Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 2 Number 8November 1, 2009
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.




Everyone has seen the arm swinging pump fake but few know of the short burst arm motions of a fake called the hesie.  The pump fake and the hesie fake are analyzed and compared in this article.  The pump fake is used to tire the goalie with repeated arm swings back and forth.  The hesie or hesitation fake uses one fake attempt to commit the goalie into jumping up early to block what appears to be an incoming shot. The pump fake looks like a fake.  The hesie fake looks like the shooter is throwing the ball.  Each fake has it uses.  The pump fake is used to fake and to advance the ball against the drop back.  The hesie fake is a higher percentage fake.  The shooter needs to learn both fakes to score.


Without strong legs and a strong body it is impossible player to do a pump fake or a hesie fake.  The pump faker must keep the elbow high so the ball is aimed at the high corner.  The pump faker cannot drag the elbow in the water.  The hesie faker has the same requirement: have a high elbow and a high release point.  Neither the pump fake nor the hesie fake can have a player with weak legs or lazy legs and score. Whichever player, the goalie or the shooter, has the strongest legs wins this game.  No one ever sees a low-in-the-water goalie.  Everyone has seen lots of players fake and shoot while almost underwater.

The hesie is a strong shooter's fake.  In addition to having great strength in the legs, the legs are explosive and instantly lift the shooter high out of the water.  A basketball player dunking the ball is an example of explosive leg power.  The shooter must have strong legs to do a hesie fake and throw the ball powerfully.  The rule to follow for strong and explosive legs is: Train quick--be quick; train slow--be slow.  The shot and the hesie fake is not a 56-second 100-meter swim.  The hesie takes a second. The shot takes a second.  The player has to be able to quickly explode up with the legs and sustain high elevation for two seconds.  No one slowly dunks the basketball.  The water polo player is not in a swim meet.  The water polo player is in a shooting game that demands quickness.



 Figure 1


Figure 2


Figure 3

Water polo demands great height out of the shooter for every fake and shot.  To achieve great height out of the water the player must have a vertical back, kick high out of the water with the legs, and sustain the height for at least 3-seconds with the ball held at a height of 30-inches (76-centimeters).   Shooting is math not magic.  The ball travels in a straight line.  A high corner shot requires the center of the shooter's hand and the ball to be 30-inches above the water to go in a straight line into the high corner. A low-in-the-water shooter has the ball at 17-inches and throws the ball in a straight line at the middle of the goal.  For the lowly shooter to put the ball in the high corner he or she must elevate and additional 13-inches (33-centimeters) out of the water for a good shot.  The shooter's arm moves from an elbow-in-the-water position, to an elbow above the ear position.  It is impossible for the lying-on-the-back or falling over player to shoot accurately at the high corner (see Figs. 1-3). 


Figure 4


Figure 5

When the ball is at 30-inches above the water the ball will hit the net in the high corner of the goal.  A shooter that does not reach a height of at least 30-inches has the ball fly over the cage on a high corner shot. A shooter with the elbow in the water throws the ball at the goalie's arm in the middle of the goal at 17-inches.  The shooter that is high out of the water with the 30-inch high release lifts the torso out of the water so the ball can be faked properly.  The high out the water shooter/faker has the belly button show for boys or the top of the trunks for men.  The girl shooter/faker shows the belly button with the college women showing the hips. The high out of the water body position of the pump faker or the hesie faker keeps the torso out of the water so the faker's torso can move forward, back and sideways to fake the goalie. There are no great shooters or fakers that have waves hitting their chin or splashing their shoulders (see Figs. 4, 5).



Fig. 6

The pump fake is the standard fake used universally around the world.  It is a simple fake to learn, easy to do and works most of the time.  There are two types, a long stroke pump fake and short stroke pump fake.  The pump fake swings the right arm forward and back to lower the goalie in the cage.   The goalie's legs tire after two or three pump fakes and the ball is shot over the sinking goalie's head or at the high corner of the goal (see Fig. 6).   

