Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 1 Number 8October 1, 2008
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.


Figure 0


The lob shooter has mastered the 3-finger lob, 2-finger lob and the middle finger lob shots.  This month’s article covers a variety of lobs with different releases: the curve lob, squeeze lob, power lob, the 5-meter foul lob shot and the slow-fast hesie shot.  Each one of these shots is used in a specific shooting situation with a different release, a different ball spin and a different ball arc.  For example, a curve lob is a shot that rises up and curves inward toward the goal.  The squeeze lob is a short lob over the goalie’s head by the 2-meter player.  The power lob is a combination of a power shot and a lob.  The 5-meter foul lob shot is a lighting fast body movement that becomes a slow moving lob shot.  And its opposite, the slow-fast hesie shot is a lob that turns into a power shot.  The modern shooter now has an arsenal of lob shots to use on the unsuspecting goalie that is expecting a standard 3-finger 55-degree arc lob.


Figure 1

Figure 2

Figures 1 & 2

Figure3, 4, and 5

Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5

When the shooter is at an extreme angle to the goal the only possible lob that can score is a curve lob.There are five types of curve lobs: hand-on-side curve, index/middle finger curve, middle finger curve, thumb/index finger curve and right wing hand-on-side curve lob.  The spin on a curve lob is a slow diagonal ball spin.  A diagonal ball spin curves the ball into the goal and makes up for the shooter’s bad angle to the goal.  The middle finger lob is used as a back up shot for lobbing from the right wing.   The curve lob tests the mastery of the shooter’s hand to put touch on the ball.  Unless otherwise described these shots are left wing shots by a righthanded shooter.

Hand-on-side curve lob has the shooter’s hand on the side of the ball with a pinch grip.  The ball is released with reduced movement of the right hand called a “locked wrist release.”  Fingertip pressure is equal for all five fingers (see five blue finger nails). The ball rotation is slow.  A slow ball rotation causes the air to curve the ball curve inward.  A hand-on-the-side fast spinning curve lob cannot be done.  The lob aiming point for the curve lob is different than the backspin lob. The curve aiming point for all curve lobs is 24-inches (61-centimeters) above the crossbar and 24-inches in front of the goal post to take into consideration the curve of the ball (see Fig. 3). 
Index/middle finger curve lob has the hand behind the ball and uses the index and middle fingers as two fingers to curve the curve the ball.  These two fingers slide down across the face of the ball pressing down hard to place a “slice” on the ball to curve it (see two blue finger nails).  The other three fingers slide on the ball using very little fingertip pressure.  The ball curves with a diagonal spin (see Fig. 4).

Middle finger curve lob is for a player with large hands.  The ball is pinched with the hand on top of the ball.  The shooter’s middle finger is the dominant finger and applies all of the fingertip pressure on the ball with the other four fingers sliding (see one blue finger nail).  The middle finger slides (slices) diagonally across the face of the ball to produce a diagonal spinning curve lob (see Fig. 5).

Thumb/index curve lob uses the thumb and the index finger to curve the ball.  The index and middle finger hold the ball with firmness similar to a football grip.  The thumb and index finger apply all of the fingertip pressure on the ball with the other three fingers sliding to create a curved ball with diagonal spin. 

Right wing hand-on-side curve lob positions the hand offset to the right of the center of the ball with the thumb down on the side of the ball.  As the ball is about to be released the hand slides to the left to help curve the ball.  The shooter’s whole hand releases the ball or the index/middle fingers can be used to dominate the release.  It is a difficult lob to control and is rarely used.

Right wing middle finger lob is used when the shooter has not mastered the curve lob and needs a right wing lob. The middle finger lob is an extremely accurate lob shot if the angle to the goal is not too narrow.


Figure 6

Figure 6

The squeeze lob is a too-close-to-the-goal shot taken by the 2-meter player.  The 2-meter player turns to face the goal on the 2-meter line and sees that the guard’s outstretched arm and the goalie’s hands high in the air.  There is no space for a power shot to score with both of the defenders hands blocking the path of the ball.  The shooter is too close to the goal for the standard lob. The only possible shot is a short 1-meter squeeze lob over the guard and the goalie’s hands (see Fig. 6).

Figure 7

Figure 7

The 2-meter player on the 2-meter line and the one-on-nobody counterattacker that is too close to the goal should use the squeeze lob to score.  It is a no arm cock all-wrist lob with the arm straight up.  The shooter pinches the ball in the hand tightly as the shooter’s thumb moves across the back of the ball to the right as the fingers squeeze together on the ball to release it.  The thumb’s movement across the back of the ball makes a rubbery sound.  The squeeze lob’s aiming point is 24-inches (61-centimeters) above the crossbar though the shooter is focused on getting enough height on the ball.  The ball with enough height automatically goes straight up and over the goalie’s hands and into the high corner of the goal.  The ball has a very slow diagonal spin or no ball spin at all.  Do not drop the elbow and try to shot put the ball.  The shot put ball does not have enough height to score.  Another variation on the squeeze lob is to use a football grip with a topspin release (hand on top, fingers point in and slide forward) for a topspinning lob (see Fig. 7). 


Figure 8

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 9

The power lob is a low arc lob-like curve with a high ball speed.   The shot is a cross between a lob and a power shot.  The power lob looks like a high-speed power shot but one that arches upward and drops like a lob.  The goalie jumps up quickly because of the high ball speed (power shot) and is sinking as the high arching ball (lob) hits the high corner of the goal.  The shooting technique is the same as the topspin skip shot technique but with a modified topspin release called the thumb + 2 that emphasizes thumb and index/middle fingertip pressure on the ball (see Fig. 8). 

