You need fast hands to win a lacrosse face-off. They allow you to get to the ball quicker, move to an advantageous position and get the ball to one of your teammates. (Learn how to perform the Clamp.)
As a face-off specialist, it's important to have a plan and a counter to your opponent's moves. One of the best face-off techniques to have in your toolbox is "the Jam" (a.k.a. the "Jump"). This is a secondary option (after the Clamp) to neutralize an opponent's clamp, or Pinch and Pop. (LAX players: see Paul Rabil's agility shooting drill.)
- To jam, position your shaft parallel to the line.
- Aim your right hand to your opponent's right hand and your left hand to his shooting strings.
- Drive your stick forward toward your opponent's stick head to create separation between his stick and the ball.
- Pull then swipe your stick back to roll the ball through your legs.
Let your teammates know that you are going to jam so they will be in ready position to catch a pass, or pick up a loose ball. If you are going to try and win it yourself, have your wingers box out their opponents to give you ample space and time. And always keep the field balanced with one person on the defensive side of the field at all times.
If you are new to this technique or want to improve your Jam speed, I recommend improving your hand speed. Try this drill demonstrated in the SMARTER Team Training video below:
Editor's Note: Coach Taylor has developed the SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason and public understanding of prudent, purposeful and productive strength and conditioning practices for clients and athletes. Listen to episodes featuring some of the best experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition and sport psychology here.