Jim Solum
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Jim SocumShot DoctorBandage Ball

Volume 1 Number 6 August 1, 2008

The road to success is not doing one thing 100 percent better, but doing 100 things 0ne percent better.

THE LOB SHOT: PART 1

Lob Shot Introduction

1. Vertical Posture  6. Ball Arc  
2. High Corner Shot  7. Lob Aiming & Left Foot Point
3. Grip  8. Shooting Angle
4. 3-Finger Release  9. Goalie’s Position
5. Ball Spin 10.  Lock and Lob

The lob is an excellent shot that all shooters should use.  The lob shot is a high arching cross-cage shot taken from an angle to the goal that travels over the goalie’s head and into the high corner of the goal.  The lob presents problems for the goalie.  The goalie has to change his or her blocking style and readjust the timing to adjust to a slower moving and high arching ball. Lob shots are taken from a bad angle and are thrown cross-cage.  Power shots are usually thrown at the nearside corner. The goalie plays the odds and sets up for the power shot by overplaying the strongside corner nearest to the shooter (left corner) and leaves the weakside and farside corner wide open (right corner).  The lob shooter, follows the ten lob fundamentals, sees the wide-open goal and scores.

Coaches training a boy’s team or a girl’s team react to lob shooting in different ways. The woman coach encourages her players to lob the goalie.  A woman goalie is easier to lob on because she has shorter arms and cannot cover the entire goal.  Girls take lob shots all of the time and score.  The coach of the boy’s team, however, tries to ban the lob shot. A male goalie that makes a positioning mistake by overplaying one corner of the cage or playing too far out of the cage can be scored on. The male shooter should have the option to take advantage of the goalie that is weak on lobs.

The coach and player must realize two cardinal rules: There are no bad lob shots only bad lobbersThere are no bad angles only bad shooters. Shooters with good technique score; shooters with poor techniques fail no matter what the angle. Bad technique makes a bad shot not the type of shot.  The wild, crazy, out of control shot is the direct result of the coach not teaching the lob so the shooter learns control. A bad lob shooter is also a bad power shooter and passer.  Poor technique manifests itself in all of the shooter’s shots. Do not blame the ball, angle or the type of shot.  Blame the shooter.

1. VERTICAL POSTURE & RELEASE POINT       

  • Vertical
  • Elevate
  • Legs kick high & hard
  • Release point is 30-inchesRelease point is 30-inches

Fig 1

Figure 1

The shooter must be absolutely vertical to throw the lob shot.  If the shooter’s body is not vertical the lob cannot score. The lob shooter elevates high out of the water to raise the center of the hand 30-inches (76-centimeters) above the water for a high release point.  The release point is the spot in the air where the hand releases the ball.  When the lob shooter is vertical, release point high, ball arc at 45-55-degrees, the ball goes into the high corner of the goal every time.   Most shooters have a mistaken belief that a lob is slow, low-effort, horizontal shot with a high arching 75-degree lob.  The inexperienced shooter does not know that it is impossible for a horizontal shooter or for a 75-degree arc lob to score (see Fig. 1).

For the shooter to reach a high release point position the lobber has to use the legs to elevate. The legs are the shot in the power shot.  And the legs are also the power for the lob shot.  The lob shooter kicks high and hard to quickly elevate and fool the goalie into assuming it is a power shot.  The paradox is the shooter’s legs kick up just as hard for the lob as for a power shot.  However, in the lob shot the shooter slows the hips, torso and right arm to dampen the power being transferred from the legs into the arm for a slow-speed shot.  Fast legs and a slow arm is the lob shot.  The lob shot is not slow legs and a slow arm. The shooter needs good body control as the legs move quickly but the arm moves slowly.

2. HIGH CORNER SHOT    

  • 30-inch release point
  • 45-55-degrees ball arc
  • 24-inch lob aiming point
  • 15 MPH ball speed

The lob is a 15 MPH (24 KPH) high corner shot with a high arc that goes over the goalie’s hands into the cage.  The lob shot is not a low corner shot. For the ball to go into the high corner the lobber cannot exceed the 55-degree ball arc limit.  To achieve a 55-degree ball arc the shooter uses a 30-inch (76-centimeters) high release point and a 24-inch (61-centimeters) lob aiming point.  However, the poorly-trained shooter drags the elbow in the water with a 15-inch (38-centimeters) release point with the result that the ball falls in the water in front of the goal.  The shooter’s “Big Four” mechanics create the lob: ball height out of the water, ball arc, and lob aiming point and the left foot point (foot points at the corner). The lob shot is math and mechanics.  The lob is not a “lucky” shot that mysteriously scores (See Fig 1).

