Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 1 Number 5 July 1, 2008
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.


Fig 1


The 6-on-5 presents the shooter with a golden opportunity to score using a skip shot or curve shot.  The extra man situation reduces down to a one-on-one situation. The shooter dominates the goalie or is dominated. The well-trained shooter takes advantage of the situation and scores. There are three spectacular shots taken from the righthander’s position at the 1-spot (Euro-5) and a great right curve skip shot taken from the perimeter. The shooter can choose from a variety of shots by Boyer, Mann and the Hungarians to score on the goalie. 


Fig 2

Figure 1 Figure 2

The Boyer 6-on-5 shot is a skip shot from the righthander’s 1-spot (Euro 5) that simulates a long 1-6 pass. 
The Boyer shooter’s apparent pass fools the goalie into not protecting the left corner of the goal.  The goalie anticipates the long pass and moves toward the right corner to protect it from the lefthander’s shot.  While the unsuspecting goalie moves to the right, the ball skips into the left corner.   The deceptive part of the shot, the arm’s apparent passing motion, completely deceives the goalie.  The 1-spot player’s pass has turned into a shot (see Figs. 1, 2).

The mistake the goalie makes defending against the Boyer shot is the goalie watches the 1-shooter’s body movement instead of the ball.  The 1-spot player appears to be about to throw a long 1-6 cross-cage pass to the lefthander on the other side of the pool.  The goalie anticipates that the shot will come from the lefthander and moves toward the right corner to protect it.  The goalie mistakenly assumes it is a long pass because the goalie sees the 1-player’s right arm move forward, the elbow almost lock out, with the shooter’s torso leaning forward with the ball on the player’s fingertips. The goalie reads the player’s body language and is scored upon (see Fig. 3).  

Fig 3

Figure3 Figure 4

The Boyer shot technique begins with the 1-spot player having the right leg forward and pointing at the lefthander at the 6-spot.  The standard position for the shooter is to have the left foot forward.  The shooter pulls down with the left hand and transfers all of the body’s weight onto the right foot as right arm begins to extend forward to pass the ball to the lefthander.  It is critical to have all of the shooter’s body weight on the right foot. Equally critical is for the ball to be almost leaving the fingertips as if it is a pass. As the ball is about to leave the 1-player’s fingertips, the left hand pushes water forward from the hip and turns the shooter’s to face the corner so the ball can be skipped.  Due to the high-speed rotation of the shooter’s body, a high corner fastball shot is not possible.  The shooter maintains ball control by skipping the ball (see Fig. 4). 

The Boyer shooter’s right foot forward position lets the hips rotate the body to the extreme left with an assist from the left hand pushing water forward. Without the right foot forward leg position the Boyer shot is impossible.  For a demonstration have the player stand on the deck with the left leg and foot forward and attempt to turn the body to the left.  The body cannot rotate to the left with the left leg forward.  Change the player to a right foot forward leg position and the hips freely turn to the left.  


The Mann 6-on-5 shooter at the 1-spot uses several angled step-outs to move upward and over into the 1-pocket to with the ball to improve his or her angle to the goal. The shooter’s movement forces the goalie to commit to a corner. The Mann shooter reads the defense (the goalie) and the curves the ball into the goal as a fastball curve, curve skip shot or a curve skim shot. The Mann player steps-out out at a 30 or 45-degree angle upward to the right by taking one, two or three large angled step-outs to move 1, 2 or 3 meters.  The Mann shooter moves sideways by snapping the body from a horizontal to an almost vertical body position with the arm and ball swinging sideways over the legs for momentum.  Once the shooter reaches the spot in the pool where he or she wants to shoot, the shooter curves the ball by snapping the right foot inward, using more foot force or less foot force to curve the ball into the left or right corner.

