Notre Dame junior midfielder Sergio Perkovic is currently one of the top players in college ‘crosse and a projected early MLL pick for next year. As of the 2016 mid-season, Perkovic tallied 75 career goals and is only going upwards. And these are no ordinary goals; Perkovic has been known to rip it around 108 miles per hour. So how does he do it?
“In middle school, we did a ton of shooting practice, ton a fundamentals. My coach, Steve McNulty of the Warrior Youth Program, stressed overhand a lot. That’s where I developed that chin on the shoulder, going overhand, we did cage over cage shooting a lot. In high school at Brother Rice (Mich.), my coach Rob Ambrose was big into the shooting fundamentals, too. In the offseason, we always did early morning sessions in the gym at 6 a.m. All it would be is shooting for an hour straight.”
-Sergio Perkovic, Junior of Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse
Not surprisingly, it all comes down to the basics and lots of practice.
Breaking it Down, Step-by-Step
Crow Hop The first thing is to crow hop into the shot, to get your based wide and your legs into your shot. This is the middle/end of the crow hop in this picture.
Footwork You also want to point your front foot toward the target, whatever that may be. You can see that here, too.
Chin on Your Shoulder Get your head around. One thing I always practiced growing up was having your chin on your shoulder. That kind of helps you get your head around and looking at your target. You’ll be seeing where you are shooting and your whole body can go toward that part of the net. That’s all in the beginning. Looking at where you’re shooting.
Elbow Extension In the take back, I’m starting to get my elbows extended out farther. Whenever I’m practicing, I’m making sure I’m getting as much extension as possible. The more extension you have, the harder your shot.
Plant Foot My front foot is planted and I have a little bit of a wider base.
Hide Your Stick My back has rotated as well, which helps me hide my stick. It’s tough for goalies to see that release when you’re looking at the back of your numbers. Making sure your neck is turned and your chin is on your shoulder helps you hide your stick. Your back is turned at the same time you are looking at the net.
Quick Release I’ve always practiced having your shooting motion be one motion instead of two. A lot of people when they are about to shoot, they catch, bring their arms in and then extend outward and shoot, as opposed to catching, or in this one stepping down, all in one motion with your arms already high. A quick release is essential. You can rip as hard as you want, but if you have a huge windup and don’t get the ball off quick, you’re not going to get your shots past the goalie, especially in college. Have a friend feed to you when you’re practicing.
Hips Don’t Lie Almost all of the torque on your shot comes from your hips. That’s why getting your body turned in the beginning and exploding through with your hips is key. They turn and twist on the shot. Everything else kind of follows through. The arms, the wrist, the stick. That area of your body is where the torque gets generated and released. Obviously you start with your legs and go up to your hips, but the hips are the biggest part of that and the biggest reason why torque occurs during the shot.
Shoot Overhand I learned to shoot overhand. I always practice overhand. I’ve never really been much of a sidearm shooter. My stick is almost parallel with the ground. That’s where you can generate that power and force. My whole body is kind of torqueing up, torqueing up, then at the end, the stick is parallel and that’s exactly the point where I begin to snap my wrists, or a little bit after that. All of the power from my legs, to my hips, to my back, my torso kind of gets generated through the shot.
Aim for Open Spaces If it’s a really quick release sometimes I’m just going for spots, far side of the net, far post, or far down post. Other times, it’s an area. Wherever I kind of see net the goalies are giving up net, that’s where my eyes will gravitate toward.
Wrist Snap My wrists cock back pretty far. The snap of your wrist determines where that ball is releasing, high or low. Since I’m shooting overhand, technically you can only really miss high or low unless you really mess up completely. Wrist snap is one benefit of shooting overhand.
Move Toward the Net On the follow through, make sure your body is going toward the net. Sometimes, I tend to fade away depending how my footwork is. It helps a ton if you are following through at the net.
Elbows Off On the follow through, both of my elbows are off my body. Some kids keep their elbows in super tight even in their follow through. That’s one thing I made sure I never did. Make sure you have extension.
What are your tips for getting the perfect shot? Click the title to comment.