3. GRIP     

  • Cradle Grip
  • Angle of Hand
  • Spins on the Ball

Fig 2 Cradle Grip, Fig 3 3-Finger Release, Fig 4 Backspin Rotation

Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4

The 3-finger lob shooter uses the cradle grip to lob the ball with a flat hand.  The cradle grip is the universal hand position used for the lob. The palm is facing up with the fingers curled behind the ball.  The hand slides forward with the hand spinning the ball off the fingertips for a graceful and accurate lob.  There are a number of poor releases that reduce the chances of the lob scoring. When the shooter’s fingertips do not place spin on the lobbed ball it becomes a no-spin ball with a low arc.  Fingertips that barely place spin on the ball produce a lob with a slow ball rotation and a low arc.  In addition, a shooter pinching the ball with a vertical hand cannot put arc on the 3-finger lob due to the lack of a hand angle.  The shooter’s hand should be angled back so that arc can be placed on the ball (see Fig. 2).

4. 3-FINGER RELEASE 

  • Fingertips
  • Middle 3 middle fingers make final contact
  • Cradle grip with horizontal hand

The 3-finger release is the standard release that all players use when first learning how to throw a lob.  The ball is released from the hand with the middle three fingers, the index, middle and ring finger, making final contact with the ball.  The 3-finger release creates a lot of ball spin which causes the ball lift up in the air with a high ball arc (see Fig. 3).   

5. BALL SPIN  

  • Backspin, Medium to fast ball rotation
  • Fingertip touch controls ball spin
  • Male: less force/less spin
  • Female: more force/more spin

The lob shot requires a backspin on the ball with the ball rotating backward.  The shooter places spin on the ball by sliding the fingertips against the surface of the ball.  The more force used by the shooter the greater the spin. Men have longer fingers and 50-percent more arm strength and easily place spin on the ball.  The problem with the male shooter is he uses too much force on the ball and the ball flies over the top of the goal.  The woman lob shooter has shorter fingers and less arm strength and does not place enough spin on the ball and as a result the lob hits the water in front of the goal (see Fig. 4). 

6. BALL ARC 

  • 45-55-degree ball arc scores
  • 75-degree lob goes over cage
  • 30-degree lob is blocked
Fig 5 55' Ball Arc Fig 6 25' Ball Arc

Figure 5

Figure 6

The lobbed ball released from a 3-finger release has an arc (upward curve) of 45-degrees to 55-degrees.  A lob that is greater than 55-degree arc goes over the goal.  A 3-finger lob with less than 45-degrees may not go into the high corner and is often blocked. The lob shot requires the shooter to place a perfect arc on the ball, not too much ball arc and not too little.  The ball arc is controlled by the amount of ball spin the shooter places on the ball.  Too much ball spin and the ball will rise in a 75-degree ball arc and go over the goal.  When there is not enough ball spin, such as a 25-degree ball arc, the ball hits the goalie’s arms located at the middle of the cage.  The shooter has to develop touch on the ball to place the correct amount of spin and arc on the ball for a high corner score (see Figs. 5, 6).

7. LOB AIMING POINT & LEFT FOOT POINT

  • Aim 24-inches above crossbar—ball scores
  • Aim at high corner—ball hits water
  • Aim at mid cage—ball hits water
  • Left foot points at the corner

Fig 7

Figure 7

Fig 8

Figure 8

Fig 9

Figure 9

The lob aiming point is a spot above the goal that is used by the shooter to aim the lob.  It is the same concept as a power shot’s zero aiming point that aims the ball at the high corner of the goal.  Without a lob aiming point to aim the ball the lob cannot score.  The lobbed ball has a curved trajectory compared to the power shot’s flat trajectory (ball flight).  The lobbed ball raises 2-feet in the air and then drops 2-feet (61-centimeters). The lob shooter takes into consideration the ball’s drop when aiming the ball.  For example, the lob aiming point is 24-inches (61-centimeters) above the crossbar which allows for the ball to drop the ball 2-feet and fall into the high corner.   The last part of the lob is direction. When the lob is wide of the goal or hits the middle of the cage the shooter’s left foot was not pointing at the corner.  The left foot aims the ball at the corner and the lob aiming controls the height of the lob.  Both aiming points are necessary parts of the lob. If the ball hits the middle of the cage the shooter moves the left foot 12-inches so it points at the right corner.  The right hand does not aim the ball; the left foot does (see Figs. 7, 8, 9).