Fig 4

Figure 5 Figure 6

Fig. 5  Goalie moves left: Curve ball to right   Mild snap-in Wide curve    45’ step-out
Fig. 6 Goalie moves center:   Curve ball to left Hard snap-in Narrow curve   30’ step-out

The Mann shooter in the pictures above is in the 1-pocket (spot near the left post).  The shooter reads the two possible positions of the goalie in the cage and selects the correct curve shot.  In Figure 5, the goalie moves to the left post.  The shooter selects a farside right corner curve using a 45-degree angle step-out for a wide curve into the right corner.  In Figure 6, the goalie moves to the center of the cage.  The shooter selects a nearside left corner curve shot with a narrow 30-degree step-out angle for a tight curve to the left corner. 

Fig 5

Figure 7 Figure 8

Above in Figures 7 & 8, the Mann shooter takes a left corner curve shot.  The goalie is center cage and leaning towards the right corner expecting a cross-cage shot. The standard goalie position is to be on the left goal post. The Mann shooter reads the goalie’s position and uses a narrow 30-degree angle step-out with a strong right foot snap-in to change the direction of the shot.  In the picture to the left, Figure 7, the shooter cocks his foot and hand to the right (see arrows).  In the picture to the right, Figure 8, he shoots the ball by snapping-in the right foot and the hand to pull the ball back to the left corner (see arrows).

The Mann shooting technique has the shooter in an angled Boyer body position, pulling water with the left hand with a right foot snap-in. The release of the ball is from a pinch gripped ball using a twist release to skip the ball with a topspin/diagonal ball spin.  To shoot at the low corner or to skim the ball, the arm is lowered into a side arm position and ball released close to the water with the hand horizontal. For a high corner fastball curve shot the shooting arm starts out in a three-quarter arm position, drops the arm into a side arm with one 30-degreee right leg step-out.  The fastball curve shooter’s release changes from a football grip into a twist release and finishes with the hand horizontal for a 30 to 50-degree curve. 

As John Mann experimented with the new curve shot, he made numerous mistakes. When he shot to the right corner but did not snap-in the right foot with enough force and the ball missed the goal wide right; too much snap-in foot force and the ball hit the goalie at center cage.  When he shot at the left corner of the goal with too much snap-in force with the right foot the ball went wide left of the left corner; not enough force and the ball hit the goalie at center cage. Once John Mann mastered the right foot technique, he owed the curve shot.


Fig 6

Figure 9 & 11 Figure 10

The Hungarian curve skip 1-spot (Euro-5) shot is a shot that curves the skipped ball at a 90-degree angle.  No other curve skip shot causes the ball to break at such a sharp angle.  The Hungarian skip shot deceives the goalie into thinking that the ball is going to skip up at the goalie’s head at center cage.  Instead, the ball breaks at a sharp angle and skips into the left corner (see Figs. 9, 10).

The secret of the 90-degree curve skip shot is the position of the hand on the ball. The shooter’s hand changes position from hand behind-the-ball to the hand sliding down the ball into a side-of-the-ball position.  The hand motion at the release creates a skip shot that hits the water and breaks the ball upward at a 90-degree angle (see Fig. 11).  

The shot begins with left foot forward/right leg back creating a long arm cock, with the ball pinched in the standard hand-behind-the ball position. The difference in the 90-degree curve skip shot is in the release.  The Boyer shot rotates the body; the Mann shot rotates the foot but the Hungarian shot rotates the hand. The ball travels through the air with a backspin from the shooter’s hand behind-the-ball position.  When the ball hits the water the sidespin created by the hand sliding on the ball takes over and sidespin skip shot breaks upward at a sharp 90-degree angle.  The Hungarian shot is the rare sidespin skip shot that is accurate.

At the same time as the shooter’s arm is moving forward, the right leg steps-out 30-degrees to the right for a right foot forward position to increase the body’s rotation for turning left and cut down the angle that the ball has to curve to skip into the left corner. If the right leg does not step-out to the right as the ball is about to be released the Hungarian skip shot fails.  The right foot 30-degree step-out cocks the body to the right for greater power than the Boyer straight ahead step-out toward the lefthander at 6 (Euro-1).  In addition, the greater rotation of the body created by the 30-degree step-out angle helps the hand slide down the side of the ball.

