Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 2 Number 12 March 1, 2010
The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.


Hesie Fakes Part 5


The Genoa shot and its hesie fakes presents a new kind of shot.  The shooter has a short arm cock arm position with the hand twisted (pronated) to the extreme right with a right leg kick that pushes straight back.  The left foot is cocked inward; the hand pulls down to pull the shooter's body forward.  These four elements make up the "Big Four" that are the throwing basics of the Genoa technique.  The result is a shot that is very quick and accurate shot to the high corner.  Coach Ricardo Azevedo, inventor of the Genoa shot, states that the shot is 3-tenths of a second quicker than the standard shot.  It is a revolutionary shot that changes the way the ball is thrown.

The secret of the Genoa technique is in increasing the body rotation from parts of the body that normally do not rotate.  In previous throwing techniques, the coaches strengthened the legs, arms and the core to create more power for the shot.  Then the coach's attention was focused on improving the throwing technique.  The shooter was vertical, left foot forward/right leg back, did not fall backwards and had the correct arm throwing motion.  The only part of throwing technique that was ignored was how to increase rotation of the body to increase power and quickness.  In the Genoa, technique great power comes from the wrist and foot rotation.

The Genoa throwing technique gets its power from the increased hip/foot and arm/wrist rotation. By the shooter cocking the left foot inward, the left foot freely accelerates and rotates to the left for additional power.  In the standard shot the left foot (and the left hip) is fixed and points at the goal and does not produce any power. Having the right hand cocked to the extreme right increases the amount of wrist and forearm rotation that can be placed on the ball.  The right wrist rotates to the left and then snaps down.  The release uses the dual motions of wrist rotation and flexion. The standard release only uses wrist flexion. The lack of an arm cock fools the goalie into believing a shot is not about to be released.


The Genoa shooter cocks the body by twisting the right wrist to the extreme right, the left hand is positioned in front to pull down, the right leg is positioned in the horizontal and the left foot is cocked inward.  On acceleration, the right wrist twists to the left and snaps down, the left hand pulls down and the right leg kicks straight back as the left foot rotates out to the left.  The cocking stage is shown below (see Fig. 1).

FIgure 1

Figure 1


  • Left foot is cocked to right
  • Left foot snaps to left for shot

FIgure 2

Figure 2

The left foot, and not the right foot, is the power foot in the Genoa shot.  The left foot is pointed inward (internally rotated) so it can rotate fully to the left to create increased foot (and hip) powerWithout cocking the left foot inward there is not enough distance to fully rotate the foot to the left to throw the ball hard. Without the left foot being cocked there is little power in the left leg and hip motion when the body accelerates.  To demonstrate that the hip rotates the foot freeze the hip and try and rotate the foot.  It cannot be done (see Fig. 2).

The old rules of pointing the left foot and holding the foot rigid are no longer used with the Genoa shot. The fixed left foot point freezes the left hip, leg and foot rotation. The Genoa shooter's left foot also does not point at the goal to aim the ball.  The shooter's right leg and left hand are used to aim the ball. The Genoa shot revolutionizes the left foot position in shooting.


  • Right arm above the shoulder
  • Right hand twisted to right and cocked
  • Right hand twists to left and snaps down for release

FIgure 3

Figure 3

The Genoa shot uses a revolutionary short arm cock with the wrist turned inward (pronated).  The short arm cock reduces the length of the arm cock by 12-16-inches and cuts the time to release the ball from the whole body throw by 3-tenths of a second.  The lack of a long arm cock length of 24-inches (center of ball to the ear) cuts the distance traveled by the right arm in half for a quicker arm movement.  The right hand is vertical, pinches the ball and has the hand twisted to the right in a pronated position to increase wrist rotation.  The shot is thrown at the high corner.

The wrist by itself cannot rotate. The wrist depends on muscles in the forearm and elbow to rotate the wrist.  Grab the wrist and try to move it without moving the forearm.  The pronated hand creates a fully cocked arm that uses rotation and flexion to release the ball.  The standard release only snaps the wrist and hand down in flexion (see Fig. 3).


  • Left hand is on surface
  • Left hand pulls down for shot

The left hand pulls down to elevate shooter's body and snaps the torso forward.  The left hand increases the power of the shot. The shooter does not lightly scull the hand on the surface of the water as before.

Without the shooter using the left hand to create additional power, the power loss caused by the short right arm extension cannot be regained.  The shooter must learn to pull down with the left hand to snap the shooter's torso forward as the right leg kicks back (see Fig. 5).


  • Right leg is horizontal and back
  • Right leg kicks back for shot

FIgure 4

Figure 4

FIgure 5

Figure 5

The Genoa shooter is vertical with the right leg straight back slightly bent with the leg near the surface of the water.  The right knee is slightly bent to cock the leg and foot.  The right leg extends back to create power for the kick at the same time as the left hand pulls down. The straight leg push kick is a much quicker kick and more powerful kick than the standard scissor kick.  The scissor kick, on the other hand, has both legs slap together deep underwater.  An added advantage of the push kick is the shooter's right leg pushes the body forward and upward.  The leaning-forward Genoa shooter does not fall backward and applies all his or her power on to the ball (see Figs. 4,5). 


