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April 21, 2009

Straight Shooters: Clamp-Down Cram Session

by Matt Zash | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online | Zash Archive

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© Joe Rogate

Hey Matt,

My name is Mason Aguilar and I am a middie. I was wondering if you know of any ways that I could work on getting quicker at clamping down on faceoffs, or if you can give me any tips on what style you use for your faceoff that allows for a quicker clamp. Also, how do I work on my own to improve the speed of my faceoff without having to have another person there with me?

-- Mason Aguilar, Middletown, Ohio


Quickness on the draw is mainly a function of reaction time. However, if your center of gravity is over your hands, you won’t be able to clamp as quickly and as effectively.

The test: when you’re in the set position, lift your stick and gloves off the ground.  If you fall forward, too much weight is on your hands.

Second, an effective quick clamper does not use his head as a hinge; the bottom/grounded sidewall fixed to the turf as the top rail closes over the ball.  In a simultaneous action, the bottom rail should slide out/back as the top rail clamps down and grabs the ball.  This cannot be done if you failed the aforementioned test.

Here’s how you get better on your own: 

1. Use a tape or digital recorder to record two different series of whistles. The first should have a consistent, one-second pause in between each whistle. For the second series, make a recording of varying rest-times, anywhere from two to six seconds.

2. Use the first audio as a warm-up. On the whistle, jump your head over the ball, tap the ground, and then jump back over the ball, returning to the start position. Try to get as close to the ball as possible without touching it. This exercise will help improve your hand-eye coordination. After a few dozen reps, repeat the same drill, but using the second audio. This will challenge your reaction time.

3. Using both audios, one then two, practice your clamp.



We get questions all the time to which, frankly, we don't have the answers. Luckily, we've got three pros on hand. Matt Zash, a former Duke All-American, currently plays for the NLL's New York Titans and MLL's Long Island Lizards. Need advice about men's lacrosse? E-mail or click here to submit to "Straight Shooters."Select responses will be published in LM, and

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