After the release, the shooter’s hand hits the water with the palm up and stops on the surface of the water indicating the hand slide release was correct.  If the shooter’s palm is not facing up in the water, the shooter’s hand did not slide down the side of the ball and there was no curve shot.  For comparison, the standard hand behind-the-ball position release plunges the hand a foot underwater.  A precaution for using the Hungarian skip shot is that no player under 15 years of age should take this shot due to a possible elbow injury because of weakness and instability in the elbow joint.  In addition, no shooter should practice this shot more then 10 times a day as the extreme hand motion causes the elbow to become sore.


Wrist snaps to the right

Fig 7

Figure 12 Figure 13 Figure 14

The Mann curve skip shot is a unique skip shot that breaks the ball sharply to the right.  All other curve shots curve the ball to the left. The right curve skip shot uses different hand mechanics then other skip shots. The shooter snaps the wrist sideways and angles the index finger down at the release. The combination of the wrist and index finger snapping and rotating to the right causes the ball to hit the water and skip sharply to the right (see Fig. 12). 

The right curve skip shot begins with the standard left foot forward/right leg back body position with the hand behind-the-ball with a long arm cock and the shooter at center cage.  The ball is aimed at the center of the cage with the goalie expecting a “head shot.”  The wrist and thumb snap and rotate to the right, just as the ball is about to leave the fingertips with the middle finger lifting off the ball. At the same time the right leg accelerates forward and creates a sharp right shoulder point that points at the goal.  The effect of lifting the middle finger off the ball with the right leg movement is to rotate the wrist inward and increase the index finger pressure on the side of the ball.  The angled index finger release pushes the ball to the right so the ball hits the water and skips right.  The effect of the right leg moving to a forward position increases the shoulder and wrist movement to the right.  The skipped ball breaks (curves) at a sharp 30-degree angle to the right and into the right corner (see Figs. 13, 14).  

A demonstration to show the player how the wrist snap is effected by leg position the player stands with the left foot forward and the right arm straight ahead at the shoulder level, across the chest with the wrist and thumb turned to the right.  Repeat the demonstration with the right leg forward and the right arm straight-ahead over the right foot. The player’s wrist rotation and index finger angle increases due to increased shoulder rotation created by the right foot forward position.  The effect of the Mann shooter’s right foot sliding to a forward position allows the wrist not only to move sideways but also for the right shoulder to increase wrist rotation to the right.

Throwing Problems

These four skip shots are for the serious student of the game.  The shooter realizes that the four shots are very different: the Boyer shot rotates the body, the Mann shot rotates the right foot, the Hungarian rotates the hand, and the Mann right curve rotates the right shoulder.  The Boyer skip shot requires the shooter to almost fall forward, rotate and skip the ball.  The Mann right curve shot steps-out at an angle and uses the right foot to curve the ball.  The Hungarian 90-degree shot has the hand move from a behind-the-ball position to a sliding-down-the-ball position.  Equally difficult is the Mann right curve shot that takes the middle finger off the ball as the shoulder and hand rotates and snaps to the right to skip the ball with the right leg accelerating to a forward position from a back position.  In the final analysis, after looking at all of these great shots, it is the shooter’s mastery of the mechanics, not magic, that make these shots magical. 

Problem       Fix
Goalie blocks Boyer   Shooter leans forward and shifts weight on top of right foot, arm in front
    of the face and almost releases the ball from the hand and then spins left.
Wide/narrow curve   Mann wide curve uses a weak foot snap-in for right corner curve.
    Mann narrow curve uses a hard foot snap-in for left corner curve.
No 90’ angle skip shot    Improve hand slide, accelerate right leg, check the palm in water.
Ball does not skip right   Lift middle finger off ball as wrist snaps right; right leg didn’t slide forward.

In conclusion, the player has three new 6-on-5 shots from the 1-spot and one new outside skip shot from the field to dominate the goalie. The 6-on-5 shooter or outside shooter improves his or her shooting percentage by setting up the goalie to lean or move in the wrong direction before shooting.  It is no longer enough for the shooter to shoot quickly or to fake.  The well-trained goalie simply blocks the shot.  The Boyer, Mann, Hungarian 6-on-5 skip shots and the right curve skip shot return the advantage back to the shooter.

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© Copyright 2008 Jim Solum

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