Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 2 Number 3 May 1, 2009
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.


Figure Baseball Shot


As the driver counterattacks down court on the 2-on-1, he or she uses a right foot passing technique to pass the ball from the right side to the left side of the pool.  The counterattack driver uses a right foot catching technique to catch the ball when the ball is passed from the left side of the pool to the right side.  The driver’s technique in the 1-on-0 situation is to be high out of the water, fake the goalie down and shoot over the goalie’s head.  The driver breaks the checking hands of the guard by using hand to get free of the guard.  The driver uses an opening move to become open in the first stroke to beat the guard. The driver finishes the counterattack with a shot; and begins the frontcourt offense with the drive.


The driver counterattacks to the 4-meter line in a 2-on-1 situation, throws a cross-court pass to the left side of the pool using a right foot point. The counterattacker on the right side of the pool receives an across-the-face pass that uses the right leg to help catch the ball.  Once on the 2-meter line, the single driver in a 1-on-0 situation uses the proper shooting technique to score on the goalie by having strong legs and perfect technique.

2-on-1 Right Foot Passing   

  • Right Foot Forward, Hand on Ball, Stop
  • Turn, Sweep Left Hand, Face the Freeman
  • Pass the ball

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure  2

Figure 2

The driver counters down the right side of the pool and throws a cross-court pass to the freeman using the right foot passing technique. The 2-on-1 right side passer accurately throws the ball to the freeman on the left side by following four rules: stop, sweep, turn and pass.  When the passer’s left foot is forward and pointing at the goal the cross-court pass is highly inaccurate.  The bad cross-court right side pass has the passer’s left foot forward, which creates an over-the-shoulder pass that falls short of the freeman (see Fig. 1).     

The correct 4-stage technique for throwing the pass has the driver stop with the right foot forward and the hand pushing down on top of the ball.  The left hand sweeps to the right to turn the body to face the shooter while keeping the right foot forward.  The power from pushing off the ball along with a scissor kick helps the passer make a good pass to the freeman.  The 2-on-1 advanced passer uses the right foot forward position to stop, switches to a left foot forward passing position, points the left foot at the freeman and passes the ball (see Fig. 2). 

2-on-1 Right Foot Catching         

  • Right Foot Forward
  • Left hand Sweep, Turn, Face Passer
  • Swing Leg 270-Degrees

Figure 3

Figure 3

The driver on the 2-on-1 counterattack, located on the right side of the pool, receives an across-the-face cross-cage pass to catch.  The freeman catches the ball with a right foot point, sweeps with the left hand, turns 270-degrees, points the left foot at the right corner of the goal and shoots the ball.  Do not fake the ball.  Faking at the open corner allows the goalie to recover, move across the cage and block the shot (see Fig. 3).

Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 5

The driver uses a three-step process to catch the across the face pass and shoot using a sweep, swing and point technique.  The shooter points the right foot at the passer, sweeps with the left hand to turn the body, swings the right leg 270-degrees to rotate, changes from right foot point to left foot point, and points the left foot at the right corner.  The left hand sweep to the left along with the right leg swing rotates the shooter to face the right corner of the goal.  The shooter’s left foot must point at the right corner of the goal for a right corner shot. (see Figs. 4, 5). 

The left foot point is the aiming point.  Wherever the left foot points the ball follows.  For a demonstration of the left foot point, freeze the right hand as it hits the water after the shot and one finds it is directly over the left foot.  The second rule is wherever the right foot points, the left foot and shoulder follow. A demonstration of the fact that the right foot/leg swing action controls the left side of the body is for the player stand with the shoulders and feet square and swing the right leg back 90-degrees and the left foot point and left shoulder point appears.

The good catch requires a good pass.  The across-the-face pass is slow, soft with a lob-like arc, thrown close to the face to facilitate the catch and the spin.  The high-speed ball, thrown away from the catcher’s face, falls out the hand when the body spins.  The across-the-face catch is a 270-degree spin move in the air.  The last mistake the inexperienced driver makes is to only swing the right leg 90-degrees to the side, point the left foot at the left corner of the goal and shoot at the out of position goalie.

The advanced catching technique is to keep the left foot forward.  The player points the left foot wide of the left goal post, torso fully rotated, with right leg straight back and close to the surface of the water.  The left hand is wide and back.  The left-footed player catches the ball as the left hand strongly sweeps to the left while the right leg “steers” and swings so the left foot points at the right corner.  A shooter with the left foot forward, shoots quickly without having to change feet. 

