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First time facing off, need tips.

I have played defense/LSM in middle school/high school for about 5 years, and this fall I decided I needed to step up and take face-offs because no one else on my team could win any and I am pretty good at getting GBs. In practice against my team I won about every single won because I am okay at getting a basic clamp and picking up the ball, but during the first game I tried facing off I never really won the clamp, but still picked up the ball a few times. So is there a certain strategy or fancy move to use when facing off with a long pole that gives you an advantage, or is it all skill? Also, is it better to put your knees on the ground when you face-off, because I usually stayed low on my feet. I think the reason why I was losing was because I wasn't low enough down, but doesn't being on your knees give you less of an athletic advantage? I think jamming the other guy helps to prevent them from clamping the ball, right? I am not sure how to do that though. Is there a difference between lasering and jamming?
Well as you can probably tell I am pretty clueless about facing off and will appreciate any advice you guys have. Hopefully come springtime we'll have a face off middie, but I will keep practicing just in case I am needed, so I hope you guys can help my team get the ball a few times this year.


  • Ryan MulvaneyRyan Mulvaney Supreme Overlord Caldwell, ID
    I would suggest checking out videos on Youtube about facing off. That's how I got the basics down and learned some cool tricks. The Beast (Greg Gurenlian) has a three part series called FoGo U that's pretty good. I would love to give you some specific tips but the face off X is one of the places where you really need to find what works for you. You have to adapt a lot to how the other guy is facing off and find out what you can do to counter their moves. The more techniques you have, the better chances you have at winning face offs. Here's a link to FoGo U and just keep finding what works for you and develop them.
  • When facing off with a long pole it is not easy to do fancy moves, your best bet is to just clamp. As for having your knees actually touching the ground it depends, some people I know do this however I would advise against it since it will take a little bit longer to get up with the ball if you get the clamp and same if you lose the face off. Like Rydensaur said videos are a really big help. Whether it's the basics to more advanced videos anything will help. Using a long pole will make you a little slower but don't worry, if you are able to battle at the x you can come up pretty successful. If you lose the ball make sure you pop right back up and try to get it back if your opponent is fumbling with the ball.

    In short, learn the basics, focus on the clamp, don't get discouraged if you lose, and go from there. The Face-Off is an art and it takes practice like every other aspect of the game. Good luck!
  • Doing chops over the ball is a good workout to work speed and build muscle in your forearms.
  • Don't worry guys, Jeremy [my team mate] is pretty good at faceoffs, won like four into the back of his stick (how the hell do you do that?!), and I'm better at the wing :P. We won both games 8-4 and 6-4.

    Thanks though, guys. It's the thought that counts.
  • pinchandpoppinchandpop We got 10,000 lakes
    edited December 2013
    Love seeing long poles interested in facing off!

    One of the first things I tell people learning to take face offs is to make sure to DRIVE your right hand forward. Try to punch your opponent's stick back off the ball. While doing this also try and drive your right hand down the line a little to establish yourself over the ball and control it in the back of your stick. While you are pushing your opponent's stick off the ball move your feet up (especially your left) to establish yourself on top of the ball. It should look something like this (EDIT: This is a decent example but his back foot should be farther forward except with the ball clamped in your stick under you. This was the best picture I could find to illustrate my point.

    As a long pole you will need to watch your butt end as its very easy to lift and get under you. Make sure you are strong with your left hand when pulling it up to trap the ball in the back of your stick.
    Post edited by pinchandpop on
  • put no weight on your hands
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    When I coach players to take faceoffs, I start at the stance.

    There are different strokes for different folks, but I have a football background so I initiate the stance like a football lineman's stance or a baseball catcher's stance.

    Begin with your feet shoulder length apart. Many people will tell you to lead with your right foot forward, left foot back (a more offensive stance) however, I advocate with your right foot back, so that your right foot is your first step, which moves in conjunction with your hands. You want your right foot lined up with your instep of your left foot (the arch.) Your feet should point up field, with your right foot slightly pigeon toed. This will allow you to literally sit on the air, with all of the weight of your body on your heels (rather than the balls of your feet or toes.) Drop into a catchers stance, and get used to sitting down with no weight forward. You should have a solid, balanced stance so that every move you make appears to be the same every time. A good faceoff man can predict your movements based on your stance so it is paramount that you are able to mask this with proper stance technique. Now to hand placement.

    I personally go motorcycle grip, as it most resembles a football lineman stance, and allows me for the quickest explosion off of the whistle. No weight should be on your hands whatsoever. They should literally barely touch the ground. Your hips should be coiled (hence lineman/catcher stance) ready to explode, as your first step, and hands move. This applies to every move you use, whether it is a clamp, top, jam, laser rake, whatever. The point of this is specifically that you can mirror this stance with no tells to your opponent about what moves you intend to use, and no weight on your hands to ensure the quickness necessary to possess the ball, and the explosion will make up for the lack of weight on your hands.

    Faceoffs are like a meta game of rock paper scissors. There is your basic Clamp (rock) Top (paper) and Punchrake (scissors.) Clamp loses to Top, which loses to Punchrake, which loses to Clamp. However, I say a meta game because its like we added cannons and rockets to the equation with pinch/pop, jamming the hands, etc. I personally punch your stick out of the way in every move I use. A punch clamp will block their move, and allow you to control the ball with your first step. A punching top will allow you to put your body over the ball, punch their stick/hand out of the way, and once over the top, fish the ball back to your wing, or turn and send it forward to your self. Finally, if they are successful at punching your stick or using top moves, a punch rake (literally punching the ball underneath their raised hand) is a great way to push a fast break forward.

    Don't be afraid top get creative. There is no one strategy that wins 100% of the time, even if you're cheating (which many of us FOGO guys are) so experiment and see what works for you.
  • One thing i strive for in faceoffs is a calm clear mindset. It starts when I approach the x. I try to recognize I am only one half of the battle for the ball and the only half I have any control over. I never fill my head with the other player's size, gear, or technique which only slows down my reaction to the whistle. It's hard to explain but try not to think about what move your gonna do , or how you are going to counter, just be present. Be right here, right now and not somewhere else in your head. I know this sounds kooky but very few athletes acknowledge this aspect of their game.

    The other thing I force myself to do is relax. I try to remove all the tension in my legs and arms and especially my hands. For example boxers are taught that speed comes from throwing punches with a relaxed fist and tense only on impact. Try this with a clamp and see how much faster your hands move!

    Lastly, try to make all your moves simultaneously. Step, punch, pinch, clamp, rake, jam become part of one fluid motion. I never try to take faceoffs with the mindset that first i'm gonna do this, then i'm gonna do that.

    PS Never lose the attitude that you have right now. If you always go into learning faceoffs, or anything for that matter, with the confidence to admit you don't know everything, you open yourself to learn infinitely more. Study, watch videos, watch other players, ask 50,000 questions, and stay a beginner for ever!

  • facing off with a long pole is quite hard and I've done it in a few games. Don't try those fancy moves like the plunger because you're sure to be beat, just use the basic clamp and if you lose play some standard defense (most likely that is how you will get the ball).
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