Rollover/Snake Shot (Defensive)

  • There are several different types of defense that can work to block a snake shot, but there are a lot of players that don’t do a very good job of it. To be fair, when a player first comes into the league they probably haven’t seen any snake shots before, and if they have then the shooter probably wasn’t shooting it at a proficient level. It can be very intimidating because of the power and accuracy behind the shot.

    A snake shot (or rollover) is quite different to block than most other types of shots. The reason is that a snake sets up in the middle of the playing surface, and can easily pound the ball strait into the middle of the net. Most people initially set up with one or both men right in front of the ball, leaving either one or both sides of the net completely open.

    When a player with a great rollover is shooting on you they will easily pick the side of the net that is open, and they will shoot the ball into the corner faster than it is possible to react. The shot simply hits the net before you can see it, so you don’t have time to move if you wait for them to start their shot.

    First of all, here are some defenses that DONT work very well:

    1. Stacking both your men in front of the ball. If your defensive men don’t have about a ball width between them then you are wasting your defensive men. Snake shots go strait into the net, they don’t angle or slide through unless the person messed up the shot. If one man is in front of the ball, the other man has to be spread out a little bit in either direction. The ball would hit the first man anyway, so having the second man behind it is just a waste.

    2. Picking a side and blocking a side and the middle together. This doesn’t work because any decent snake shooter can tee up on the empty side and will score.

    3. Shaking back and forth randomly. This one sometimes works well and can be worth a try if whatever else you are doing isn’t working at all. Usually there is a much smarter and more effective way to block.

    Now that you know what not to do, here are some examples of defenses that MIGHT work really well. I say might, because some really good shooters might figure your defense quickly and know what you are doing. One thing to remember is not to beat yourself up over getting scored on by a good shooter, they can score really well on anyone - so making a block here or there can be considered a success.

    1. Divide the net up into 3 sections (or 5 sections after you are really good at blocking 3 sections) in your mind. You have 2 men that can ever be in front of the net. Know that, because it is impossible to put 3 of your men in front of the net. Use your two men to cover 2 out of the 3 potential places the person can shoot. Usually a good shooter is VERY good at putting the ball deep into the corner, almost off the post and in every time. It is also too fast for you to react, so you have to already put your man out beside the post before they shoot. Use your two men to cover 2 out of the 3 holes for increments of time. Then switch and cover a different 2. You can’t always switch in a rhythm, or the shooter will pick up on it and shoot as soon as you move. It is hard to make yourself leave your goalie all the way out beside the post for 3 - 4 seconds, but once you do that your blocking will go way up. You need to know what hole you are leaving open, and if the shooter picks the right hole they will score. Make sure they don’t score on either of the holes you are trying to block, that gives you a 2/3 chance of making the save.

    2. Watch for a tell about which side they shoot. Some shooters (even good ones) will always have a certain style of rocking the ball before they shoot towards a direction. They develop it from practicing the same shot over and over. They put the ball down, rock rock rock shoot. You can see the shot coming once you get to know what it looks like. Make sure you get to the spot they will shoot at early because usually they can’t stop themselves from shooting into you.

    3. Baiting and timing a hole. Most shooters will have a tendency when they shoot. Usually is is a timing thing… they always shoot about 2-3 seconds after they have set up. Once you know the timing of the shooter, you can leave a side open for 1-2 seconds comfortably. Then when you move into the side that has been open, they are just deciding at that time to shoot. They shoot to the open side, which you are already closing. When you get there, the shot should get there just in time for you to block it. Keep in mind some people are good a varying the timing or have timing that isn’t 2-3 seconds at all.

    ~Will Stranks

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