Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 1 Number 4June 1, 2008
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.


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Part 3 of the skip shot examines how to skip or curve the ball around field blocker’s arm using a variety of shots. The shooter learns how to hide the ball behind the guard’s hand (Hewko), move sideways for separation from the guard with a step-out (Boyer), skip the ball in the step-out position (March), step-out, use a twist release and foot snap to curve the ball (Mann) or to shoot under the guard’s arm (Side Arm). These five new shots require the shooter to challenge the guard and attack the goal


Guard Hand Positions:

The shooter sees the guard’s arm in the air and is afraid to shoot.  When the shooter does shoot, the shot is blocked.  The reason that the shot is blocked is because the shooter threw the ball at the guard’s hand.  The guard’s arm is fixed in space. How can the guard block the shot? The shooter avoids throwing the ball into the guard’s arm by using a hand reading technique to analyze the position of the guard’s hand and shoot away from it.  

The shooter learns three “reads” of the guard’s hand. The shooter reads the guard’s hand position and looks at the guard’s thumb, middle finger and little finger for the location to shoot the ball.  These three shooting possibilities with the guard’s hand result in shots above the goalie’s shoulder (thumb), to the right corner (little finger) and over the goalie’s head (middle finger).

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Guard’s Left Arm  Shooter Throws  Goalie & Ball
1. Arm blocks right corner  Thumb side Ball over goalie's shoulder
2. Arm out of position up  Little finger side Right high corner
3. Hand is low in air Over middle finger  Over goalie’s head
4. Arm blocks high right corner      Under guard’s arm      Skip shot

In cases where the guard’s arm is perfectly positioned to take away the right high corner shot, the ball is shot to the inside of the guard’s thumb.   When the guard’s hand is straight up in the air the ball is shot around the little finger to the right corner.  When the guard is low in the water the ball is shot over the guard’s hand.  When guard’s arm blocks the high right corner and there is no “thumb shot” available the ball is side armed skipped under the guard’s arm.  In situations where the guard’s arm cannot be shot around, the shooter steps-out using a Hewko or Boyer shot to get lateral separation from the guard.

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Figure 1 Figure 2

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Figure 3 Figure 4

The Hewko curve shot commits the guard, steps-out and curves the ball around the guard’s outstretched hand.  It is a deceptive power shot with lateral movement.  A shot that hides the ball from the goalie, gets the guard to leap high in the air, and then curves the ball into the high right corner.  The Hewko shot is named for Stanford University All American and senior national team player Christina Hewko.

The Hewko shooter uses the guard’s outstretched hand to “hide” the ball from the goalie. The shooter aims the ball at the guard’s hand and steps into the guard with the ball using a high-speed arm (see Fig. 1).  The shooter uses an extra long arm cock to accelerate the ball a longer distance and at a higher arm speed.  The shooter abruptly stops six-inches in front of the guard’s hand with the guard leaping up in the air to block the apparent shot (see Figs. 2, 3). Then Hewko shooter steps-out to the side and shoots around the guard’s hand (see Fig. 4).

The Hewko shot is a standard power shot with the hand behind the ball, pinching the ball using a three-quarter arm position (arm angled above the shoulder).  Do not use a football grip on the Hewko curve shot. The hand must be able to move sideways to curve the ball around the field blocker’s hand.

What ruins the deceptive Hewko power shot is when the shooter does not explosively move the arm forward or stops the ball over the shoulder. Attacking the guard’s hand is the fake and the shot.  If the ball is stopped 12-18-inches away the defender’s hand, the guard will not commit and jump up to block the apparent shot.  This is a common mistake. The shooter must conquer his or her fear, realize the guard is unable to move and aggressively attack the guard’s hand.


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Figure 5 Figure 6

The secret of scoring on a field blocker is to avoid the field blocker’s arm by stepping-out sideways 3-feet (1-meter) to get far away from the guard’s hand.  Greg Boyer, UC Santa Barbara, and former U S Olympian, uses a right leg step-out motion for lateral movement.  In the Boyer drill pictured above the shooter leans into the wall, arm cocked over the head with left leg slightly curved.  The body position resembles a reverse “C” (see Fig. 5).  The Boyer player shoots the ball by pushing off with left forearm, snapping the torso right, stepping-out with the right leg and moving the right arm laterally to release the ball (see Fig. 6).

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Figure 7 Figure 8

In the cocking stage, the shooter is square-to-the-goal with the shoulders, hips, and feet parallel the goal.  The shooter does not angle the body nor point the left shoulder and left foot at the goal.    The Boyer  shooter leans to the left to cock the torso, left leg and the right arm (ball is over the head).  The body is cocked in a reverse “C” shape if one traces the right arm curve and left leg curvature (see Fig. 7). 

In the acceleration stage (the shooting stage), the shooter steps to the right, moving into approximately a “C” shape for the shot (trace the right arm, torso and right thigh). The Boyer shooter cocks to the left and shoots to the right. The shooter moves sideways to shoot without body rotation.  The Boyer’s shooter’s right arm moves sideways over the shoulder, torso snaps   right, left hand pushes water to the side and the right leg steps-out with a high knee.  The right arm once cocked over the head moves over the shoulder to a three-quarter arm position, the ball held high in the air with a pinch grip, with the ball released at the high corner (see Fig. 8).