The vertical player swings the ball backward on the backswing and forward on the foreswing.  The wrist turns to position the hand behind the ball on the backswing and in front of the ball on the foreswing.  When the faker's arm swings backward on the backswing the left hand sweeps water to the left to assist the hips in rotating the body to the right and swinging the right leg back.  On the foreswing the left hand sweeps water to the right to rotate the body to the left and the right leg moves under the hip.  The left foot is forward on the foreswing.  A foot mistake made during the pump fake by women is to leave the right leg forward, under the hips, and not swing the right leg back on the backswing.  By the woman not swinging the right leg backward, she creates a square-to-the-goal body position and a weak shot. A strong angled woman shooter with the left leg forward and the right leg back suddenly becomes a weak shooter by pump faking her body square.

The pump fake is not a right arm only motion.  It is a whole body fake. The shooter's hips, legs and left hand play an integral part in the pump fake.  The pump fake is based on body rotation.  Rotation comes from the hips and the left hand.  The right arm cannot move backward on the backswing more than a few inches with the hips locked and the left hand motionless.  The hips and left hand rotate which causes the right arm to swing back and forth.  Many women do not rotate their hips and are therefore unable to do a pump fake. 

The disadvantage of the pump fake is it rhythmic, predictable and telegraphs the shot to the goalie. The shooter pump fakes twice and then shoots. The experienced goalie counts "1-2-Jump" and jumps up to block the shot. The shooter, however, can confuse the goalie by varying the number of pump fake strokes. The rule is: fake once or thrice but never twice.  The shooter shoots after the first pump fake or the third pump fake to prevent the goalie from "reading the shot."  Another technique for the shooter is to use a short stroke fake.  The shooter's arm swings forward but stops slightly in front of the face.  The short arm stroke fake is short and quick.  The short stroke pump fake allows for multiple fakes, making it more difficult for the goalie to read the pump strokes. 


Figure 7

A frequent mistake is when a shooter drags the elbow in the water while faking. The shooter's leg kick should be hard and sustained, with the elbow high in the air and the center of the ball 30-inches (76-centimeters) high in the air and aimed at the high corner of the goal.  A shooter's low elbow position drags in the water and aims the ball at a 17-inch high (45-centimeter) spot in the middle of the goal where the goalie's arms block the shot (see Fig. 7).


Figure 8

The long arm stroke fake is now used to advance the ball against the drop back. The vertical player uses a long stroke pump fake with full arm extension and stops the ball past the shooter's shoulder.  The player leans over and pulls water with the left hand to advance the ball forward from the 8-meter line to the 5-meter line.  The player advances 3-meters with the long arm stroke pump fake to the 5-meter line and evaluates the slougher (see Fig. 8).


Figure 9

Then the shooter advances the ball to the 5-meter line he faces a slougher who is double-teaming the 2-meter player.  The ball advancer has two choices: pass or shoot.  The pump faker moves forward to commit the slougher so the ball can be passed into 2-meters.  If the slougher does not move and remains in front of the 2-meter player, the ball is shot. Advance, commit the slougher, if the slougher does not move--shoot.  The open shooter in the pool is the ball advancer.  No one else is open.  There no one else open to pass the ball to.  The open shooter must shoot the ball (see Fig. 9).


Figure 10

Women use a different pump fake technique when advancing the ball.  They use a lying-on-the-side advance the ball technique.  The woman takes advantage of the fact that her body floats.  The woman lies on her side with the ball high above the head and sidestrokes forward.  When the shooter reaches the 5-meter line she drops her legs to the vertical and prepares for the shot or entry pass (see Figure. 10).



Figure 11

The hesie fake is a pause or break in the throwing motion.  The hesie is an unpredictable fake that cannot be read by the goalie.  Its short, abrupt arm and body motion tricks the goalie into jumping up early.  The hesie fake is the opposite of the slow and rhythmic motion of the pump fake.  There is nothing slow, gradual or predictable about the hesie arm motion.  For example, in a single hesie fake the right arm moves forward at a high speed, the arm suddenly stops in mid-air, restarts and releases the ball.  The hesie fake is non-rhythmic, unpredictable and the goalie has no idea when the ball is going to be released. There are many hesies used today.  Each shooter has a one or more hesie fakes that are suited to his or her throwing style (see Fig. 11).

