Shooting Mechanics for the Lacrosse Player

by Chelsea Ortega, DPT, SCS, CSCS

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Let’s talk shot mechanics! A lacrosse shot is an extremely powerful, rotational movement. It requires head-to-toe strength and stability in order to control the power and momentum that goes into a shot. Very few scientific studies have been conducted looking at the motions of lacrosse as shooting mechanics vary widely during play. In the studies that have been conducted, the lacrosse shot is broken down into 3 phases: crank back, acceleration and follow-through. In higher level lacrosse players, we see peak rotational velocities starting from the pelvis, moving to the trunk and then to the arm. This kinematic sequence allows for maximal force production and higher stick and ball speeds.

Physical therapy can help improve your shooting mechanics and your shooting velocity! Here’s how:

1. Proper Range of Motion throughout the Kinetic Chain

The lacrosse shot requires good range of motion throughout the entire body including shoulders, thoracic spine and hips. A physical therapist can help determine if you’re lacking any motion and address it with specific exercises and manual therapy to help you achieve full mobility. The following 2 exercises are used for improving hip and thoracic range of motion and their deficits.

90/90 Hip Stretch w/ Internal Rotation

Adductor Thread the Needle

2. Rotational Core Strengthening

Power in the lacrosse shot comes from the ability to activate the core and bring the trunk forward and over the hips towards the target. Improving your rotational force will allow you to translate your trunk and arms over your hips more quickly to improve velocity of your overall shot. The following 2 exercises can be used to improve rotational core strength.

Standing Chop

Ball Squeeze Rotations

3. Kinetic Chain Movements and Training

The lacrosse shot involves the entire body, from your feet planted on the ground to your arms bringing your stick through. Strengthening the entire kinetic chain through multidimensional exercises will help translate your strength into the movements required for shooting a lacrosse ball. The next 2 exercises can help improve the coordination of your shot and strength throughout the body.

Rotational Resisted Lacrosse Shot

Lateral Hop to Rotational Resisted Lacrosse Shot

4. Lower Extremity Balance

You must have a solid foundation on your feet in order to pull off a full force shot. This requires balance on both your driving leg and your lead leg. Balance exercises can be sport-specific and can integrate the entire kinetic chain as well. See below.

Single Leg Crossbody Reach

Wall Ball Single Leg Balance

Try these exercises out and let us know what you think! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or to schedule an appointment!

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