Alligator Arms When Shooting

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Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby trailrunners on Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:18 am

I have a player that has played lacrosse for a couple years now and does pretty well (he is a freshman). I'd like to try to help break him of the habit of dropping his hands and bringing them in tight to his body (Alligator Arms) through his overhand shot. I think this is a very extreme case and he almost can't visualize the correct form or copy it no matter how many times we work on it. It's almost an ingrained habit right now that might be hard to break. He's had some success playing like this, but the form is way off.

He knows he does this, so he starts his shot with his hands high and away from his body, thinking he's keeping his hands up and away, but then as he pulls through, drops his hands down and tight, not keeping them up. Would it possibly be better to start the shot lower and then come up through the shot? Or at lease not over-exaggerate the up and away motion when starting the shot.

I'm going to try the 2 goal drill with him - shooting over one goal into a goal beyond to try to get his hands up on his overhand shot.

Are there any other drills that coaches use to break kids that shoot with alligator arms in tight to their body? Any good drills you could suggest would be greatly appreciated.

The sad thing is, he worked on shooting a lot on his own and didn't have anyone watching closely when he was getting started so that bad form became habit for him.

Finally, if he shoots pretty hard and accurately like this, how important is it for him to try to break this habit and develop proper form? I think it would be important because he could then shoot even harder and possibly improve his chances of scoring. It's also possible that if he attends camps with college coaches present they might discount him entirely based on his poor/weird shooting form even though he may excel in other areas.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby laxcoach1558 on Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:49 pm

It matters.
To fix it deconstruct the motion. Highlight maintaining space between the chest and the handle, keeping bottom arm with good bend and keeping the stick head in proper position. This is more effective than saying "Don't have alligator arms."
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Re: Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby FSCLax on Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:32 pm

Check the pocket of his stick. Sometimes players who have shallow pockets develop "alligator arms" because they feel like they can maintain better control of the ball in their stick if they make a more gentle throwing motion. Give him a stick which has more whip/hold (or at least a deeper pocket) and then repeat the same instruction you've been giving him.

Perhaps the most popular drill to combat this is making a player shoot over the top of one cage into another. The utility of this drill is often determined by the height of the player (little guys can't get it over the net no matter how high they reach.) But nothing is going to work if he doesn't feel confident that he can control the ball with his arms extended.

Let us know if you have any luck.
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Re: Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby youthathletics on Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:13 am

laxcoach1558 wrote:It matters.
To fix it deconstruct the motion.
I would suggest and have seen this work "if the player" wants it.
Get a bucket of balls, stand about 12-15 yards out, have the player face the sidelines, his feet must point to the sidelines. Kneel behind him, and toss him balls so he has to reach back to receive the toss, keeping his feet planted. Do this in stages. If possible video tape sessions.

Stage 1: When he reaches back to receive the toss his hands and arms will have to be extended. Do not shoot the ball yet. Do 100 reps. Then let him just do what he normally does and watch him, don't say anything.
Stage 2: Same as step 1, but this time after receiving the ball he must keep his hands and arms back and show the goalie the back of his jersey or show you the front of his jersey (you should be above him tossing the balls). Have him cradle only one time after he receives the ball as he is turning. This is teaching him to turn and torque using his core, and gaining confidence in his stick. 100 reps, do not finish with the shot yet. Then let him just do what he normally does and watch him, don't say anything
Stage 3: Same as above, but now have him shoot. Compliment good postured shots. he will see that the velocity on his shot is significantly lower with Alligator Arms vs. pure overhand at this point.

Keep an eye on him and just relax and have fun feeding him shots on the run.

Good Luck
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Re: Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby #17Statesmen'07 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:08 am

I was taught to touch the "wall" when shooting. To do this it is very simple. Have the kid stand as far away from a wall as possible while still being able to touch the wall with the extreme tip of the lacrosse head. Every time he shoots he must first touch the wall. Rinse and repeat until proper form is simply habit.
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Re: Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby miketherider on Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:59 pm

Obtain a camera, even if is a cell phone camera, and film him shooting. As mentioned, deconstruct what he is doing wrong (elbows in, arms not extended, etc.) and show him what he is doing.

Get a pile of balls and have someone toss to him as if going to shoot time and room. After he catches, work through the motion. Then, progress to actually shooting. Get 100-200 reps and see what improvement he can make. Incorporate some kind of shooting mechanics drill into practice, as well (I find shooting at the end when they are tired is the best time to really dissect how they will shoot, especially late in a game).

I use simple key phrases to remind them. Ours is "elbows off the table" which kind of reinforces that mental link.
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Re: Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby OldoftheNew on Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:40 pm

The two goal drill is great. It is probably one of the most effective he can do by himself. The top hand when shooting is exactly like throwing a baseball or football. So ask him how you throw a football, then when he does it show him where his arm is mid throw. Then show him what it looks like when he shoots (top hand) and show him you cannot throw an object very fall when your arm is a 'V" a.k.a. Alligator arms.

Also do one hand shooting where he catches the ball with his top hand where it would be if he were shooting with two hands and make him shoot the ball. If he has bad form the ball will sail wildly. He must snap it off over the top with his hands high to hit cage.
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Re: Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby Mr. Comet on Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:05 pm

alot of good tips in here, I would also add one-armed catch into his wall ball routine, when doing the drill focus on using his arm like a whip to throw the ball. you can also add cross-handed throwing to his wall ball routine to focus on pulling the bottom hand. You could also watch him doing exagerated shots without a ball (big wind up/ back to target with front leg kicked up, then explode off the back foot and ending up in the sold out position (falling foward with weight fully transfered to the front leg) to make sure that he has the form down before actually shooting. Part of the prob could be strength training as additional strength will also make it easier to keep the arms out while whpipng the ball ahead.
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Re: Alligator Arms When Shooting

New postby CTLaxer on Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:55 pm

Shooting with 2 goals as mentioned previously is my go to. Another is a passing drill with players on their knees: partner up and each pair get on their knees so that their knees are down field facing the same direction/parallel to the other player and play catch. If you have alligator arms you simply won't be able to get the ball to the other play 15-20yrds away. Emphasis on starting with arms out and stick up hi and finish with the stick coming across the body and hitting the ground (for effect). Make sure they start high and finish with their stick and hands on the opposite side of the inside knee (knee/leg closest to their partner).

I had one kid who was so bad at it that I jokingly said I was going to put icy-hot on their armpits before practice and the kid went off and did it. Not something I'd recommend you do ever, but it sure was funny and it actually did help a bit. Few other oddball ideas that do work at times are getting floaties or a blowup tube (the kind you see little kids sitting in in pools) so that they physically can't tuck their arms in. Video is also very helpful cause every kid always "feels" or "knows" they're doing exactly what you ask/what they're supposed to be doing and then when they see video of themselves not doing it they usually are able to correct the behavior.
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