The hesie fake is a pause or break in the forward motion of the right arm and parts of the upper body such as the left shoulder or torso.  The hesie or hesitation fake is specifically designed for confusing the goalie.  For example, there are arm pause hesies, shoulder rotation hesies and torso flexing forward crunch hesies. These hesies duplicate the clues the goalie watches the shooter for are: the elevation of the shooter' body (up is a shot, low in the water is a pass), the torso moving forward, the left shoulder and head rotating to the left and the right elbow and arm moving forward. The hesie fake creates a pause in the arm and body to throw off the timing of the goalie. For the hesie fake to score, all hesie fakes are or appear to be high corner shots.  The hesie faker sinks the goalie down in the water and shoots high. The shooter does not shoot at the low corner where the goalie has fallen.  A low corner shot with a low-in-the-water goalie is a blocked shot.

The hesie shooter requires the four elements of strong legs, verticality, knowledge of the pump fake and the proper hesie mechanics to be able to fake the ball correctly.  The player must have all four elements if he or she is to be successful as a hesie faker.  A hesie fake cannot be done unless the player has strong legs that support and sustain the player in the air for two to three seconds. The player has a vertical back, leaps high out of the water and remains stable and balanced in the air.  The shooter does not bob up and down in the water, drop the left shoulder or shake in the air. The well-trained player moves the left hand and legs into the proper position so the hesie fake is done correctly.  In addition, the player understands the seven styles of hesie fakes so the proper fake is used in the correct shooting situation.

There are many hesie fake styles.  The shooter has a choice of leg, crunch, shoulder, single and double hesies.  In addition (not illustrated) there are also chest hesies, left hand hesies, knee hesies and short arm cock hesies. The leg hesie uses the legs to elevate higher and higher in the air from 30-inches to 40-inches (76-101-centimeters) using two half scissor kicks with the left foot forward.  The crunch hesie uses the abdominal muscles to snap the torso forward.  The shoulder hesie rotates the left shoulder to pull the goalie to the left corner as the ball is thrown to the right corner.  A single hesie stops the right arm over the shooter's shoulder, restarts and releases the ball.  The double hesie has two stops or pauses of the right arm before the ball is released.  The short arm cock hesie uses a very short arm motion to fake the ball for a quick shot.



Figure 12

The leg hesie uses a shortened double scissor kick to elevate the shooter up to 30-inches (76-centimeters) with the large first kick and 40-inches (101-centimeters) with a shorter second kick (see Fig. 12).



Figures 13-15

The crunch hesie shooter snaps the torso forward by contracting the abdominal muscles (see Figs. 13-15).



Figures 16-18          

The shooter sharply rotates the left shoulder once or twice to the left and shoots at the right corner using the hips with a bent and sweeping left hand (see Figs 16-18).



Figures 19

The single hesie shooter starts the arm motion, stops near the shoulder by stopping the left hand pull-down, restarts the left hand pull-down and restarts the arm motion and releases the ball (see Fig. 19).    



Figure 20

The shooter's arm stops twice while throwing before the shot to upset the goalie's timing (see Fig. 20).


The shooter uses the pump fake when necessary to tire the goalie and to advance the ball.  The hesie fake is the superior fake but requires a knowledgeable and well-trained shooter.  Both fakes require strong legs and verticality to be successful. The pump fake swings the right arm back and forth and sinks the goalie using rotation created by the hips and left hand.  The long stroke version is used to advance the ball against the slough. The hesie is a number of different types of fakes.  The hesie requires abrupt, explosive stopping and restarting of the body and the right arm to duplicate the throwing motion.  The effect of the hesie is to convince the goalie to commit to the apparent incoming shot and jump early. In the following articles, leg hesies, crunch hesies, shoulder hesies, single and double hesies, left hand hesies, knee hesies and the new short arm cock hesies will be discussed in depth.

Copyright 2009 Jim Solum

Next Month Hesie Fakes: Part 2

This is a five-part series on fakes condensed from Dr. Solum's Science of Shooting book.


[Click Jim's photo at top of page to learn more about his water polo experiences
and Click the water polo ball at top of the page to learn more about Jim's books.]

WATER POLO PLANET.COM: the Alternative Voice    www.waterpoloplanet.com