Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 1 Number 9 November 1, 2008
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.


Swing Shot


The 2-meter player is a shooter.  The 2-meter player is the offense. It is part of the hole player’s job description to absorb the punishment and take repeated hard fouls from the hole guard, wait, and when the time is right, score.  The 2-meter player reads the defense, the guard and goalie, and takes a high percentage shot using a sweep shot, power turn shot or a layout shot.  The hole shooter takes a sweep shot when the guard overplays the right shoulder; a power turn Boyer when the guard is too tight; and a layout shot when the guard presses. 


Figure 1 and 2

Figure 1 and Figure 2

The first shot learned by the 2-meter player is the sweep shot. It is taken when the 2-meter guard is overplays the 2-meter player’s right shoulder, anticipating a backhand shot.   The sweep shot is a 90-degree rotational shot thrown towards the right corner of the goal. The 2-meter player sets up the shot with the back to the goal, the body is vertical with the right leg slightly forward.  The player steps-out forward with the right leg and pushes water forward with the left hand to begin the shot.  The right arm is locked and body sweeps toward the right corner with the ball close to the surface of the water.  The hole player’s body position starts the shot with the back to the goal, turns 90-degrees, and releases the ball.  For a low corner shot the hand remains flat.  A high corner shot has the hand tilted back.  It is unnecessary to lift the arm up in the air for a high corner shot when a slight hand movement is sufficient.  

Right leg steps-out with the ball over foot

The right leg moves forward 8-inches on the step-out.  It is not a huge lunge forward. The ball is positioned above the right foot. Do not move the ball to the outside of the right foot. If the hole pass is to the side of the foot, the 2-meter player flicks the ball over so it is above the right foot (see Fig. 1). 

Right arm straight and locked
The 2-meter player’s right arm is moved by the rotation of the body.  It does not move.  Indeed, there is no such thing as a right arm-only-sweep shot. There is only a whole body sweep shot.  The 2-meter player’s               right hand begins with hand under the ball.  The right hand is not on top of the ball.  The right hand lifts the ball up slightly and slides to the side for the shot and the right arm “locks out” and becomes straight. The step-out and the left hand motion create the power for the hand to slide to the side of the ball (see Fig. 2). 

Left hand pushes forward and rotates body 90-degrees
The shooter’s left hand pushes water forward from next to the hip to create the power for the sweep shot.  The movement of the left hand forward with hip rotation turns the hole shooter’s body towards the right corner of the goal.  Do not position the left hand wide of the hip as this greatly weakens the force of the push of the 2-meter player’s left hand.  In the modern sweep shot, the right leg step-out creates separation while the left hand (and hip) motion creates body rotation.  The old style left arm technique was to strike the elbow against the guard’s sternum to create separation and rotation.  However, many times the 2-meter player’s elbow slides upward and hits the guard’s face. 

Figure 3 and 4

Figure 3 and Figure 4

There are two major mistakes that ruin the sweep shot: using a scissor kick and cocking the arm.  The first mistake, the scissor kick, should never be used by the 2-meter player for a sweep shot. In the scissor kick the legs slap together and create excessive body rotation. The scissor kick turns the shooter’s body 180-degrees and throws the ball at the center of the goal. The proper technique is to use the step-out which reduces the body rotation to 90-degrees and places the ball in the right corner of the goal.

The second mistake is to cock the right arm before taking a sweep shot or to move the entire body to the extreme left.  The shooter’s hips cock the body and rotate the body and move the locked right arm.  There is no reason to cock the right arm, as cocking the arm produces no power for the sweep shot.   The sweep shot is not an outside shot where the right arm is bent, pulled back and cocked before the shot.  The left hand and hips provide the power for the sweep shot.  Additionally, cocking the arm throws the ball to the outside of the goal post.  

In the picture above to the left the shooter’s arm moves 90-degrees and 36-inches (90-centimeters) before the ball leaves the hand (see small black curve).  When the shooter cocks the arm 12-inches past the right foot it adds 30-degrees (12-inches/30-centimeters) to the throwing motion (see medium pink curve).  In the second picture to the right, the ball is released and misses the goal (large pink curve and line).  The ball travels the same distance of 36-inches but leaves the shooter’s hand half way through the normal throwing arc and the ball is wide of the goal (see Figs. 3, 4). 