                                                                         
The difference between the lob scoring in the high corner and the lob hitting the water in front of the goal is the height of the lob aiming point.  A common mistake for the shooter who does not understand a curved ball trajectory is to use the power shot’s high corner spot in the goal instead of the much higher placed lob aiming point.  To help the shooter visualize the aiming point tape a long stick with a flag on it and place it on the crossbar or a 10-gallon plastic bucket. The coach can also place his or her fist 24-inches above the crossbar as an aiming point

8. SHOOTING SPOTS   

Shooting    Spot/Angle    Percentage    Goalie Positioning
1-spot (Euro-5) Low  % Goalie  Left Post
1.5 spot (Euro-5.5) High  % Goalie  Near Left Post
2-spot (Euro-4) High  % Goalie  Near Left Post
3-spot (Euro-3) No shot  Goalie  Center Cage
4-spot (Euro-2) Medium % Goalie  Near Right Post
5-spot (Euro-1) No shot Goalie  Right Post

Fig 10

Figure 10

The various spots and angles in the pool create a higher or lower percentage chance of scoring.  The table above describes the angles.  The best shots are taken from an angle from the left wing: the 1.5-spot, 2-spot (Euro-4) with the 1-spot (Euro-5) a distant third. The 3-spot (Euro-3) and the 5-spot (Euro-1) are not lob shots.  The 4-spot (Euro-2) for the average righthanded shooter in the right wing is not an accurate lob shot.  For a highly skilled shooter, however, a right wing-to-left corner lob scores (see Fig. 10). 

9. GOALIE POSITION  

  • Strongside: Corner closest to the ball and the goalie
  • Weakside: Corner away from the ball and the goalie

Fig 11

Figure 11

Fig 12

Figure 12
Fig. 11 Goalie overplays strongside left corner; lob weakside right corner
Fig. 12  Goalie overplays weakside right corner; power shot strongside left corner

The goalie’s position in the cage is determined by the left wing shooter’s bad angle to the goal.  The goalie automatically sets up on the strongside angle and jams the nearside left goal post and leaves the right corner open. The open shot is the weakside shot to the farside right corner.  The shooter must “read” the goalie’s positioning and lob cross-cage.  Most shooters blindly “just throw the ball” without analyzing the goalie’s positioning in the goal and hit the goalie’s stomach in the left corner (see Figs. 11, 12)

10. LOCK & LOB 

  • Lock the goalie on the strongside corner
  • Lob the ball at the opposite weakside corner

The left wing shooter sets up the goalie to overplay the strongside left corner with a pump fake and “locks” the goalie onto the goal post.  When the shooter fakes at the strongside corner, the goalie covers the left corner to block the apparent power shot.  The goalie believes: “No shooter ever fakes the ball when he or she is going to lob the ball.”  The goalie is wrong and the ball is lobbed cross-cage at the weakside corner.  To assist in changing directions after a hard half pump fake with a pinch grip the shooter moves the left foot from pointing the left foot at the left corner to pointing at the right corner (see Articles: Shot Doctor: Fundamentals of the Water Polo Shot).  Where ever the left foot points the ball follows.  In addition, the lob shooter can fake with the left foot pointing at the left corner and then step-out with the right leg and shoot at the right corner of the goal (see Articles: Skip Shot Part 3).

THROWING PROBLEMS   

The lob shooter has three problems: ball goes over the goal, ball hits the water in front of the goal or the goalie blocks the shot.  To correct the too high lob or too low corner lob the shooter uses a 2-foot (61-centimeters) high lob aiming point.  To prevent goalie from blocking the ball the shooter does not telegraph the shot to the goalie.  The shooter is not low or horizontal in the water, does not have a slow body motion and is not “looking to lob” at the goalie.

Problems Fix
1. Lob hits high/low corner      Use a 2-foot lob aiming point
2. Goalie blocks my lobs Lock & lob, high release point, 55’ lob, correct angle, move quickly
3. Lob has 75-degree arc Don’t lie on back, be vertical, elevate, legs kick high & hard
4. Every lob is different Use same aiming point, release point, ball spin and arc
5. Ball has no spin Fingertips need to spin the ball harder
6. Too much spin/speed  Less fingertip spin on ball, less arm power for a slower ball speed

In concluding, the lob shooter is on a good angle, has perfect posture, high release point, places the correct spin, arc, and force on the ball, locks the goalie with a fake to the goal post, uses a lob aiming point and takes a great lob shot.  The shooter is aware there are no bad lobs and shooting angles, there are only bad shooters with bad technique.  The lob is an accurate shot in the hands of a well-trained shooter.

THE LOB SHOT: PART 2

2-Finger Lob Shot
Middle Finger Lob Shot
Middle Finger Off Speed Shot 

Last month we covered the use of the 3-finger release lob which is the standard lob used throughout the world.  Today in Part 2 we cover the 2-finger lob, 1-finger lob and the middle finger off speed shot.  The 2-finger and 1-finger lobs are considered intermediate to advanced lobs.  The 2-finger lob uses the same release as was used for the 2-finger power shot and the 2-finger skip shot with the index and middle fingers snapping down to release the ball.  The 1-finger release is used for the middle finger lob and the off speed shot.  The complete shooter is able to use any one of the three lob shots depending on the situation.

