Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 2 Number 4 June 1, 2009
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.


Fig of Drive-In Shot


Today we cover the four-limb theory of the drive-in shot and see how the 2’s, 3’s and 4’s affect the shot.  There are two stages of throwing--cocking and acceleration; three motions—pull, rotate and extend; and how the four limbs—arms and legs of the driver are positioned for the shot.  In addition, there are left-footed drive-in shots that have the left foot pointed at the goal when the ball is shot such as the screw shot, push shot and the wrist off the water shot.  Horizontal to vertical shots are the slam-dunk and rear back shot that change the body position from the horizontal to a vertical position to shoot the ball.  The new theory and the five drive-in shots enable the coach and player to excel at the drive-in shot.


Cocking Stage: Glide, Roll & Point (Pull, Rotate & Extend)

  1. Left hand glide, roll torso, point left foot 
  2. Right hip up
  3. Right foot to side
  4. Right arm cocked

Acceleration Stage: Pull, Rotate & Extend

  1. Left hand pulls down
  2. Right hip rotates to right
  3. Right foot snaps inward
  4. Right arm extends and twists to release the ball

In previous issues, we covered the theory of glide, roll and point mechanics and the cocking and acceleration stages.  Now the theory of shooting is expanded to include the four-limb theory of shooting.  The drive-in shot breaks down into four body parts: left arm, left leg, right hip/leg and the right arm.  In addition, we use three motions: pull, rotate and extend to analyze the shot.  The three motions are applied to the four limb positions in the cocking stage and acceleration stage.  The follow-through is the third throwing stage, in this stage the driver’s hand hits the water and the body stops.  This stage will not be discussed.  The coach is able to find the error in throwing mechanics by seeing what stage, limb and motion was involved.  Seventy-five percent of the power comes from the hips rotating the right foot, leg and torso and transferring the power into the right arm.  A poorly positioned and cocked right hip produces little power and creates a weak shot (see Figs. 1, 2). 

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2


Figure 3<

Figure 3

The driver uses the left hand to shoot the ball.  The left hand starts the glide, roll and point to cock the ball. And the left hand accelerates the body, elevates, rotates and positions the body and right arm for the shot.  The driver’s left hand is more important than the right hand.  This concept goes against what most of us believe. After all, the right hand releases the ball.  However, the right hand is the end of the shot, the effect, not the cause of the shot.  The right arm only moves forward.  It does not do much.  The left hand sets up the body for the proper cocking posture and shooting posture and is the cause of the shot.  Much of the power and cocking of the body comes from the left hand positioning the driver’s body.  The left hand during the acceleration stage is also important as the left hand pull down slightly elevates the body and assists in rotating the body (see Fig. 3). 


Figure 4

Figure 4

The left foot drive-in shot positions the left foot in front of the driver so the shooter can glide, roll and point and cock and shoot the ball (see Articles: Drive-in Shots Part 1 & 2).  Almost all drive-in shots are left-footed shots.  Picking up the ball underneath requires a left foot forward position to pick up the ball.  And a left foot forward position to shoot the ball.  The left foot is the pivot point for the body rotate back to cock the driver’s whole body and accelerate the driver’s body forward to shoot the ball.  In addition, the left foot aims the ball by pointing at the corner where the ball is shot. Wherever the left foot points, the ball follows (see Fig. 4).


Figure 5

Figure 5

The driver begins accelerating the body for the shot by pulling down with the left hand with the right foot snapping inward.  The hips rotate the right foot to create the snap-in kick.  The driver’s right foot is cocked in a sideways position by the hips and snaps downward to accelerate and create power for the shot.  Most of the power for the drive-in shot is produced by the hips/legs and the left arm.   For a demonstration of the fact that the hip rotates the leg, the player stands on the deck with the right hand on the hip joint and attempts to move the right foot without moving the hip. The foot does not move. The ankle does not rotate the foot, the hip does. For the in-the-water demonstration, the driver focuses on the right hip and sees that the hip is up when the right arm is cocked and rolls to the right when the ball is shot (see Fig. 5).

Right Arm (No. 4)

Figure 6

Figure 6

The right arm and hand cock the ball and then accelerate the arm to release the ball.  In the cocking stage, the right arm pulls, extends and rotates to pick up the ball.  In the acceleration stage, the driver’s right arm pulls, extends and rotates (twists) to shoot the ball at the goal.  The right arm is the last part of the body to cock the ball.  And the right arm is the last part of the body to move to shoot the ball.  Shooting mistakes are the result of errors in the throwing motion in the left arm pull and the subsequent hip positioning.  Rarely, do these mistakes occur in the acceleration stage.  The blown shot is not caused by the driver’s right hand or arm position.  The left hand in the cocking stage failed to glide, roll and point the body to correctly position the driver’s right arm. 