1-on-0 Shot

  • Center Cage
  • High, Advance Ball, Pump Fake the Goalie Down
  • Shoot over the Goalie’s Head       

Figure 6

Figure 6

The classic 1-on-0 shot is to be at center cage, fake the goalie down in the water and shoot over the goalie’s head for the score.  The shooter drives to center cage, picks up the ball at the 5-meter line and advances the ball 2-meters with the ball high in the air.  Advancing the ball is pump faking and moving forward with the ball.  With every fake, the goalie’s the legs weaken, the body is lower, the outstretched hands and widen and open a spot over the head.  The shooter throws the ball over the goalie’s head (see Fig. 6).

Figure 7, 8 & 9

Figures 7, 8 & 9

The shooter dominates the goalie or the goalie dominates the shooter.  The freeman is going to shoot over the goalie’s head.  Both know where the ball is going.  It is a test of wills and leg strength between the shooter and the goalie.  The player with the strongest legs wins.  If the shooter has stronger legs than the goalie, the shooter scores.  When the shooter has weaker legs than the goalie, the shot is blocked. Scoring the 1-on-0 is leg strength, not arm strength (see Figs. 7-9). 

One of the major reasons for missing a 1-on-0 shot is the shooter throws the ball with the chest underwater and the elbow dragging in the water.  The goalie sees the shooter’s low elbow and knows that the only possible shot is at the low corner.  The goalie stays low with the hands in the water and blocks the shot. The 1-on-0 shooter must have the belly button showing with the ball at crossbar level when faking and shooting.  The rule is to get high, stay high, shoot high.

1-on-0 Split the Goal

  • Swim to Right Goal Post
  • Lock Goalie in Right Corner

Figure 10 & 11

Figures 10 & 11

The split the goal technique is a strategy to force the goalie into one corner of the goal and leave the other corner open.  The shooter swims from the center of the cage to the right goal post.  The goalie follows the shooter over to the right corner and pump fakes the goalie to lock the goalie into guarding the right corner.  The shooter makes a sharp turn by moving the left foot from pointing at the right corner to point at the left corner. The shooter’s left hand sweeps forward to assist in turning.  The ball is shot at the open left corner.  If the shooter’s left foot continues to point at the right corner, the ball cannot be shoot at the left corner (see Figs. 10, 11).


The guard hand checks the driver by shoving or grabbing the driverr.  The guard shoves the hand against the driver’s chest to hand check the driver and stop the drive or holds the driver’s elbow or left shoulder.  If the driver allows the guard to hand check, the drive is dead.  The driver uses four techniques to discourage the guard from hand checking.

Chest Check 

In the chest check, the guard shoves the driver’s chest as he or she takes the first stroke to stop the driver.  The driver swats the arm to the side or grabs the guard’s elbow, rolls and continues driving.  The chest check is a nuisance move used to intimidate the young driver. 

Thumb Release 

The guard grabs the driver’s shoulder and holds to prevent the drive.  The driver uses the left hand or the right hand to pull the guard’s thumb backward to release the grip.  When the guard grabs the driver’s wrist, the driver turns his wrist towards the outside to break the grip.  The driver does not turn the wrist inward as this strengthens the guards grip.

Elbow Release 

  • Guard has both hands on driver’s shoulders
  • Driver places a forearm on each elbow of guard
  • Pushes in and to inside water

Figure 12 & 13

Figure 12 & 13

The guard’s outstretched arm with the hand attached to the driver’s left shoulder is in a precarious position.  Most drivers cannot drive because of the guard’s hand check.  However, the guard’s elbow can be hit on the outside of the elbow joint or on the inside of the elbow (on the funny bone) to produce intense and momentary pain.  In the illustration above, the guard precisely places both forearms on the guard’s elbows and slaps inward, making the guard’s arms into a pretzel.  The driver swims away to open water (see Figs. 12, 13).

Sandwich Release 

  • Left forearm under guard’s arm
  • Right forearm on top
  • Push down and swim away

Figure 14, 15, 16 & 17

Figures 14, 15, 16 & 17

The guard’s outstretched left arm is “glued” to the driver’s shoulder to prevent a drive or spin move.  The driver uses the “sandwich” technique to get rid of the guard’s arm.   The driver sandwiches the guard’s arm by placing the driver's left forearm under and the right forearm on top of the guard’s arm near the guard’s elbow.  The helpless guard’s left forearm is “sandwiched” between the driver’s two arms.  The driver pushes down and swims away (see Figs. 14-17).