  • Angle right leg at left corner
  • Sweep with wide left hand to right, pull down
  • Left hand aims at goal

The Genoa shooter has a problem when he or she is trying to shoot at the left corner of the goal when positioned above the right goal post.  The standard Genoa shot aligns the shooter with a center cage or right corner shot when the ball is thrown from the point.  The Genoa shooter overcomes this problem by angling the right leg kick at a 30-degree angle with a short left hand sweep to the right.  The angled right leg kick provides about 65-percent of the body rotation to the left. 

The wide left hand sweep of 5-inches (13-centimeters) to the right rotates the shooter's body the rest of distance so the shooter is pointing at the left corner of the goal.  To prevent body over-rotation to the left the left hand pulls down hard after the sweep to stop and "anchor" the body. 


The shooter with the short arm cock uses multiple straight back push kicks and left hand pulls to move forward to advance the ball. This is a new advancing the ball technique.  The shooter leans forward, pulls strongly with the left hand, the right arm is straight up with the hand twisted inward and uses the straight back push kick to propel forward.   The shooter moves from the 8-meter line to the 4-meter line very quickly using the Genoa advancing the ball technique.  Advancing the ball with the older technique requires the player to eggbeater and pump fake the ball forward and backward for a much slower movement.    


The Genoa hesie uses new short arm cock fakes to fake the ball.  Instead of the shooter waving the right arm back and forth the player uses the right leg or both legs to move the body to "shake" the shooter's torso and right arm. The body motion is the fake.  A body motion created by the leg kick.  There are no Genoa "arm" fakes using the pump fake.  The legs are the hesie.  The shooter has to realize that he or she has to use the legs to fake the ball.  The player has to surrender to the leg motion and let the "motion" move the right arm. Let the creativity of the body move the arm.  Previously, the player has been taught that the right arm motion is the fake.  The change from the right arm to the legs is a major paradigm shift.

1-2 Leg Hesie with Push Kick

FIgure 6

Figure 6

The shooter uses a 1-2 leg hesie for the fake and follows with a push kick for the shot.  The 1-2 leg hesie lifts the shooter up high and then higher out of the water.  Once elevated, the shooter changes the right leg position for the push kick and shoots (see Hesie Part 2).  This is a great hesie fake for high school players (see Fig. 6).

2 Breastroke Kicks to a Shot

The shooter uses two breastroke kicks and a push kick and shoots the ball. The breastroke kicks shake the shooter's body and arm.

Breastroke Kick, Full a Scissor Kick

The shooter take one breastroke kick and then a full scissor kick using a very long left hand underwater pull to a shot.  The left hand curves inward or makes an "S" stroke and moves to the hip.

Breastroke Kick with a Push Kick

The shooter uses a breastroke kick and follows with a push kick to a shot. Left hand stops twice. 

Eggbeater with Push Kick

Eggbeater up high out of the water and follow with a push kick to a shot. 

High-Low Hesie

The shooter uses a push kick to get high in the air, glides on left hand without a kick, sculls, restarts the leg kick with a hard push kick and shoots.


The coach uses the four basics to teach the Genoa shot in an hour.  On the deck a throwing demonstration is performed with the player's right arm straight up. hand pronated, the left foot pointed in and the right leg straight back.  The player pushes off with the right foot and moves the right arm forward as if shooting.  In the water, the player does the straight back push kick with a kickboard.  The player holds on to the wall with the left hand, the right arm in the air, and the right foot on the wall.  The player pushes off with the right foot and swings the right arm forward.  The player finishes the drill by shooting at the goal.


  • Balance Ball and Bosu Exercises
  • Medicine Ball Throws
  • Plyometric Sit Ups and Throws
  • Slant Boards, Rocker and Wobble Boards
  • Mini Discs and Slide Boards

FIgure 7

Figure 7

For the Genoa shot and hesies to be successful, the player must have great core (abs/low back) strength and balance.  The use of balance ball and the medicine ball by the water polo player develops balance, core strength, explosiveness, and a functional throwing motion.  It is a total body workout that trains all the muscles and the player's position sense--the nervous system and the brain.  Standard weightlifting works on one muscle, in one direction, at one angle, in isolation from the rest of the body and does not duplicate the throwing motion. In standard weight lifting there is no training of the nervous system or the cerebellum, the balance part of the brain (see Figure 7).  

