When we talk about shooting and playing offense, most of the time we think about short stick middies and attackers. After all these short lacrosse sticks are made to perfection to help attackers to shoot on the net with accuracy and confidence. And that’s their job to score goals.
That said, if you play LSM or defense, there are some rare occasions where you find yourself going for a goal. And quite frankly, you shouldn’t exclude yourself from practicing shooting as a d-pole. There are many merits to that both in terms of team strategies and your personal development.
Therefore, in this post, I want to walk you through how to shoot with a long pole in lacrosse and how you could also play an important role in an offensive scheme. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
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Getting to know about shooting using a long pole
First off, one common thing I see beginner LSM or d-pole run into is not realizing shooting with a long pole is quite different from using a shorty. A long pole is heavier and longer than a short 36’’ stick, so you will need to turn your body more aggressively, grip your stick using different hand placement and require a more accurate read of the target.
In addition, as an LSM, most of your shots will be on the run, downhill, or shots that are 15 yards+ away from the goal. To crank out these shots require players to have great body strength and powerful speed. So to put it simply, shooting using a long pole is definitely not an easy task so you need to set realistic expectations when starting out.
Hence, to truly get a hang of it requires a lot of practice and in the beginning, you will certainly look awkward and slow, and that’s totally normal. As long as you practice correctly (which we will get into very shortly) with patience, it’s only a matter of time for you to become the best shooting d-pole on your team.
How often do LSMs get opportunities to shoot
While d-poles don’t get many opportunities to score on a regular basis, it’s still very plausible and highly palpable. As a LSM, a big part of your job is to fight for ground balls as much as you can. So in situations where you scoop up the ground ball and quickly bring it across the midfield line, you see no one is closing in on you and that is your perfect chance to score. Another common situation is during fast breaks. The goalie passes an outlet to the LSM near the midfield line and s/he quickly runs to the other side and attempts a shot while the opposing defenders are still making their way back.
So in a more advanced level of lacrosse (high school above), LSMs are expected to be both shooters and feeders when opportunities present themselves.
Watch this highlight below that demonstrates how LSMs can be powerful shooters to help teams score goals:
How to shoot with a long pole in lacrosse (step by step explained)
Now in this section, I will go over how exactly to take shots using a long pole, so be ready and grab your notes. Let’s begin!
First off, with long poles, you need to aim low because the length of the shaft makes your shots more powerful but less accurate than a shot stick. The throwing mechanics is largely similar to shooting with a short pole.
In terms of your hand placement, your non-dominant hand will be gripping the butt end whereas the dominant hand will be a bit lower than the middle point of your shaft. Best to wrap some tape at the midway point of your shaft so, in transition, your hand could easily slide down to the best position for shooting. If your body strength errs on the weaker side, make sure to widen your grip a bit more for leverage.
Try to place your bottom hand on the butt end throughout the entire motion as this will help you get used to the weight and the amount of power you need to fire the ball.
For shooting, remember to “shoot the clock” aka shooting overhand. If you shoot righty overhand, come over the top at 1 o’clock and finish at 7. Over the top at 11 and finish at 4 if you shoot lefty. You also need to turn your body more aggressively and make a great followthrough by hitting the lacrosse head on the ground in the end.
Watch this video and this video below to see how it’s done in motion:
Pros and Cons of shooting with a long pole
The advantage you have with a pole shooting is that goalies are not used to how high up and how far back the shot starts from. It messes with their normal angles and ability to see the ball, so shooting overhand gives you the best bet for the ball to go in the net. In other words, switching things up a bit when your team can’t crack up that goal can be a good strategy.
On the flip side, the reason, why coaches don’t encourage LSMs to go for a shot, is the fact that if your shot gives the goalie an easy save it will turn into a turnover for the opposing team. Which is the worst scenario especially if your team is lagging on scores. So coaches will often instruct LSMs or defensive players to feed the ball to attackers once they are in the offensive zone.
As we wrap up here, I am glad that you are making the effort to learn how to shoot with a long pole in lacrosse. This is something that can actually serve you well in the long run because it’s like a deadly weapon you can utilize when the right opportunities come.
It will take some time to fully get comfortable and used to shooting with a long pole, so be patient. I also recommend recording yourself. If after a few weeks of practicing, you don’t feel like you are improving, ask your coach for help. It’s all part of the learning process.
With that said, if you are ready, grab your stick and a few balls. Time to get started!
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