Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 2 Number 9 December 1, 2009
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.


Hesie Fake


This article covers the first of the seven hesie styles and is an in-depth look at the leg hesie fake.  The leg hesie uses the legs primarily to make a quick hesie fake and a shot. Leg hesie fakes use the shooter's legs to leap up for a quick catch and a shot (R.B.), sustain height out of the water (freeze hesie), to body fake (Garcia hesie) and to elevate (1-2 leg hesie). The player learns how to do a leg hesie by first mastering the standard R.B shot and the scissor kick.  Then the advanced R.B. shot is taught, then the freeze hesie, followed by the 1-2 leg hesie, the Garcia hesie and the step-out and push hesie.  There is a natural progression in fakes from a simple single scissor kick of the R.B. (rear back) shot where the shooter leaps up and quickly shoots, a freeze hesie has the shooter stationary in the air for 3-seconds, and the 1-2 leg hesie has the shooter elevate higher and higher out of the water using two half scissor kicks.  The shooter masters all the different scissor kicks involved in faking.     By learning the R.B. shot the shooter is learning how to do a hesie.  The R.B. shot is quick, elevates the shooter, uses a short arm cock, a high ball release point and has a quick release.  This is the same motion as a hesie fake.  The R.B. is a quick shot; the leg hesie is a quick fake.

It is necessary for the shooter to be taught quickness so he or she can do a hesie.  The shooter has been taught to be slow: to have a slow pump fake and a slow motion power shot.  In addition, the shooter has been taught to be low in the water when the shooter should be showing the belly button.  A slow moving and low shooter cannot do a hesie.  Slowness and lowness is the result of the player not using his or her legs to kick strongly. Leg hesie training begins with teaching the scissor kick for the R.B. shot and moving into more advanced leg scissor kick movements.  If the shooter cannot do an R.B. shot it is doubtful he or she can master more advanced high-in-the-air hesie shots.  The scissor kick slaps both of the shooter's legs together.  The scissor kick is not the eggbeater kick.  The eggbeater kick is two legs moving in a semi-circular motion.  The scissor kick is usually used as the final kick, the release kick, to shoot the ball.  The scissor kick is in its simplest form a one-time kick.  In advanced forms it is a multiple kick. For example, the R.B. uses a single full scissor kick shot.  And the 1-2 leg hesie is an elevating fake using two half scissor kicks.

The leg hesie uses the legs to fake the ball. The right arm does not fake the ball. There are no fakes or shots that do not use the legs. The legs are the fake. The legs are the shot.  Strong legs make a strong hesie; weak legs make a weak hesie.  Trained legs make a great shooter with a great hesie.  Untrained legs make a poor hesie shooter.  Strong and skillfully positioned legs, called smart legs, is a requirement for the hesie fake.  Smart legs intelligently position the shooter correctly for each hesie fake.  Most shooters at the age group and high school level have dysfunctional legs called "dumb legs," which are weak, inflexible and immobile.

Poor legwork by the shooter results in a bad fake to a bad shot that is easily blocked by the goalie.  No team wants a shooter who cannot fake the goalie out of position and score due to poor legwork and weak legs. The legs of the player must smart, strong, flexible and fluid--able to change to adjust to the ball and adjust to the changing shooting situation.  The hesie faker needs the legs to be fluid in faking so the fake can be changed instantly. The shooter's right arm does not change the hesie--the legs do. All things being equal the shooter with the best hesie scores.  The average shooter with a pump fake does not score.  The hesie scores because the goalie was quickly faked out of position and the ball thrown at the open high corner.   The player cannot get a stronger arm but the hesie fake can be improved.  The aspiring shooter needs to redirect his or her focus from shooting to developing a better fake to score more goals. 

R.B. SHOT     

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

There are gender differences in teaching the R.B. shot to males and females.  For males the R.B. shot is an easy shot to learn but is highly inaccurate.  For women the R.B. is a difficult shot to learn but is an accurate shot.  The R.B. requires the shooter to snap the left leg from a horizontal position to a forward vertical position to leap up and catch and shoot the ball.  Boys with their stronger, shorter and heavier legs have an easier time shooting R.B.'s because their legs glide through the water.  However, a weak male R.B. shooter uses a long arm cock and falls over in the water.  Girls with their longer and more buoyant legs make it more challenging to move the left leg forward.  Once the girls learn the shot, they do not fall over and remain vertical in the water.  The R.B. shot   teaches the scissor kick and quickness.  Both of these elements are necessary to do the hesie (see Figs. 1, 2).

