their own shooting preference and style. I can give you the best tried and true tips but ultimately you need to make adjustments for yourself to see the best results. I highly recommend you get comfortable with utilizing every part of your body in shooting to generate the most power. 


To wrap up this post, I hope this guide has given you the answers you were looking for about bar down. To summarize, bar down is a very challenging shot to achieve. It requires a combination of accuracy and control. For this reason, coaches don’t actively encourage their players to attempt this when it’s best to just shoot the easy way and get it into the goal. 

Hope to see you in the next post. 

Read also: How To Play Attack In Lacrosse

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Adrian James
I am Adrian from Florida. After playing lacrosse for 15 years, I decided to start this website to share my journey and knowledge to help people get better at lacrosse.

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