Hot Pot Of Lax: Shoot Overhand!

Dominican University Mesa State Lacrosse NCAA D2
I love a good overhand rip!

I don’t gamble, but if I did, I would always be looking for a way to beat the house.  So if two even men’s lacrosse teams were to play, and one could only shoot sidearm and underhand, while the other could shoot only overhand, I would put my money on the overhand team every single time.  I might lost some money here and there, but overall, I’d come out on top.

Last week I talked about how gear could be holding our sport back, and in this week’s Hot Pot  I’m hitting up overhand shooting!

Dominican University Mesa State Lacrosse NCAA D2
I love a good overhand rip!

Lacrosse teams everywhere have the chance, RIGHT NOW, to tilt the odds in their favor and all they have to do is one thing: get their players shooting overhand!

I could go on and on about the benefits of shooting overhand, so I’ll hit on a few quickly:

– Hiding the Stick

A goalie is looking for shooters.  When they identify a shooter, they get ready and set themselves for a shot, and hopefully (at least in their eyes) a save.  By keeping the stick behind your body, the goalie has less time to get set.  By shooting sidearm, the stick is visible earlier in the shooter’s motion, and the goalie gets an extra half second to get set.

– Changing Shot Location

I find it much easier to shoot high to high OR high to low by shooting overhand.  I can pick the right or left sides of the net.  Basically, I can put the ball anywhere.  But sidearm shots are more limited.  The trajectory of the shot is set earlier in shooting motion, and it’s harder to pull a ball down when shooting sidearm.  Diversity in shot location is key.  So don’t limit yourself!

– Getting Shots On Cage

You want to make the defense extend out to cover you, right?  Well the only way to do that is to be dangerous.  Sidearm shots that don’t threaten the cage allow defenses to sit back.  As the game goes on, their fear of your shooters will decrease.  So shoot hard, and shoot overhand, and get your shots on cage.  Make the defense play you by taking good overhand shots.  If the D pushes out to cover, the inside looks will start to open up.  Shooting overhand makes the defense nervous.  That’s a good thing!

Don’t believe me?  Want to see it in action?  OK!

Check out Virginia’s win over Drexel as a great example!  The Cavs won by one goal, and scored all but two of their goals overhand.  Two goals were scored sidearm from the left side, but one was on man up and the other was on a break.  Both shots gave the shooter a LOT of time and room, and the UVA player still did a great job of hiding his stick.

So yes, sidearm can work.  But when UVA is scoring 7 of 9 goals overhand, it’s worth it to take notice.  The same held true in the Syracuse game… Virginia scored a ton of goals overhand.  It’s not surprising.  It’s science!



– Cornell will be forced to roll along without Rob Pannell | Ithaca Journal

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– Starting From Scratch: Colorado Builds New Women’s Lacrosse Team | Colorado Daily



Ok, we have NO idea what these guys are saying.  You every other word could be a swear.  But we don’t speak Polish.  At least we think that’s what they’re speaking.  Anyway, it’s a Polish rap video which features lacrosse heavily.  I’m pretty sure this is the team song for a club over there, the Poznan Hussars, but it’s just something special no matter what.


  1. The other thing you didn’t mention is that when you start the sidearm shooting motion, you really have no choice but to shoot.  If a teammate opens up inside as the overhand motion is started, you still have the option of firing a hard pass to the open guy inside…making you more dangerous as a players…not just a shooter

      • No problem Connor!! I have this argument all day long with my players too.  The other thing of note, especially regarding the UVA and ‘Cuse shooters, is that they are shooting ‘into the goal’ and often times are shooting waist down…where the goalie’s stick is NOT. I was very impressed with shot selection by UVA in particular