Figure 3

Figure 3

The driver swims several strokes with the head up in the frontcourt, leaps high out of the water using a scissor kick (legs slap together), catches the ball and quickly throws the ball at the high corner of the goal.  The ball trajectory is flat.  The R.B. shot is 20-percent slower or more than a power shot due to the shorter arm cock and quicker arm motion that uses less arm strength.  The R.B. or rear back shot is a difficult shot for both genders but for different reasons. Without the left leg moving forward the R.B. cannot be done.  A horizontal driver with flutter kicking legs cannot do a R.B. shot.  The motion of the left leg forward is called hip flexion.  It is a common leg motion used in walking up stairs, in the high jump or the R.B. shot.  Most boys can do the R.B. shot but do it improperly by falling over and throwing the ball over the cage.  Most girls cannot take an R.B. shot because they have not been trained to use hip flexion.  The hip flexion is part of the R.B. shot and is also part of the hesie (see Fig. 3).

Standard R.B. Shot

  • Snap left leg forward
  • Scissor kick up and shoot

The shooter explodes into the drive at full speed.  The driver converts the swim speed into upward speed and onto the ball.  A slow leap up into the air is a dead shot.  Momentum from the drive is transferred into the body up in the air for the shot.  The R.B. is a momentum shot.  On the last right arm stroke, the shooter lunges forward but lightly touches the water with the hand.  The left leg is snapped forward and the left hand pulls down.  Then both legs scissor kick together and the shooter leaps up in the air.  The ball is caught in the hand.  The ball is not slapped.  There is no faking.  Quick shots and hesie fakes require a shorter motion using a short arm cock, less hip rotation and a shorter leg kick

Back Pedal R.B. Shot

  • Leap Up
  • Left hand sculls backward

The back pedal R.B. shot is a shot where the shooter leaps up, catches the ball, and uses the left hand to scull backward half a meter.  The shot is a medium velocity/medium quickness shot.  It is used to get away from the slougher that is crashing into the shooter or passer.  The back pedal R.B. teaches leg mobility and also how to slough back on defense with the hand up.  The shot is rarely done in a game as the R.B. shooter is usually committed to the shot and is high in the air.  It is a great practice shot and teaches the shooter's legs to move backward.

Right Foot R.B. Shot 

  • Leap up with right foot forward

The R.B. shooter leaps up with the right leg forward and shoots the ball cross-cage to the left high corner or over the goalie's head from the point or the 4-spot (EU 2-spot).   The right foot forward position allows the shooter to shoot cross-cage; a left foot shot is to the right corner or nearside corner.  The shooter comes up into the air square or with the right shoulder slightly forward.  The goalie expects the left foot forward R.B. shot from the point to be a right corner shot.  The shooter's body position is the fake. The right foot R.B. shot is a practice shot that teaches the shooter to use the right leg to set up the shot and for the knee hesie. 


Figure 4

Figure 4

The freeze hesie is a shot that may be an R.B. shot or a power shot. The shooter leaps up in the air, holds the ball high in the air above the shoulder, stays airborne for 3-seconds and shoots at the sinking goalie.  The kick is very short scissor/lower leg eggbeater kicks.  The shot is thrown at the high corner of the goal.  A low corner shot is blocked by the sinking and low-in-the-water goalie.  Before learning the freeze hesie fake the player practices being high out of the water for every pass.  Another drill is to hold the ball high above the head and kick.  Never allow the shooter to use a long arm cock or he or she remains low in the water.   The freeze hesie-to-a-shot is used against age group and high school goalies (see Fig. 4).


  • First scissor kick lifts 75-percent
  • Second scissor kick lifts 25-percent

Figure 5

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 6

The 1-2 leg hesie is an elevating hesie.  The shooter gets higher and higher out of the water with each scissor kick and shoots the ball at the high corner as the goalie sinks.  The shooter's left foot is forward. The ball is held high in the air about the shoulder to enhance elevation.  The first scissor kick begins at the standard stroke length but stops after two-thirds of the leg stroke.  The legs do not slap together. It is also not a breastroke kick. The first kick provides 75-percent of the elevation to a height of 30-inches (76-centimeters). On the second scissor kick the kick is shorter and quicker an about a third of the length of the first kick.  The second kick lifts the shooter up additional 10-inches (25-centimeters) to 40-inches (101-centimeters) above the water.  A third very short scissor kick shoots the ball.  The goalie reacts to the high out-the-water body position of the shooter and jumps up early.  The goalie jumps up on the first kick and is sinking on the second kick.  It is good shot for boys and girls to use during a game (see Figs. 5, 6).