The technique for throwing a power lob is to use a football grip, an extra long arm extension, 75-percent throwing force, and the thumb + 2 release.  It is a hard-thrown high-speed ball with a lob arc of 30-degreesThe arm accelerates quickly, the football grip places a fast topspin on the ball with the hand using a thumb + 2 release for a ball speed up to 30 MPH (48 KPH).  The normal speed for a lob is 15 MPH (24 KPH).  The lob aiming point for the power lob is the high corner as the ball quickly rises and falls down into a level trajectory and continues in a straight line to the goal (see Articles: The Shot Doctor: Skip Shot 2). 

The high speed of the power lob shot is curbed by the ball’s 30-degree ball arc. The new topspin thumb + 2 release uses two separate fingertip pushing actions (see black and red arrows).  The ball’s upward arc is caused by the shooter’s thumb pushing up on the ball.  At the same time during the release the index and middle fingers are pushing down for a downward arc.  The thumb creates the up; the fingers the down.  The combination of the two finger groups creates a ball arc on the high-speed 30 MPH (48 KPH) shot for men.  The power lob for women is a 22 MPH (37 KPH) shot (see Fig. 9).  


Figure 10 and 11

Figures 10 and 11

Figure 12 and 13

Figures 12 and 13

The 5-meter foul shot lob is a deceptive shot where the goalie expects a quick shot and jumps up to block the power shot and sinks as the lob sails into the goal.  The shooter moves to the 5-meter line and sets up the foul by forcing the guard to foul.  The shooter prepares for the hard foul by kicking up into the guard’s foul (do not sink underwater), with the right leg forward and the left leg back, reaching out with the right hand and dragging the hand over the top of the ball so the ball rolls backward.  The shooter absorbs the force of the foul by bending the torso but keeping the legs churning.  The ball rolls back to the hand for a quick pick up, the shooter spins to face the goal, lunges to the left and throws a hand-on-side lob (see Figs. 10, 11).

The foul shooter lunges to the left to delay the shot and slowly moves the right arm forward to lob the ball.  Some shooters change the technique slightly and swing the left arm wide to the side, lunge left and lob. Whatever technique that is used, the 5-meter lob foul shot must be a continuous motion and without delay or an offensive foul is called (see Figs. 12, 13). 

There are several ball handling mistakes that a fouled player can make.  When the player squeezes the ball the ball is pushed away.  If the player does not kick up hard, the ball goes underwater with the player for a ball-under foul.  Pushing the ball down in the water only causes the ball to bounce up and down in the water in one place as the 2-meter player is pulled back a meter. Putting a backspin on the ball without dragging the hand over the ball causes the ball to spin in one place.  Players should practice hard fouls with a partner to perfect the ball rolling technique


Figure 14 and 15

Figures 14 and 15

Figure 16 and 17

Figures 16 and 17

The shooter’s technique has four stages: a slow right arm, right arm stop, a left hand push & spin, and a left foot point indicated by red arrows.  The shooter slowly moves the right arm towards the shoulder using a long arm cock with the left foot pointed at the right corner.  The slowness of the shooter’s arm motion duplicates the slow arm movement of a lob (Fig. 14).  The right arm slowly moves until the ball is directly above the shoulder and pauses (Fig. 15).  This is the signal for the third stage of the shot: the left hand pushes water forward to spin the shooter’s body to face the left corner (Fig. 16).  The shooter’s left foot moves and points at the left corner, the left hand pulls down and the ball is shot at the left corner of the goal (Fig. 17).

The slow-fast hesie shot is a two-speed shot that begins slow and ends quickly.  It is the opposite of the previously described 5-meter foul lob shot that begins as a fast motion and ends as a slow speed shot. The slow-fast hesie shot appears to be a slow motion lob that turns into a high-speed power shot or skip shot.  The shooter’s slow moving arm appears to be about to throw the ball at the right corner and the goalie moves to toward the right corner and waits for the lob, only to discover ball skipping into the left corner of the goal.   The shooter’s arm accelerates from a slow lob-like motion into a fast arm power shot motion in a tenth of a second.  The shooter’s slow arm motion is in fact a fake that deceives the goalie.  No slow-mo equals = no goal for the shooter.  Without the lob part of the throwing motion to pull the goalie toward the right corner and away from the left corner, the power shot is blocked. 

The success of the shot is based on drills that teach the shooter’s to control his or her arm movement.  The shooter is drilled to patiently wait for the arm to reach the shoulder by practicing throwing lobs and changing it up every third shot with a slow-fast hesie shot.  Another drill that teaches the body motion is the 180-degree slam dunk drill.  The shooter starts with the hand on top of the ball, kicks up hard, lifts the ball straight up, locks the elbow, spins 180-degrees and slams the ball down in the water. 


Problem   Fix
No curve on curve lob Hand behind the ball instead of to the side, to much spin and speed
No height on squeeze lob Rub the thumb against the back of the ball for lift, palm up
Power lob does not drop Use less thumb and more index/middle finger pressure
Offensive foul called  Ball must roll back, do not sink, look back at the goalie,  
on 5-meter foul shot fake, or pause when shooting
Slow-fast lob arm motion     1.) Shooter’s arm moves slowly and stops above shoulder  
  2.) Left hand pushes right, body spins, right arm speeds up

In conclusion, the lob shooter has a number of lobs that he or she uses against the goalie.  The shooter selects the correct lob for the shooting situation and scores on the goalie that is overplaying one side of the goal.  The goalie assumes that there is only one type of lob, the 3-finger lob and is out of position to block other types of lobs.  The shooter knows there are no bad angles or bad types of lobs.  For every angle and distance from the goal, the shooter has a lob to match the situation.  The shooter knows it is his or her skill, not the angle, that determines whether the ball scores. 

© Copyright 2008 Jim Solum

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Figure 13

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