Figure 1

The middle finger and 2-finger lobs are different lobs than the 3-finger lob.  These advanced lobs have a different ball spin, speed, arc and lob aiming point than the 3-finger lob due to way the fingers or finger release the ball.  The 2-finger and middle finger lobs require greater touch on the ball, a quick fake and   rapid body movement to score.  The middle finger off speed shot uses the same release as the middle finger lob but throws the ball at the half speed with a flat ball trajectory (see Fig. 1).

2-FINGER LOB       

  • 2-Finger release with pinch grip
  • 30-degree ball arc
  • Lob aiming point 12” above crossbar

Figure 2

The shooter follows the ten lob fundamentals of vertical posture, high corner shot, high release point, ball arc, lob aiming point, shooting angle, goalie positioning, and the lock and lob technique of setting up the goalie but modifies the release and the height of the lob aiming point. At no time is the lob shooter low in the water, square-to-the goal or drops the elbow. The difference between the 2-finger lob and 3-finger lob is one less finger is used for the release and the body speed is increased. The 2-finger lob is a quick arm and body motion lob shot that duplicates the body speed of the power shot.  The goalie sees the elevation and quickness of the shooter’s body and immediately jumps up to cover the nearside (strongside) corner of the goal to block the power shot.  However, the shooter is not taking a power shot to the closest corner but lobs the ball to the farside (weakside) corner of the goal to score on the out of position goalie.  The shooter changes from the left foot pointing at the left corner and swings the left leg to point the left foot at the right corner to lob.  Another technique is to step-out with the right leg and lob (see Fig. 2).

The major difference between the 2-finger lobber and the 3-finger lobber is the 2-finger lob shooter moves the goalie out of position to the left by a quick body motion and fake.  The 2-finger lobber’s hard faking motion makes the right corner of the goal open.  The 2-finger lob is a slower speed lob with less arc so it is critical that the shooter sets up the goalie with one hard half pump fake using the lock and lob technique to “glue” the goalie on the left goal post.  The 2-finger lob is an “action lob” that emphasizes quickness and movement.  It is the lob shooter’s quick body motion, not the lob ball arc that opens up the corner and pulls the goalie to the left goal post for the right corner score.  The 2-finger finger’s 30-degree ball arc does not destroy the timing of the goalie’s leap.  The 3-finger lob, on the other hand, does not move the goalie and uses the high arc of the lob to score over the goalie’s head and while disrupting the goaltender’s timing.

Figure 3

The technique the shooter uses for the 2-finger lob is to be vertical, elevate, have a medium arm cock, a quick body motion, point the left foot at the corner, with the middle two fingers making final contact with the ball and aim the ball at a 12-inch (30-centimeters) high lob aiming point above the crossbar. The 2-finger release is much different than the 3-finger release.  In the 2-finger release the ball is pinched, the hand almost vertical, with the index finger and middle finger together and in the center of the ball.  The release is the same as the 2-finger skip shot.   The danger of the 2-finger lob is the two fingertips must place more spin on the ball to make up for the lack of a third “spin” finger.  Men place too much spin on the ball and need to reduce the force and ball spin to lower the height of the lob.  For women it is the opposite situation.  Women need to apply more force on the fingertips to create more ball spin and a higher ball arc so the ball can rise up higher and then sharply drop into the high corner.  The higher lob ball arc prevents the ball from bouncing off the crossbar (Fig. 3).

MIDDLE FINGER LOB     

  • Middle finger release with pinch grip
  • 15-20-degree ball arc
  • Lob aiming point 6-inches above crossbar

Figure 4

The middle finger lob is a very accurate low arc lob that uses one finger to lob the ball.  The middle finger lob only uses the wrist and the middle finger to snap down on the ball with the water polo ball jabbed off the fingertip for a no-spin ball.  The ball is not spun off the fingertips as is done in the 2-finger and 3-finger lobs.  The fingertip jab creates a lob with a 15-20-degree ball arc and a slower ball speed of 10-15 MPH (16-24 KPH).  The lob aiming point for the middle finger lob is 6-inches above the crossbar due to its a lower ball arc.  The combination of a slower ball velocity, a non-rotating ball with a small ball arc makes the middle finger lob a very controllable shot for the shooter. The 3-finger lob, for comparison, has a greater ball speed, faster ball spin and a higher ball arc of 55-degrees; all factors that decrease the accuracy of the lob for the shooter (see Fig. 4). 