An opening move makes the driver free in the first stroke.  There are five techniques described ranging from a straight ahead drive to several involving judo-like moves to get open.  A quick explosive drive like the blast does not involve physical contact with the guard.  Other opening moves involve holding the guard’s arms to get open.  The driver selects which is the best technique to use to get open.

Read the Guard’s Positioning  

  • Deep hands, butt down, vertical and offset

Figure  18 & 19

Figure 18 & 19

Before the driver can drive, he or she reads the defense.  The driver reads the position of the guard’s body to see where to drive to get open in the first stroke.  A weak-legged guard has deep and slow moving hands, the butt is down in the water, the legs vertical and the body is offset to the left of the driver.  Once the drive starts, the weak-legged guard does not have the leg strength to reverse direction and cover up.  However, in the case of the properly positioned guard the guard blocks the path of the driver and prevents the drive (see Figs. 18, 19). 


  • Read the defense
  • Explode forward with the legs
The driver reads the guard’s position and then uses speed to beat the guard.  The blast is best method for getting open in the first stroke.  The driver with strong legs explodes forward and beats the guard in the first stroke.  The guard has no defense against speed.  The driver “jumps” forward 2-3-meters on the first stroke.  The first stroke of the drive starts with the fingertips in front of the guard’s chest and ends with the feet splashing the guard’s back.  Getting open is not caused by the driver moving the arms quickly, getting open is leg power.  Great drivers have great legs (see Figs. 18, 19).

Grab and Cover

  • Grab guard’s elbow
  • Cover stroke with opposite arm

Figure 20

Figure 20

The driver sees that the guard’s hands are low in the water and slow moving.  The driver grabs the guard’s left arm at the elbow joint with the right hand and holds the guard’s arm.  The driver then takes a left hand stroke to cover the hold and swims away (see Fig. 20).

Varga 2-Hand Toss and Go

  • Right hand on outside of guard’s elbow 
  • Left hand on inside of guard’s
  • Toss guard’s arms to left, swim away

Figure 21

Figure 21

The driver is on the left side of the pool and the guard has both hands on the driver’s shoulders.  The driver uses a two-hand toss technique to get open.  The driver places his left hand on the inside of the guard’s right elbow and the right hand on the outside of the guard’s left elbow (1st arrow).  The driver throws both of the guard’s arms to the left and swims away (2nd arrow).  The position of the driver’s left hand on the inside of the guard’s elbow allows the left hand to toss the guard’s arm to the left (see Fig. 21).

Azevedo Leverage Move

  • Grab the top of both elbows & elevate
  • Push down and swim away

Figure 22

Figure 22

The guard grabs the driver’s elbows and holds to prevent the drive.  The driver responds by grabbing both
of the guard’s outstretched arms at the elbow joint and eggbeaters high out of the water.  The elevated driver’s body doubles the weight on the guard’s arms.  The guard’s arms sink and the driver swims away (see Fig. 22). 

Walking the Ball

  • Palm the ball and swim in stroke
  • Do not push the ball too far underwater

Figure  23 & 24

Figures 23 & 24

The driver cannot dribble the ball due to holding by the guard.  The driver palms the ball and walks it down the pool while swimming side-to-side with the guard with freestyle strokes.  The half stroke is not too deep with the ball allowing the driver to move quickly forward with the ball. The advantage of walking the ball is the driver has control of the ball, can bear-in, duck under or shoot the ball (see Figs. 23, 24).

In conclusion, in the 2-on-1 counterattack the driver uses the right foot passing technique to throw the cross-cage pass to the freeman on the left side of the pool and to catch the ball thrown to the right side of the pool.  On the 1-on-0 shot, the driver is high out of the water, advances the ball and shoots the ball over the goalie’s head.  When the driver is in the frontcourt, he or she stops the hand checking of the guard by using specific techniques to break the hold.  The driver selects the correct opening move to get free of the guard in the first stroke.  The goal of the driver is to continue moving forward, by whatever means necessary, to get inside water and score.  

Copyright 2009 Jim Solum

Next Month: The Drive-In Shots Part 4

The five-part drive-in shot series is a condensation from Dr. Solum’s new book called:
The Science of Shooting The Driver.

Fig 17

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