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The lacrosse face-off is more than just a haphazard battle for the ball. Each player must go in with a strategy to get his stick on the ball and overpower his opponent. And one of the most effective techniques used by face-off specialists is the "Pinch and Pop." (Learn how to perform the Clamp and the Jam.)
When you execute the Pinch and Pop correctly, you can jumpstart your team's offense with a quick fast break. Possession is key in the game of lacrosse, and a "make it, take it" face-off guy can be the difference in a game, because he takes pressure off the defense and creates goal-scoring opportunities.
Pinch and Pop How To
- When the whistle blows, clamp the head of your stick on the ball.
- Lift up your left hand and put some weight on the stick head to pinch the ball between the sidewalls.
- Pop it forward, or pull it out and flip it to yourself or a teammate.
- If the ball gets stuck in your stick, quickly pop it up to yourself and start running.
Practice this move repeatedly until it becomes second nature. It's critical to concentrate on reacting to the whistle, rather than your face-off move technique. Watch video of yourself facing off, and mentally picture your technique. Focus on having the same stance, stick position and execution every time. This will promote a quicker reaction time to get your stick on the ball faster.
Check out the Pinch and Pop and the Clamp technique, and the different ways you can get the ball to your teammates 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.