  • Leap up
  • Right leg moves up and down

Figure 7

Figure 7

Figures 8 & 9

Figures 8 and 9

The Garcia hesie pumps the right leg up and down in quick piston-like motions to cause the body to shake and shimmer.  The Garcia hesie is not a scissor kick hesie.  The shooter's left lower leg does an eggbeater kick with the right leg pumping up and down. The ball is held high in the air above the head.  The left hand sculls furiously next to the hip.  The effect of the right leg kick moves the body and right arm for the fake.  The shooter does not swing the right arm back and forth.  The shooter surrenders to the leg motion and lets the legs make the body shake and fake.  The goalie sees the torso and right arm moving and jumps early expecting the ball to be released.  It is a good practice shot for teaching right leg kicking while airborne (see Figs. 7, 8, 9).   


  • Step-out, Step-back
  • Left hand pushes & pulls
  • Right leg moves right & straight back

Figures 10 & 11

Figures 10 and 11

Figure 12

Figure 12

The shooter uses a modified Boyer lateral movement shot that steps-out and steps-back with the right leg (see Shot Doctor Skip Shot Part 3).  The SOP hesie is taken from the 1-spot (EU 5-spot) of the 6-on-5 with the shooter rotating up into the "pocket" (closer to the goal post) with the ball shot at the left corner of the goal.  The Boyer shooter holds the ball high, steps-out laterally with the right leg and then shoots from the push kick (step-back).  The left hand pushes water to the side on the step-out and pulls for the shot.  The left foot points at the left corner to aim the ball.  The push kick is a right leg kick that snaps the leg straight back.  This leg action stops the shooter's body and provides the power to throw the ball forward.  The goalie sees the shooter's lateral movement to the right, moves towards center cage, while the ball is thrown at the left corner.  The body movement in the step-out to the right is the fake (see Fig. 12).


The problem that males have with the R.B. shot is solved by demanding a short arm cock wrist shot to fix the falling over shooting technique.  If the male is weak he is directed to do squats, eggbeater drills, jump-and-touch to the goal's crossbar and medicine ball throws.  For the women strength is not a problem.  Leg technique is the challenge and it is solved by doing tubing drills.  The R.B. training drills also cross-train player for the hesie faking motion.

Tubing Drills

The woman (or man) is taught is snap the left leg forward by doing tubing drills by using a short 1-meter tubing used by the swimmers that is tied to the wall.  The first use of the tubing is to teach explosiveness to the driver by taking four hard freestyle strokes against resistance.  Next the player takes four strokes against the tubing and then snaps the left leg forward. A more advanced drill is to swim four strokes, snap the left foot forward and pick up the ball underneath and lift it up (a partner places the ball in front of the player after the fourth stroke).  After mastering this drill, the player takes four strokes, snaps the left leg forward and leaps up to catch the ball for an R.B.

Medicine Ball Drill

The medicine ball is thrown from the deck to a player in the water to recruit fast twitch muscle fibers to develop explosive legs.  The hesie is an all-out explosive movement to fake the ball.  Without quick legs there cannot be a quick hesie.  A 2-pound rubber medicine ball is used for frosh/soph girls and 4-pound ball for varsity girls. A 4-pound ball is used for frosh/soph boys and 6 or 8-pounds for varsity boys.  The ball is tossed underhand to the player in the water who catches the ball with two hands and immediately throws the ball back to the passer on the deck.  A set is 10 catches.  The drill is 3-4 sets with 30-seconds rest between sets.  The drill is stopped as soon as the leg-tired player's hands slap the water for additional support.  If the drill continues, the next pass hits the catcher in the face.


The shooter understands that the R.B. and hesie fake are based on leg movement.  The best fakers and shooters have legs that are smart, strong, explosive and mobile.  The various scissor kicks create hesies and shots from the R.B. shot, to the freeze hesie to the 1-2 leg hesie.  Different leg positions are used for the Garcia hesie and step-out & push hesie.  Hesies require quickness and leg positioning with the right arm barely involved.  The legs are the fake, with the shooter surrendering to the legs that move the body and the right arm. The intelligent use of the legs enables the shooter to have a hesie fake to use against the goalie in any shooting situation.

Copyright 2009 Jim Solum

Next Month Hesie Fakes Part 3

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


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