Figure 5 and 6

Figure 5 and Figure 6

The power turn Boyer hole shot is a 90-degree turn by the 2-meter player to face the goal with the guard to the side using an elbow push off and a Boyer type lateral throwing motion.  The power turn Boyer shot is not a rotational shot like the sweep shot where the arm glides across the surface of the water or a layout shot where the shooter moves away from the hole guard. The power turn Boyer shot is a physical move around the guard that muscles the ball into the goal.  The 2-meter player grabs the ball on top with the right hand, grabs the side of the guard’s swimsuit with the left hand and spins 90-degrees to face the goal with the ball in the water.  Once the turn is complete the hand and ball is raised above the head
(see Figs. 5, 6). 

Figure 7 and 8

Figure 7 and Figure 8

As the 90-degree spin is completed the guard attacks the 2-meter player.  The player uses a left elbow or forearm to push off the guard’s ribcage to create separation from the holeguard.  Do not miss the target area (ribs) and push off the guard’s chest or back.  The elbow or forearm push off must be firm or the arm slides off the target.  Never use the left hand to push off as this is an obvious push off (see Figs. 7, 8).

After the player pushes off, he or she step-outs into a Boyer with a mild right leg lunge and moves laterally to the side for an open shot with the ball held high above the head (Articles: The Shot Doctor: Skip Shot 3).    The right knee is high and lunges a short distance to the right.  The shooter’s whole body is cocked to the left and then springs to the right for the shot. The arm and ball are lifted up to a 45-degree angle and cocked towards the head.  The shooter’s arm is extended, body moves laterally and right foot snaps inward to rotate the body for additional power and to release the ball. Common mistakes are to have the right knee low on the step-out which forces the legs to cross instead of separate.  With crossed legs the elbow drops into the water and the forearm becomes vertical instead of horizontal.  The ball is thrown at center cage rather than the high right corner.  It is also a mistake to swing the right arm backward to imitate the outside throwing motion.  The overhand outside shot body position eliminates the step-out and lateral movement.  The Boyer step-out shot is always a square-to-the-goal lateral movement shot (see Fig. 8).  



  • Roll on back
  • Both legs point at goal
  • Lob the ball

Figure 9

Figure 9

The standard layout lob shot has the woman to roll on her back at an angle to the goal and lob the ball at the right corner of the goal.  Both of her feet point at the right corner to aim the ball.  The goalie overplays the left corner and is unable to get to the right corner to block the lob. The problem with this one dimensional lob shot is the goalie reads the shot and moves to the right corner to block lob.  For an improved layout lob shot, the shooter points the left foot at the goal with the right leg bent (see Fig. 9). 


  • Roll on back, hand under ball
  • Left leg points, right leg bent
  • Kick down, crunch abs, shoot

Figure 10

Figure 11

Figure 10 and Figure 11

The power layout shot uses the left leg point/right leg bent technique to generate force for the power shot. The 2-meter player rolls onto his or her back at an angle to the goal.  In the first picture, the shooter’s left foot points at the right corner and the right leg is bent and the arm cocked.  In the second picture, the power layout shooter kicks down with the left leg for thrust, contracts the abdominal muscles (crunches) and shoots a hard power shot.  The left leg kick and ab crunch create the power for a hard layout shot or a backstroke shot (see Figs. 10, 11).

  • Roll on back
  • Bend both knees
  • Kick both legs up, crunch abs, shoot

Figure 12

Figure 13

Figure 12 and Figure 13

The crunch layout shot is a layout using a double bent leg position with a two-leg kick up.  In the first picture, the layout has the player roll on the back, point both legs at the corner with the knees slightly bent with the hand underneath the ball.  In the second picture, the shooter kicks up with both legs, crunches the abs, and throws the ball at the high corner of the goal.  The layout shot is a quick shot done without hesitation, faking or a slow body movement.  Adding plyometrics to the crunch layout shot makes the shot quicker and more powerful (see Figs. 12, 13).