The throwing technique for the middle finger lob shooter divides into two parts: a power shooting throwing motion and a middle finger release.  The body technique requires the shooter to point the left foot at the corner, kick up hard with the legs, elevate with a vertical back, have a high release point of 30-inches (76-centimeters) a hard half pump fake with a pinch grip and use a medium length arm cock of 12-inches (30-centimeters).  The arm cock length is measured from the shooter’s ear to the center of the ball.  The elbow does not drop on the middle finger lob. A right leg step-out is used to move the shooter’s body sideways so the ball can be thrown at the farside right corner.

Figure 5

Second part of the middle finger lob technique is the unique middle fingertip jab motion. On previous shots, the shooter’s fingertips slid on the ball to make the ball spin. To create a no-spin lob, the middle finger snaps down hard and the middle fingertip jabs straight at the ball.     The shooter checks the quality of the middle finger release by looking to see if the lobbed ball has any spin.  There should be no ball spin.  The jab release takes the shooter several weeks to learn before the ball is released without ball spin (see Fig. 5). 

The middle finger lob is not thrown with the shooter using a horizontal cradle grip, lying on the back, a 75-degree ball arc, a slow-motion body throwing motion or a soft wrist snap.  The shooter must have a vertical back and a high elbow for the low arc ball to hit the high corner of the goal.  If the shooter drags the elbow in the water with a 15-inch (38-centimeters) release point the 15-20-degree lob hits the water and is blocked.

Middle Finger Lob Drills

The standard middle finger lob shot takes six months to learn.  There is a quick middle finger on/index finger off the ball technique that only takes two weeks to learn.  The shooter pinches the ball with an almost vertical hand and lifts the index finger off the ball and jabs the ball with the middle finger.  This focuses all of the shooter’s attention on the middle finger so the middle finger snap can be learned.  The danger of this “easy” technique is it ruins shooter’s future multi-finger hand positioning on the ball.  The index finger off the ball technique never trains the shooter to have all of the fingers on the ball for shooting a lob.  If the shooting situation changes to require a 3-finger release or a 2-finger release the shooter with the index finger in the air cannot change to a better shot.  Once the index finger off the ball technique is mastered, the player permanently switches to an all-fingers-on-the-ball hand position.

MIDDLE FINGER OFF SPEED SHOT

  • Hard middle finger release with a pinch grip
  • Strong half pump fake with hard release
  • Off speed aiming point is the high corner

Figures 6 & 7

The middle finger off speed shot uses the same body posture and middle finger release as the lob but has the ball travel at half speed and with a flat trajectory.  The ball travels at 20 MPH instead of 40 MPH (32 KPH versus 64 KPH) without any lob arc. The off speed shot has a fast body motion and a quick release with a slow ball speed.  In the first situation in the pictures above, the off speed shot scores because it upsets the timing of the goalie that jumps up early expecting a high speed shot.  The shooter has a convincing fake, commits the goalie early, and the ball is shot over the goalie’s head. The goalie jumps up to block a 40 MPH shot and is sinking in the water when the slow moving ball reaches the goal a tenth of a second later and goes over the goalie’s head (see Figs. 6, 7).

Figures 8 & 9

In the second shooting situation in the pictures above, the angled shooter (left foot forward/right leg back) shooter points the left foot and left shoulder at the center of the cage to deceive the goalie and fakes.   The goalie is “locked” at center cage by the belief that wherever the shooter’s left shoulder points the ball follows.  The goalie jumps up with strong legs and stays up in the air to block the apparent “head shot.” The goalie’s hands are in the air and he has no lateral movement; the shooter steps-out to the right and shoots.  The shooter’s body changes from an angled position with a sharp left shoulder point to a square-to-the-goal position with both shoulders parallel to the cage (see Figs. 8, 9).

The shooter needs to follow several rules.  The off speed shot is never thrown at the low corner of the goal because the goalie’s hands are in the water for an easy block.  And it is also not a cross-cage shot.  The ball is shot above the goalie’s head or to the right high corner from the point.  The off speed jab motion is the same one as used with the middle finger lob but with the hand vertical and with more force applied.  The shooter’s vertical hand creates the flat ball trajectory. A harder wrist snap increases the ball speed up to 20 MPH from 10-15 MPH.  The aiming point for the off speed shot is the high corner of the goal.  A right leg step-out is used to move the shooter’s body laterally so the ball can be thrown at the right corner (see Articles: The Shot Doctor Part 3).

The major throwing mistake made by the off speed shooter is not snapping the wrist and middle finger down hard onthe ball.  The shooter wrongly assumes that by mildly snapping the wrist 6-inches and weakly snapping middle finger 1½-inches a 20 MPH (32 KMP) shot is produced.  It is not. Instead a weak 10 MPH (16 KMP) shot is thrown that falls far short of the goal. The middle finger lob requires a hard snap to produce the power for a 20 MPH shot because almost all of the power is coming from the wrist and one finger–a weak arm, strong wrist technique.  The off speed shot uses the same hard wrist snap as the power shot.  For comparison, the power for the 2-finger and 3-finger lob is produced in right arm with the wrist and fingers only used to place spin on the ball–a strong arm, weak wrist technique.