Overhand Shot Boyer Shot
1. Angled body with left shoulder point      1. Square to the goal with no shoulder point
2. Body rotates  2. Body moves sideways
3. Long arm cock backward  3. Arm cocked sideways over the head
4. Scissor kick to shoot 4. Step-out to shoot
5. Arm moves forward next to ear 5. Arm moves laterally over right shoulder
    with ball released over the left foot     with ball released over the right foot

The Boyer shot is a unique shot as the table above indicates. It is a shot that does not use the five basic components of the overhand throwing motion: a left shoulder point, left foot point, angled body, body rotation, or a long arm cock. The shooter wants to angle and rotate the body and not be square and move sideways.   Having the shooter’s body move sideways instead of rotating in a semi-circle is a difficult body motion for the player to perform. 

The drill for practicing the Boyer is have the player’s left forearm against the wall with the body leaning into the wall with the head, torso and left leg cocking the body to the left, the right knee  high, with the ball over the head.  Push off with the forearm (not the hand), snap the body to the right, step-out, move the arm out sideways to a three-quarter position and shoot.  It is not correct for the shooter to have the arm horizontal during cocking or shooting.  When the arm is horizontal with the ball in the water during the cocking stage, there no power available to throw the ball.  In addition, when the arm drops to a horizontal arm position during the shot the Boyer becomes a highly inaccurate side arm shot.


The March shot is a variation on the Boyer shot.  The shooter is square, steps-outs twice, takes two lateral fakes (do not swing the arm forward and backward) and snaps the right foot inward to release the ball. The March shooter’s hand uses a football grip with a topspin release for a topspin skip shot to the nearside corner of the goal.  Michael March, a UCLA All American, is a former senior national team member.


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The Mann curve skip shot is a lateral movement shot using the right foot to curve the ball.  The Mann shot uses a combination of the right hand twist release and the right foot turning inward to shoot the ball.  The ball curves to the nearside or farside corners of the goal in the air, as a skim shot or skip shot. The Mann shooter is positioned near the left post to be able to move towards center cage. John Mann, UC Berkeley, was the Cutino Award Winner as 2007 college player of the year and a member of gold medal winning Pan American Games USA team.

The Mann curve shooter uses a pinch grip, steps-out and upward at a 30, 45 or 60-degree angle. A new release is used with the shot, the twist release, with the hand vertical and twisting inward to curve the ball.  The elbow drops slightly to enhance the wrist rotation.  The shooter uses a high right knee to perform the leg step-out motion correctly.  As part of stepping-out at an angle the Mann shot turns the right foot inward to assist in releasing the ball.  The right foot snaps inward to turn the shooter’s body and creates the curve on the ball.  The degree of the right foot turning inward controls the amount of curve on the ball. A strong snap-in of the right foot sharply curves the ball to the left corner; a mild snap-in makes a wider curve to the right corner.  The ball is shot from the US 1 or 2-spot (Euro 5, 4).  The ball, held at three-quarter arm angle, drops into a side arm release with a twist snap for a skim shot or skip shot.  The skim shot releases the ball close to water’s surface.


The side arm skip shot is a Hewko shot combined with a skip shot.  The shooter is above the right goal post, on the 4 to 5-meter line with the guard’s left hand blocking the high right corner.  The shooter attacks the guard’s hand with the ball, with the left foot forward using the guard’s hand to hide the ball from the goalie.  The shooter then steps-out and shoots under the guard’s arm with a side arm skip shot.

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The shooter begins with the left foot forward angled body position and steps-into the guard to hide the ball while she quickly becomes a square-to-the-goal body position to shoot the ball. The shooter steps-out sideways with the right knee positioned high in the water with the right foot snapping inward to turn the body and throw the ball.  The shooter’s three-quarter arm drops down to the horizontal and the ball is released with a twist release to skip the ball.  The twist snap places a sidespin on the skip shot and the ball skips straight-ahead or curves slightly into the high right corner. The skip point is the goal line or 1.5-meter line to prevent the ball from skipping over the goal. 

Throwing Problems

There are two basic problems with performing the Hewko and Boyer shots: not moving forward and not moving sideways. The Hewko shooter steps-in; the Boyer shooter steps-out. The Hewko shooter must attack the guard’s hand at full speed and stop the ball 6-inches away from the guard’s hand to get the guard to leap upward.  The square Boyer shooter must fight to maintain body position by controlling the right arm while shooting.  When the Boyer shooter swings the right arm and leg backward, the Boyer shot becomes an angled body position and a overhand shot.  In addition, when the shooter’s angled body points the left shoulder and foot at the goal it is impossible to step-out sideways.

Problem Fix
Stop ball over head   Use an extra long arm cock; conquer fear of the guard. (Hewko)
Slow ball movement Explode with the legs, snap the right arm forward. (Hewko)
Body is angled & pointed      Shooter moves the right leg to side to square body.  (Boyer)
Start square, end angled Prevent right arm from swinging backward.  (Boyer)
No power  Body is not cocked: Lean body to left. Ball is over the head
  for the arm to cock the ball.  (Boyer)

In concluding, the player masters several techniques for shooting around the guard’s outstretched hand.  The player’s shot scores and is no longer blocked. The shooter sees the guard’s hand and immediately looks at the thumb, middle and little finger for the shot. The shooter is no longer afraid of the guard but attacks the guard. The deceptive shooter hides the ball behind the guard’s hand and blinds goalie to the direction of the ball. To step-out around the guard’s body the shooter changes from an angled body with the left leg forward to a square-to-the-goal body and steps-out sideways to get lateral separation. The player makes the correct read of the guard’s hand and then selects a Hewko, Boyer, March, Mann or Side Arm shot to score.

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©Copyright 2008 Jim Solum

Next Month: Skip Shot Part 4

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