The twister or crippler might be our most favorite crossover from box lacrosse. Add it your game before it becomes mainstream and goalies have a slightly better chance of saving it.
American goalies are not used to seeing them because the shot has largely been hiding up North. We like it because it can both improve your angle and is very deceptive for goalies to read.
We'd rather a shooter shoot a twister in their strong hand than close their eyes and pray with their weak hand.
A twister is like throwing a screwball instead of a curveball and depending upon when you let it go the ball can either finish near or far.
This is a high level finish that will require some time to master. (Youth players often hit themselves in the side of their helmet with their hands or stick when we first introduce it.) We like to say punch your bottom hand away from you, which will naturally change the location of the stick head, and then drive down finishing with a wrist snap.
The best way to start practicing a twister, even before picking up your stick and over thinking it, is to grab a ball with your strong hand and throw a screw ball at the net.
Keep the phrase "turn the doorknob" in mind.
For a right handed shooter on his off wing, shooting a twister improves his angle because the stick head gets to the middle of the field more than an overhand shot. A light turn of the doorknob would put the ball on the far pipe (red line). A strong turn of the turn knob puts the ball back to the near pipe (green line).
To be clear, unlike a baseball, there aren't any seams on a lacrosse ball, so the ball cannot "move" in the air.
There are a variety of ways to use a twister. Take a look at this in game and practice footage before we show off some shooting clips.
Here's Tehoka using a twister off of a time and room opportunity. How befuddled is the goalie?
Here's Zedd Williams using a twister to the far pipe, on the run to improve his angle.
This is an example of using a fake the far pipe to set up a twister back to the near pipe. Great composure here by Zack with a defender breathing down his neck.
Finally, we were gushing about this Matt Gaudet finish earlier this spring against Penn.
We can judge the quality of a shot based on how off balanced a goalie is after the ball crosses the goal line. Watch the goalie lean to his left and the ball finishes on the near side here.
Let's go back to the training field for more twister footage.
To set up a twister, especially a time room and room shot, we like to lean opposite as the head of our stick gets about half way through the shot mechanics. You'll need some wrist control to master this shot so have patience if the ball doesn't move from left pipe to the right pipe. Pause the clip at the 0:17 mark to study just how much we turned the doorknob on this shot.
This one isn't as snappy, nor is it shot particularly hard, but again because goalies don't see it that often, this sneaks in.
Now watch Deemer Class executing an identical twister under far more duress.
Up the hash shooting has become a popular shooting drill and as a result more and more attackmen especially are using the shot in game. Mix in a twister up the hash to really perplex a goalie. Again, this shot is be now means moving very fast but you can notice that it gives the goalie fits. Fair to see he's never seen an up the hash twister.
If you haven't read the face dodge fake post, do that before you deep dive into twisters. This is a twister to the far pipe after a face dodge fake.
Take notice of the goalie's position after the ball has already crossed the goal line. The twister layered on to face dodge fake has pulled his body to the near while the ball is already in the back of the far lower third.
Lastly, the twister gives us a few more degrees of separation when dunking the ball inside. You'll notice the goalie doesn't bite on the shovel fake. However, as the stick head turns over (turning the door knob) he has to honor that the ball is going to the near corner giving us time to race the ball to the far corner.
When you can use the twister?
- Time and room
- On the run off the dodge
- Off ball catch and finish
- 1v1 with goalie
Why do you need to add the twister?
1. Allows the shooter to stay in his strong hand, we have more confidence in shooting with our strong hand, more likely to go in because we believe in ourself more when using our strong hand
2. It improves our angle, rather shoot on more of the net than a small target
3. It is incredibly deceptive, American goalies aren't used to seeing them, Canadian box goalies can't save them, so why wouldn't you shoot them in field
Play box with 412 Elite. You'll learn how to master the twister real fast.
Special thanks to 2020 goalie Jack Keller of Benilde St. Margaret's in Minneapolis. Jack was recently named to the all star team at FLG in 3D. Watch his fall highlights here.