September 4, 2008

Sept. 4, 2008

Note: This article appeared in the "Lacrosse Classroom" section of the February 2008 issue of Lacrosse Magazine, a US Lacrosse publication available exclusively to its members. Join today to start your monthly subscription.

If there's a topic you'd like to see covered in the "Classroom," e-mail section editor Matt DaSilva at

by Matt DaSilva, Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

In the September 2007 issue of Lacrosse Magazine, NLL Hall of Famer and former Syracuse great Tom Marechek demonstrated the how, where and why of behind-the-back shots.

This month, it's why not?

Two trick shots that have zero foundation in the fundamentals, but look great, are the reverse backhand - also known as an around-the-world or, in Marechek's hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, the "Tommy Twist" - and the between-the-legs shot. No photographers were harmed in the production of this article.

Reverse Backhand

Trick shots - like standard overhand, three-quarter and sidearm shots - begin with proper leg mechanics and finish with a push-pull release.

A reverse backhand releases the ball 360 degrees from the start of your shooting motion, meaning you release the ball from the same spot you would with a normal shot.The advantage is that your shooting-side shoulder acts as a screen for your release points, and goalies can't anticipate the shot by watching your hands.

"Deception is everything," Marechek said.

For a right-handed shooter (and vice versa for lefties):

- Approach the cage as you normally would for a strong-side shot. Make sure you "show" for the strong side before beginning your shooting motion in the opposite direction.

- Turn inside, as you might for a face dodge, bringing the stick to your left shoulder and swinging your right leg over your left leg.

- Rotate your hips so they are perpendicular to the cage and bring the stick around your head.

- Release the ball over your right shoulder as you would any shot, pushing with your top hand and pulling with your bottom hand. "I always have my top hand a little bit lower for this shot," Marechek said.
Between the Legs

Marechek's between-the-legs goal, running right to left, to beat unsuspecting New Jersey Pride goalie Trevor Tierney in the 2003 MLL semifinals as a member of the then-Baltimore Bayhawks ranks among his favorite memories as a player. He was about 15 yards out with 34 seconds remaining when he decided to turn his back to the cage and pull the game-winning shot between his legs.

"I don't know if I would call that shot indefensible," Marechek said, "but a goalie doesn't see it until it's too late."

For a right-handed shooter (and vice versa for lefties):

- Follow the same steps as the reverse backhand, showing for a strong-side shot and face-dodging.

- Rotate your hips and bring your right leg over your left leg, only this time do a full pivot so your back is to the cage and goalie.

- Invert your stick and hide it behind your right leg as it crosses.

- Before your right leg hits the ground, install the push-pull mechanic - only with this shot you are pulling up with your bottom hand and pushing down with your top hand.

- Flick your top wrist for better placement.
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