Off Speed Drills

The player tosses the ball back and forth between the hands using the middle finger snap to develop finger dexterity as a homework drill.  The ball drill is expanded to include all of the shooter’s fingers.  In passing practice, the player practices throwing the off speed shot as a flat non-spinning pass to a partner. When shooting, the shooter perfects the fake to get the goalie to commit and jump early.  A weak fake results in a block of the off speed shot.

THROWING PROBLEMS  

Problem   Fix  
2-finger lob little spin    Fingertips place more spin on the ball, don’t drop elbow 
2-Finger low arc  Not enough ball spin, angle the hand for higher arc, elbow high 
2-Finger ball hits crossbar Move up lob aiming point to 12-inches
1-finger lob short  Hard snap of the wrist and middle finger, don’t drop elbow  
1-finger lob has no arc Angle the hand
1-finger off speed shot is short  Quick body motion with hard wrist/middle finger snap

In concluding, the 2-finger lob is an intermediate lob and the middle finger lob is an advanced lob.  The shooter uses the 2-finger lob and the middle finger lob to score on the goalie using a simulated power throwing motion that forces the goalie to commit to the nearside corner and jump early.  The 2-finger lob uses a 30-degree arc with a 12-inch (30-centimeter) lob aiming point.  The middle finger lob jabs at the ball for a no-spin ball with a lower ball arc and a crossbar or a 6-inch high (15-centimeter) lob aiming point.  The middle finger off speed shot tricks the goalie into jumping early for the apparent 40 MPH (64 KPH) power shot that arrives much later at 20 MPH (32 KPH).  The use of the 2-finger lob, middle finger lob and middle finger off speed shot creates a complete shooter that can score in any shooting situation.

THE LOB SHOT: PART 3

Figure 0

CURVE LOB
SQUEEZE LOB
POWER LOB
FIVE-METER LOB
SLOW-FAST HESIE

The lob shooter has mastered the 3-finger lob, 2-finger lob and the middle finger lob shots.  This month’s article covers a variety of lobs with different releases: the curve lob, squeeze lob, power lob, the 5-meter foul lob shot and the slow-fast hesie shot.  Each one of these shots is used in a specific shooting situation with a different release, a different ball spin and a different ball arc.  For example, a curve lob is a shot that rises up and curves inward toward the goal.  The squeeze lob is a short lob over the goalie’s head by the 2-meter player.  The power lob is a combination of a power shot and a lob.  The 5-meter foul lob shot is a lighting fast body movement that becomes a slow moving lob shot.  And its opposite, the slow-fast hesie shot is a lob that turns into a power shot.  The modern shooter now has an arsenal of lob shots to use on the unsuspecting goalie that is expecting a standard 3-finger 55-degree arc lob.

1. CURVE LOB

  • Pinch ball
  • Hand on side of ball
  • Lob aiming point: 24” above crossbar, 24” in front of post

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figures 1 & 2

Figure3, 4, and 5

Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5

When the shooter is at an extreme angle to the goal the only possible lob that can score is a curve lob.There are five types of curve lobs: hand-on-side curve, index/middle finger curve, middle finger curve, thumb/index finger curve and right wing hand-on-side curve lob.  The spin on a curve lob is a slow diagonal ball spin.  A diagonal ball spin curves the ball into the goal and makes up for the shooter’s bad angle to the goal.  The middle finger lob is used as a back up shot for lobbing from the right wing.   The curve lob tests the mastery of the shooter’s hand to put touch on the ball.  Unless otherwise described these shots are left wing shots by a righthanded shooter.

Hand-on-side curve lob has the shooter’s hand on the side of the ball with a pinch grip.  The ball is released with reduced movement of the right hand called a “locked wrist release.”  Fingertip pressure is equal for all five fingers (see five blue finger nails). The ball rotation is slow.  A slow ball rotation causes the air to curve the ball curve inward.  A hand-on-the-side fast spinning curve lob cannot be done.  The lob aiming point for the curve lob is different than the backspin lob. The curve aiming point for all curve lobs is 24-inches (61-centimeters) above the crossbar and 24-inches in front of the goal post to take into consideration the curve of the ball (see Fig. 3).

Index/middle finger curve lob has the hand behind the ball and uses the index and middle fingers as two fingers to curve the curve the ball.  These two fingers slide down across the face of the ball pressing down hard to place a “slice” on the ball to curve it (see two blue finger nails).  The other three fingers slide on the ball using very little fingertip pressure.  The ball curves with a diagonal spin (see Fig. 4).