A square, flat and pointless driver positions the right arm and the ball in the wrong position, away from the face, and takes a weak shot. In comparison, the glide, roll and point shooter is correctly positioned and takes a great shot.  Coaches and players assume the bad shot came off the fingers incorrectly so it must be a right hand problem.  It is a hand problem--a left hand problem.  The left hand, the positioning hand, is more important than the right hand in shooting. The throwing motion is more than the right hand (see Fig. 6). 


  1. Screw Shot
  2. Push Shot
  3. Wrist Off-The-Water Shot

The left foot drive-in shot is the standard drive-in shot with the left leg forward.  The screw shot, push shot, and wrist off the water shots use the left foot in two stages, cocking and acceleration to shoot the ball. In addition, the shooting technique breaks down into four limb positions of the two legs and the two arms.  Three motions are used in each stage: pull, rotate and extend.  The cocking stage uses the glide, roll and point mechanics by pulling with the left arm, rotating the hip and foot and extending the right arm to the ball. The same motions occur in the acceleration.

1. Screw Shot

Cocking Stage  Motion
Left hand glides, roll & points  Pulls
Point the left foot Extend
Roll right hip up, right foot cocked    Rotate
Right arm cocked Extend, Rotate
Acceleration Stage    Motion
Left hand pulls down Pull
Left foot pivots, kicks Rotate
Right hip rotates, foot snaps-in Rotate
Right arm releases ball Extend, Rotate

Figure 7

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 8

The screw shot has two stages: cocking and acceleration.  Each stage has four parts involving the four parts of the body: left and right leg positions and left and right arm positions.  In the cocking stage: (1) left arm is cocked by glide with a slight pull down; (2) the torso and right hip are cocked; (3) the right leg/right foot (4) and the right arm are cocked.  The driver’s whole body cocks the right arm (see Fig.7).

In the acceleration stage: (1) left arm resets and pulls down again; (2) the torso and right hip rotate to the right; (3) the right leg and right foot snap inward; (4) and the right arm extends and rotates to shoot the ball.  The driver’s whole body cocks and shoots the ball using the four parts of the body.  The pure right arm drive-in shot does not exist (see Fig. 8).

Almost all mistakes are made in the cocking stage of the screw shot, particularly in the left side of the driver’s body.  The left arm must glide and pull, the left hip must be down and the left foot must point.  The right side is the mobile side and energetic side of the drive-in shot and provides the right foot kick, hip rotation and right arm throwing movement. If the shot goes array, check how the driver’s body is cocked.  The driver uses the glide, roll and point technique to cock the body using four parts of the driver’s body: left hand extended, right hip rotated up, the right foot rotated and cocked to the side and the right arm cocked.  To cock the right arm, the ball is picked up underneath, the arm is twisted with a high elbow with the back of the hand next to the driver’s cheek using the pull, rotate and extend motions. 

The ball is not held 12-inches (30-centimeters) away from the face as this arm position greatly reduces power.  The correct elbow is next to the ribs when the torso rolls on the side so the ball can be held close to the face.  The driver’s right arm does not cock the ball.  The rolled torso cocks the ball and creates the long arm cock.  When the driver is square (left shoulder not angled), flat (torso not rolled) and pointless (left foot flutter kicking) the ball is cocked away from the face, the arm cock is short and the screw shot is weak.

2.  Push Shot 

Cocking Stage: Glide, roll & point, hand on top of ball and push down
  Bend and cock arm

Acceleration Stage: Pull with left hand, slide right thumb down on ball, rotate right hip
  Rotate right foot and extend right arm for shot

Figure 9 and 10

Figures 9 and 10

Figure 11 and 12

Figures 11 and 12

The push shot is used when the shooter has at least a half body lead on the guard and is not too close to the goalie.  The driver glides, rolls and points, and pushes the ball down with the hand on top and the thumb down to cock the right arm.  The driver extends the right arm with the thumb under the ball. The thumb under position doubles the power of the shot.  The right arm extends but does not rotate as it does in the screw shot.  It is critical that the thumb is under the ball for support and power. The push shot is both a high corner and a low corner shot.  The high percentage shot is a low corner skim shot. In addition, the push shot shooter needs to watch his or her distance to the goal to prevent the goalie from coming out of the cage and stealing the ball (see Figs. 9-12). 

