Game Ready: Shoot Like Charlotte
North’s goal-scoring ability is the stuff of legends. But if you ask her, it’s easy as 1-2-3.
This article appears in the April edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.
Is there anyone more qualified to talk about shooting than Charlotte North? No one in NCAA women’s lacrosse history has scored more goals (358) than the two-time Tewaaraton winner, who also set the NCAA single-season record with 102 goals during her career at Boston College. In her rookie year as a pro in Athletes Unlimited, North led the league in goals and set a record with eight 2-pointers.
That’s the thing about North and part of how she has pushed the game forward. Where most shots in women’s lacrosse come from the inside, North can shoot from distance, making her lethal and versatile any time she has the ball.
“It’s important to have an ability to shoot from difference ranges,” North said. “I feel like 85 percent of the shots you see in youth and high school, you’re using just your wrists.”
But that could change as more girls look to be like North, mimicking the U.S. women’s national team star’s hallmark wind-up and aiming to generate the same power in their backyards.
North said the secret to her power is quick, precise footwork.
“You want to be as efficient as possible and generate as much power as possible in as little steps and time because the defender is coming crashing in on you,” North said.
At the USA Lacrosse Convention in January, North showed the next generation how she did it during a presentation with U.S. teammate an NCAA Division I all-time points leader Kylie Ohlmiller. Missed it? Here’s North’s power playbook.
Ultimately, players will do a three-step crow-hop. Working the correct angle will set them up for success.
“Your angle is perpendicular to the cage,” North said. “You’re typically facing a sideline instead of being square to the cage.”
Squaring up to the cage restricts your motion and presents the stick to the defender.
“You’ll get less power and will be less likely to get a good shot off,” North said.
STEP 1: TOWARD THE TARGET
The first step is toward the target. “If the stick is in your right hand, that first step should be with your left foot,” North said. “Take one step toward your target as you’re still facing the sideline.”
STEP 2: ROTATE BEHIND SHOT
The second step should come behind the first step. Rotate your hips to the opposite side of the field. North compares this step to the carioca in gym class. But, too often, players attempt more of a shuffle in one line.
“It’s natural to do a three-step shuffle instead of a three-step crow-hop,” North said. “That second step is key to rotating your hips so that they can rotate a full 180 degrees toward your target on the third step instead of 90 degrees.”
The extra 90 degrees is critical in generating power.
“It sets you up for the third step that generates more power from the quads and hips,” North said.
STEP 3: TOWARD THE TARGET
“Come through after that second step behind, again with your left foot,” North said. “Point the toe at your target.”
At the same time, move your stick from behind you and across your body, driven by your bottom hand. That pulls your stick near eye level.
“That allows you to have your stick off your body and extend for follow through,” North said.
USE YOUR ELBOW AS A SCOPE
Though North focused on footwork, having your stick in the correct position is also essential. Think of your front elbow as the scope on a firearm. Set sight on your target.
“The landmark to make sure that your stick is in the right position is making sure your elbows aren’t tucked in by your side,” North said. “The elbows are up, pushing your stick to eye level. If your stick is near your eye level, from there, punch your arms behind you.”