Middle finger curve lob is for a player with large hands.  The ball is pinched with the hand on top of the ball.  The shooter’s middle finger is the dominant finger and applies all of the fingertip pressure on the ball with the other four fingers sliding (see one blue finger nail).  The middle finger slides (slices) diagonally across the face of the ball to produce a diagonal spinning curve lob (see Fig. 5).

Thumb/index curve lob uses the thumb and the index finger to curve the ball.  The index and middle finger hold the ball with firmness similar to a football grip.  The thumb and index finger apply all of the fingertip pressure on the ball with the other three fingers sliding to create a curved ball with diagonal spin.

Right wing hand-on-side curve lob positions the hand offset to the right of the center of the ball with the thumb down on the side of the ball.  As the ball is about to be released the hand slides to the left to help curve the ball.  The shooter’s whole hand releases the ball or the index/middle fingers can be used to dominate the release.  It is a difficult lob to control and is rarely used.

Right wing middle finger lob is used when the shooter has not mastered the curve lob and needs a right wing lob. The middle finger lob is an extremely accurate lob shot if the angle to the goal is not too narrow.

2. SQUEEZE LOB 

  • Pinch ball, palm up, squeeze fingers together
  • Thumb rubs across the back of ball
  • Lob aiming point: 24-inches

Figure 6

Figure 6

The squeeze lob is a too-close-to-the-goal shot taken by the 2-meter player.  The 2-meter player turns to face the goal on the 2-meter line and sees that the guard’s outstretched arm and the goalie’s hands high in the air.  There is no space for a power shot to score with both of the defenders hands blocking the path of the ball.  The shooter is too close to the goal for the standard lob. The only possible shot is a short 1-meter squeeze lob over the guard and the goalie’s hands (see Fig. 6).

Figure 7

Figure 7

The 2-meter player on the 2-meter line and the one-on-nobody counterattacker that is too close to the goal should use the squeeze lob to score.  It is a no arm cock all-wrist lob with the arm straight up.  The shooter pinches the ball in the hand tightly as the shooter’s thumb moves across the back of the ball to the right as the fingers squeeze together on the ball to release it.  The thumb’s movement across the back of the ball makes a rubbery sound.  The squeeze lob’s aiming point is 24-inches (61-centimeters) above the crossbar though the shooter is focused on getting enough height on the ball.  The ball with enough height automatically goes straight up and over the goalie’s hands and into the high corner of the goal.  The ball has a very slow diagonal spin or no ball spin at all.  Do not drop the elbow and try to shot put the ball.  The shot put ball does not have enough height to score.  Another variation on the squeeze lob is to use a football grip with a topspin release (hand on top, fingers point in and slide forward) for a topspinning lob (see Fig. 7). 

3. POWER LOB 

  • Football grip with thumb pushing up for lift
  • Index/middle fingers push down to drop ball
  • Lob aiming point: high corner

Figure 8

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 9

The power lob is a low arc lob-like curve with a high ball speed.   The shot is a cross between a lob and a power shot.  The power lob looks like a high-speed power shot but one that arches upward and drops like a lob.  The goalie jumps up quickly because of the high ball speed (power shot) and is sinking as the high arching ball (lob) hits the high corner of the goal.  The shooting technique is the same as the topspin skip shot technique but with a modified topspin release called the thumb + 2 that emphasizes thumb and index/middle fingertip pressure on the ball (see Fig. 8).

The technique for throwing a power lob is to use a football grip, an extra long arm extension, 75-percent throwing force, and the thumb + 2 release.  It is a hard-thrown high-speed ball with a lob arc of 30-degreesThe arm accelerates quickly, the football grip places a fast topspin on the ball with the hand using a thumb + 2 release for a ball speed up to 30 MPH (48 KPH).  The normal speed for a lob is 15 MPH (24 KPH).  The lob aiming point for the power lob is the high corner as the ball quickly rises and falls down into a level trajectory and continues in a straight line to the goal (see Articles: The Shot Doctor: Skip Shot 2). 

The high speed of the power lob shot is curbed by the ball’s 30-degree ball arc. The new topspin thumb + 2 release uses two separate fingertip pushing actions (see black and red arrows).  The ball’s upward arc is caused by the shooter’s thumb pushing up on the ball.  At the same time during the release the index and middle fingers are pushing down for a downward arc.  The thumb creates the up; the fingers the down.  The combination of the two finger groups creates a ball arc on the high-speed 30 MPH (48 KPH) shot for men.  The power lob for women is a 22 MPH (37 KPH) shot (see Fig. 9).  