3.  Wrist Off the Water Shot

Cocking Stage: Glide, roll & point, underneath ball pick
  Right arm is vertical in air with elbow in the water, hand rotated right

Acceleration Stage: Left hand pull, rotate right hip and foot
  Right hand twists inward and extends for shot

Figure 13 and 14

Figure 13 and Figure 14

The wrist off-the-water shot arm motion is similar to a screw shot but the right arm is vertical instead of horizontal.  The shooter lifts the ball from underneath and raises the arm with the elbow resting on top of the water.  The right hand twists to the right to cock the right arm.  The left hand pulls down, the right foot snaps inward with the right hand twisting inward to shoot the ball for a quick whole body wrist shot (see Figs. 13, 14). 


  1. Slam-Dunk Shot
  2. Rear Back Shot

A horizontal to vertical shot moves the driver’s body from the horizontal to the vertical to shoot the ball.  The slam-dunk shooter receives a wet pass.  The R.B. shooter receives a dry pass.

1.  Slam Dunk Shot

Cocking stage: Glide, roll & point, extend right arm to pick ball up underneath

Acceleration stage: Left hand pull, left foot pivots, legs scissor kick
  Right arm extended straight, elbow locked, hand flat
  Hand slides up on the ball, crunch abs and shoot

Figure 15, 16 and 17

Figures 15, 16 and 17

The slam-dunk shot rapidly moves the driver’s body from the horizontal to vertical to shoot the ball.  The driver uses the abdominal muscles for most of the power to shoot the ball.  It is a unique shot in that the hips and right arm are not used to shoot the ball.  The driver does not rotate the hips backward nor has a long arm cock.  In the cocking stage, the square-shouldered slam-dunk driver picks the ball up underneath with the hand and glides, rolls and points. 

In the acceleration stage, the driver lifts the right arm straight up with elbow locked and the hand flat, contracts the abs which snaps the torso forward, slides the hand to the center of the ball and snaps the wrist to release the ball.  The goalie leaps up in the air for the high corner shot and sees the ball slammed into the low corner.  Practice the Serbian drill of having the right arm locked, crunch the abs and throw the ball down at the water (see Fig. 15-17).

2.  Rear Back (R.B.) Shot 

Cocking stage: Drive two strokes, pull with left hand, and lunge
  Lightly slap right hand on water, pull knees underneath
  Extend left foot forward, elevate, and rotate the hips half way for a short arm cock

Acceleration stage: Pull left hand, pull legs together in scissor kick,
  Rotate hips, extend right arm forward, shoot quickly off the wrist

Figure 18, 19 and 20

Figures 18, 19 and 20

The R.B. shooter moves from the horizontal to the vertical to catch a dry pass for a quick shot.  The guard sets up the shot by dropping off the driver.  In the cocking stage, the driver takes two strokes, lunges and lightly slaps the water with the right hand, pulls the knees under the chest and snaps the left foot forward to complete the cocking stage. In the acceleration stage, the driver scissor kicks straight up in the air and catches a dry pass with a short arm cock for a quick wrist shot at the high corner (see Figs. 18-20). 

The drills are the Serbian Straight Arm, American Slam-Dunk Swims and Cage Slam-Dunk.  In the Serbian drill the player locks the elbow, elevates and slams the ball down on the water by crunching the abs.  In the American Slam-Dunk swim drill, the player swims, elevates and slams the ball with the hand on top or underneath for several laps.  The Cage Slam-Dunk drill positions the player on the 2-meter line, hand on top of ball, elevates, touches the ball to the underside of the crossbar and then slams the ball.  Do not release the ball until the ball touches the bar.  

In concluding, the theory of the drive-in shooting uses the glide, roll and point technique, the cocking and the acceleration stages using three motions and the four parts of the body: the left foot, left hand, right leg and right arm to throw the ball.  The driver’s left hand, right hip and right foot are important elements of the shot.  In fact, the left hand is more important than the right hand for it positions the body.  Major mistakes made during the drive-in shot are found in the cocking stage of the shot with the left hand and right hip--not in the right hand release.  Left foot drive-in shots and the horizontal to vertical drive-in shots give the driver a variety of shots.  The shot, in the final analysis, is composed of the 2’s, 3’s and 4’s--2-stages, 3-motions and 4-limbs. 

Copyright 2009 Jim Solum

Next Month: The Drive-In Shots Part 5

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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