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WHICH ONE HAS A FUTURE?

Player A — Top 1%

  • This is how elite players shoot.  All elite players use a version of this form
  • Player A form uses your full body, like every other throwing sport. 
  • If you can’t do it with a Phantom Pocket, you can’t do it.
  • Most players go their entire careers without experiencing the best part of lacrosse.  
  • Feels like a rock star.
  • Stickwerks Score of 90+.

Player B — Everyone else

  • This isn’t shooting — it’s passing harder.
  • Across all experience levels, 99% of players use a version of Player B form.  Practicing B never becomes A.
  • Film yourself in slow motion.  It’s extremely likely that you have Player B form.  There’s a 100% chance that your grandma does.
  • Feels awkward and never gets better.
  • Stickwerks Score below 70 (example player is 51).

HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?

Here’s the key:

Player A’s bottom hand does the work and their stick pivots at their top hand.  

Player B’s top hand does the work and their stick pivots at their bottom hand

We need to change four things to use the stick like Player A.  If even one of them is missing, then we still do the Player B motion.  Some versions of Player B form are better than others, but practicing B never becomes A.

1. TOP HAND GRIP

Player A has the stick “Up on The Platform.”  This is the line that separates your index finger and your palm.  

Player B has the stick “Down in The U” by the thumb.

This tiny difference affects the entire way you move your stick.

NOOB FIST

If your stick is Down in The U, then you’re going to hold the stick in a Noob Fist.

It’s physically impossible hold the stick like this and have Player A form.  If your index finger is closed on top of the stick, that’s a Noob Fist.

Max stick rotation: 90 degrees

Spot a Noob Fist: knuckles on the outside of the stick, and the stick and wrist make a “T” shape.  Check it out without gloves so you can see what’s going on.

GUN GRIP

Player A has the stick up on The Platform.  Their palm is facing up, like you’d carry a pizza.  The middle of their index finger and bottom of the thumb pinch the stick.

When you do it right, only the tip of your index finger points up and you can’t close it on top of the stick.  This is called the “Gun Grip” because it looks like a finger gun.

If your entire index finger can point up, you’ll want to give up because that’s a Noob Fist.

A coach can spot three parts of the Gun Grip: (1) the tip of the index finger points up, (2) there’s a big gap between the index finger and the rest of the hand and (3) the palm is facing up, like carrying a pizza.

Max stick rotation: 180 degrees

BRIDGE GRIP

Player A uses a second grip for most of the shooting motion.  This is called the “Bridge Grip” because the stick looks like a bridge above your palm.  This is just a Gun Grip with your bottom three fingers open so the stick floats out of your palm.  Your index finger and thumb pinch the stick the same way.

A coach can see the Bridge Grip when the stick looks like it’s floating out of the player’s hand.  Film yourself in slow motion or you might miss it.

Keep pinching the stick to keep it on The Platform, not down in The U.

PRO TIP: Player A’s bottom hand leads the motion, not their top hand.

BRIDGE to GUN

Player A ends the motion in Gun Grip, but with the palm facing down.  This makes the motion Bridge to Gun.  It might sound complicated, but it’s the same way your wrist moves when you throw a baseball or football.  That’s why it works.

Max stick rotation: 270 degrees

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GO FROM AWKWARD TO AWESOME

Watch how much your top-hand grip determines how your stick moves.  The wrong grip makes it impossible to ever learn Player A motion. 

Bridge to Gun feels awesome — it’s the way you already know how to throw a baseball or football to the moon.  The bigger the motion, the more power you get for free.

2. HAND SPACING

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Your hand spacing is unique to you.  It’s based on the length of your forearm.  

The video shows how to use the “Elbow Rule” to find your unique spacing.  If you just grab the stick “near the middle,” you’ll never figure it out.  “Hip width” is usually too wide.

Elbow Rule spacing is the maximum width.  For shooting, you’ll probably like your hands around an inch closer together, shown by the green plane in the video.  Mark your spacing with a big wad of tape under your top-hand pinkie.  

Hands even a little wider than Elbow Rule makes Player A form physically impossible.  This is why you can practice your whole career and never figure out how to shoot like a rockstar. 

YOUTH TIP: Standard sticks are too long for players under 5’6″ so they whack the ground if they try to learn Player A form.  Stand the stick up on the side of their body with their arm at their side.  Cut the shaft so the stick length matches the distance from the ground to their elbow.  

3. STARTING POSITION

Every throwing sport tells us to start the throwing motion with our body sideways to the target and our elbow up and pointing back.  

Player A is following this advice.  Their body is sideways to the target, and their hand as high as their eye with their elbow as high as their armpit.  Their stick starts flat for maximum rotation.  

Player B is already turned toward the target.  Their hand is up but their elbow is pointed out to the side.  Their hand starts at their shoulder, and their stick is already partly rotated.  This is the way a little kid throws a baseball — facing the target and pushing from their shoulder.

4. BOTTOM HAND

All the advice above is designed to get us to this point.  If you don’t do this, none of the other stuff matters.

Player A pulls their bottom hand straight back to their elbow to rotate the stick far out in front.  Their top hand only pushes over at the end.  This motion adds all the power from their core and legs to their shot.  Every other throwing sport teaches us that this is the most effective way to throw, with our wrist rotating last, with extended arms way out in front of our body.

Player B pulls their bottom hand down to their hip.  This results in a weak pushing motion from the shoulder.  The stick, core and hips all move together.  This has no wrist rotation and matches how a little kid throws a baseball.  Their bottom arm is always bent and close to their body.

THE KINETIC CHAIN

We all know the difference between throwing a baseball or football with good form and throwing like a little kid.   There’s not one “right way” to throw, but we all know that little kid form is the wrong way.  Your version of Player A form is always better than pushing from your shoulder with little kid form. 

Learning Player A form is easy if you know the four pieces to change from natural to pro.  Once we learn how to ride a bike, we never go back to a tricycle. 

How do we know one way is better in lacrosse?  If we erase the stick, you probably already know the answer.  Look at these two progressions.

Player A almost exactly replicates throwing a baseball or football with good form.  Player A first steps, then turns their hips, then their shoulders and then rotates (or “snaps”) their wrist last, way out in front.  This is the “kinetic chain” that produces full-body throwing power.  The motion ends with a straight back and momentum going forward toward the target.

Player B throws like a little kid.  They start with the ball at their side, facing the target.  Then they throw ball by accelerating their arm, torso and hips all at once, rotating at their elbow instead of their wrist.  This results in an awkward finish, bent over and falling to the left.  99% of players use a version of this form.

If almost everyone knows how to throw a baseball like Player A, then why does almost everyone shoot like Player B with a stick?  It’s because of our bottom hand

Adding our bottom hand to the stick makes our brain automatically change to Player B motion.  Try it!  With just your top hand on the stick, you will throw like Player A, but as soon as you add your bottom hand you’ll go back to Player B.  Check it out in a mirror.  

If you’re ready to start shooting like a rock star, now you know how to do it.  A Phantom Pocket will get you there even faster.  It proves you have Player A form because it doesn’t work with Player B form.