  • Arch back, hand under the ball
  • Stretch right shoulder
  • Backside of body tensed, abs stretched and preloaded

Figure 14

Figure 14

Adding plyometrics greatly increases the quickness of the layout shot.  Plyometric uses the same muscles that the player used in the crunch layout shot but uses them in a different manner by preloading them.  The player adds the plyometric technique to the crunch layout shot by pre-stressing the back by arching it to its limit and stretching the right shoulder against the balance ball (see arrows).  Using the plyometric technique to stretch the back and shoulder causes the front muscles to tense and preload the abdominals so they can instantly react and shoot the ball.  The plyometric version of the crunch layout shot cuts two tenths of a second from the layout shot (see Fig. 14). 

In biomechanics, plyometrics is defined as the act of quickly moving from an eccentric muscle contraction to a concentric contraction utilizing the stretch reflex.  Speed is defined as how fast the muscle moves from an eccentric contraction to a concentric contraction to throw the ball (called the amortization rate).  All muscular action in throwing is first an eccentric contraction (lengthening) followed by a concentric contraction (shortening).  The ball is not thrown until the player’s muscles make the switch to a concentric contraction. 


  • 75-85 cm ball men; 65 cm ball women
  • Feet wide a part, body balanced, buttocks off ball, back arched
  • Back tight, shoulder stretched back
  • Explode into the sit up and throw

Figure 15 and 16

Figure 15 and Figure 16

Plyo exercises train the muscles to switch from eccentric to concentric contraction as quickly as possible for greater acceleration and power.  The best exercise for developing the plyometric crunch layout shot is a combined balance ball and medicine ball drill.  The player lies on top of a big 75 or 85-centimeter ball for men and a 65-centimeter ball for women with the body and neck curved around the ball.  The feet are spread a part on the floor, the back arched tightly, the right shoulder pressed hard into the ball with the right arm over the head with a small rubber inflatable medicine ball in the hand weighing from 1 lb. to 5 lbs. or 1/2 kilo to 2.5 kilos (see Fig. 15). 

The player creates the plyometric effect by curving the body around the ball with the back, right shoulder stretched with the right arm loose.  The backside of the body is “tight” in a concentric contraction; the front of the body, the abdominals, are “preloaded” and “stretched” in an eccentric contraction.  As the player does a plyometric sit up on the balance ball he or she throws the medicine ball at the wall.  The ball is caught after it bounces off the wall and the drill repeats. The rule is for the player’s body to be “tight and explode.” The player should never relax and sink into the balance ball.  Repeat the sit up drill 10-20 times with perfect form (see Fig. 16).

For more information on unstable surface training with a balance ball read the book “ProBodX” by Marv Marinovich and Dr. Edythe Heus.  Dr. Heus has a website at  www.primeblueprint.com .  Marv Marinovich’s website is  www.sportslab.net .  YouTube.com has a number of balance ball training videos under the title: Sports Lab Exercise.


Problem  Fix
Sweep shot wide Ball over the right foot
Sweep shot hits center cage      Do not scissor kick
Power Turn Boyer weak Lean left, strong elbow push off, high right knee, arm held high at 45’
Power layout weak Point the left foot, bent right leg, kick down hard, crunch abs
Layout lob misses Point foot or feet at the corner to aim the ball
Crunch shot weak Quick movement, kick up with both legs, crunch abs, hand under ball
Plyometric crunch shot Back of body is tensed, back arched, abs and right shoulder stretched

In concluding, the 2-meter player has a number of hole shots to use to beat the guard and score on the goalie.  The 2-meter player has a choice of a sweep shot, a layout shot, a layout lob shot and a crunch layout shot.  In any situation the hole shooter faces, there a move that exploits the weakness of the guard’s positioning.  When the guard overplays the 2-meter player’s right shoulder the hole shooter takes a sweep shot.  When the guard presses the 2-meter player uses a power turn Boyer to the left of the guard or moves away from the guard for a layout shot. 

© Copyright 2008 Jim Solum

Next Month: The Hole Shot: Part 2 of a 4 part series

Figure 13

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