4. FIVE METER LOB    

  • Backspin ball rolls back to shooter as legs kick up into foul
  • Spin 180-degrees with hand on side of ball
  • Lunge to left and lob the ball
  • Lob aiming point: 24-inches

Figure 10 and 11

Figures 10 and 11

Figure 12 and 13

Figures 12 and 13

The 5-meter foul shot lob is a deceptive shot where the goalie expects a quick shot and jumps up to block the power shot and sinks as the lob sails into the goal.  The shooter moves to the 5-meter line and sets up the foul by forcing the guard to foul.  The shooter prepares for the hard foul by kicking up into the guard’s foul (do not sink underwater), with the right leg forward and the left leg back, reaching out with the right hand and dragging the hand over the top of the ball so the ball rolls backward.  The shooter absorbs the force of the foul by bending the torso but keeping the legs churning.  The ball rolls back to the hand for a quick pick up, the shooter spins to face the goal, lunges to the left and throws a hand-on-side lob (see Figs. 10, 11).

The foul shooter lunges to the left to delay the shot and slowly moves the right arm forward to lob the ball.  Some shooters change the technique slightly and swing the left arm wide to the side, lunge left and lob. Whatever technique that is used, the 5-meter lob foul shot must be a continuous motion and without delay or an offensive foul is called (see Figs. 12, 13). 

There are several ball handling mistakes that a fouled player can make.  When the player squeezes the ball the ball is pushed away.  If the player does not kick up hard, the ball goes underwater with the player for a ball-under foul.  Pushing the ball down in the water only causes the ball to bounce up and down in the water in one place as the 2-meter player is pulled back a meter. Putting a backspin on the ball without dragging the hand over the ball causes the ball to spin in one place.  Players should practice hard fouls with a partner to perfect the ball rolling technique

5. SLOW-FAST HESIE

  • Right arm slowly moves towards the shoulder
  • Arm stops above the shoulder
  • Left hand pushes water forward to spin body
  • Player spins, points left foot and shoots

Figure 14 and 15

Figures 14 and 15

Figure 16 and 17

Figures 16 and 17

The shooter’s technique has four stages: a slow right arm, right arm stop, a left hand push & spin, and a left foot point indicated by red arrows.  The shooter slowly moves the right arm towards the shoulder using a long arm cock with the left foot pointed at the right corner.  The slowness of the shooter’s arm motion duplicates the slow arm movement of a lob (Fig. 14).  The right arm slowly moves until the ball is directly above the shoulder and pauses (Fig. 15).  This is the signal for the third stage of the shot: the left hand pushes water forward to spin the shooter’s body to face the left corner (Fig. 16).  The shooter’s left foot moves and points at the left corner, the left hand pulls down and the ball is shot at the left corner of the goal (Fig. 17).

The slow-fast hesie shot is a two-speed shot that begins slow and ends quickly.  It is the opposite of the previously described 5-meter foul lob shot that begins as a fast motion and ends as a slow speed shot. The slow-fast hesie shot appears to be a slow motion lob that turns into a high-speed power shot or skip shot.  The shooter’s slow moving arm appears to be about to throw the ball at the right corner and the goalie moves to toward the right corner and waits for the lob, only to discover ball skipping into the left corner of the goal.   The shooter’s arm accelerates from a slow lob-like motion into a fast arm power shot motion in a tenth of a second.  The shooter’s slow arm motion is in fact a fake that deceives the goalie.  No slow-mo equals = no goal for the shooter.  Without the lob part of the throwing motion to pull the goalie toward the right corner and away from the left corner, the power shot is blocked.

The success of the shot is based on drills that teach the shooter’s to control his or her arm movement.  The shooter is drilled to patiently wait for the arm to reach the shoulder by practicing throwing lobs and changing it up every third shot with a slow-fast hesie shot.  Another drill that teaches the body motion is the 180-degree slam dunk drill.  The shooter starts with the hand on top of the ball, kicks up hard, lifts the ball straight up, locks the elbow, spins 180-degrees and slams the ball down in the water.

THROWING PROBLEMS

Problem   Fix
No curve on curve lob Hand behind the ball instead of to the side, to much spin and speed
No height on squeeze lob Rub the thumb against the back of the ball for lift, palm up
Power lob does not drop Use less thumb and more index/middle finger pressure
Offensive foul called  Ball must roll back, do not sink, look back at the goalie,  
on 5-meter foul shot fake, or pause when shooting
Slow-fast lob arm motion     1.) Shooter’s arm moves slowly and stops above shoulder  
2.) Left hand pushes right, body spins, right arm speeds up

 
In conclusion, the lob shooter has a number of lobs that he or she uses against the goalie.  The shooter selects the correct lob for the shooting situation and scores on the goalie that is overplaying one side of the goal.  The goalie assumes that there is only one type of lob, the 3-finger lob and is out of position to block other types of lobs.  The shooter knows there are no bad angles or bad types of lobs.  For every angle and distance from the goal, the shooter has a lob to match the situation.  The shooter knows it is his or her skill, not the angle, that determines whether the ball scores.

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