Medicine ball tosses

The deck the player uses a 5, 10 or 20-pound ball (2, 4.5 or 9-kilos) and throws the ball side to side with a partner to develop hip rotator strength. There are also 2-hand throws over the head and underhand throws that develop the back.  In the water drills, a partner on the deck drill throws an underhand pass to the player 10 times using 4 to 10-pound (2-5-kilos) medicine ball for a two-handed catch.  The weight for the boys is 3-10 pounds (1.3-4.5  kilos) and 2 to 4-pound (1-2 kilos) medicine balls for the girls. Stop passing when the player's hands start slapping the water for support. On the deck, the standing player throws side-to-side tosses for 10 reps and 5 sets.  The player in the water can also move the ball side to side for the same effect. 

Kneeling side-to-side med ball tosses

Kneeling medicine ball throws isolates and strengthens the spinal rotational muscles.  Kneeling med ball throws eliminate the use of player's hip rotator muscles.  Kneeling focuses the exercise on developing the rotary muscles that surround the player's spine. These small muscles are usually not strengthened as the player's standing throws are dominated by the large hip rotator muscles.

Plyometric medicine ball sit ups

The player holds the medicine ball over the head and throws the ball to a partner when the player rises up. The partner hands the ball back to the passer who lowers himself back onto the deck with the medicine ball and repeats the drill.   

Slant Board Throws

The player stands on one leg on a miniature slant board and catches and throws the ball using1-pound to 3-pound (.45 to 1.4 kilos) medicine ball that is thrown back and forth by the player and his or her partner.

Rocker Board or Wobble Board

The athlete stands on an unstable surface such as a rocker board that rocks back and forth or a wooden balance board that is a large circular board with a half wooden ball glued on to the bottom.  The player catches and throws a small medicine ball while standing on this highly unstable and moving rocker or wobble board.  The player starts practicing on the more controllable rocker board.  When he or she masters the rocker board he moves up to the balance board that wobbles. 

Mini Discs 

Mini discs are two small discs that the player stands on to throw and catch small medicine balls.

Plyometric balance ball sit up throw

The athlete lies on a balance ball and throws and catching a 2 or 3-pound (1 to 1 1/2 kilos) medicine ball thrown against the wall.  See Hole Shots Part 1 for a balance ball sit up throw illustration.

Hesie plyometric balance ball sit up throw

This is the rare balance ball/med ball exercise that allows the player to practice dry land hesie fakes and throws.  The player does 75-percent of the balance ball sit up, stops, continues and throws the ball and bounces the ball off the nearby wall and catches it.  To practice a double knee hesie the player does 75-percent of a sit up, lifts the left foot up to pause the arm once and lower it, immediately lifts the right foot up for the second pause and lowers it as he throws the ball against the wall.  It is a lighting fast double leg/double arm motion. 

Standing plyometric medicine ball slam

 has the player stand on a bench or high step, lift the rubber inflated medicine ball over the head and slam it down on the ground using the abdominal muscles and with very little arm motion so the abs are strengthened and not the arms.  The medicine ball is caught on the rebound.  The player uses a 5 or 10-pound (2.2 to 4 kilos) ball and does 5 sets of twenty ball slams.

PVC Pipes

Strong feet and ankles create a strong stable player... The feet are the main propulsion device for the water polo player.  The player stands on two 4-inch (10-centimeres) diameter PVC pipes 24-inches long (60-centimeters)  to strengthen the feet and the ankles.  To do the exercise, the athlete stands on the each PVC pipe with a foot and moves the toes inward and outward while maintaining balance.  Next the water polo player lifts both heels off the pipes while balancing the body.  In the last exercise the player lifts the heel up and bends the knee but keeps the toes contacting the pipe.  The pipes are placed on a rubber mat to prevent excessive rolling.  Go to a hardware store and to buy PVC pipes.

Slide Boards  

Goalies can develop the groin and hip muscles by practicing on an 8 to 10-foot long (2.4 to 3-meters) slide board.  The goalie slides back and forth for 10-minutes strengthening the abductor (hip) and adductor (groin) muscles necessary for lateral movement. 

There are many sources of information on unstable surface training. YouTube.com has videos under balance ball exercises.  A book, ProBodX, by Marv Marinovich and Dr. Edythe Heus, is available from Amazon.com.  Lessons and DVD's are available at sportsciencelab.com by Gavin MacMillan; by Dr. Edythe Heus, chiropractor, at primeblueprint.com; and by Paul Chek at paulchek.com.  For unstable surface training equipment click on the betterperformance.com website.

In conclusion, the Genoa shot and fake represents a new shooting theory and technique.  The Genoa shooter uses a short arm cock with a pronated hand, a cocked left foot pointing inward, a horizontal push leg kick.  There are new hesie fakes using a short arm cock to fake the ball.  Due to the short arm cock the release of the ball is three tenths of a second quicker than the standard shot. This is a simple shot to teach to the players using the four basics.  The Genoa hesies, however, are difficult to learn. Every shooter should add the Genoa shot to his or her list of shots to become the complete shooter.  

Copyright 2010 Jim Solum

Next Month: Radar and the Biomechanics of the Shot


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