Game Ready: Shoot Like Mac O'Keefe


Mac O'Keefe was a first-round pick in the Premier Lacrosse League draft, chosen by Chaos LC.

This article appears in the November edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

The reactions said it all.

Chaos coach Andy Towers raised his left arm in the air even before Mac O’Keefe wound up after he received a cross-field pass on the lefty wing from Dhane Smith. Towers already knew what the lacrosse world has come to learn over the last couple years.

O’Keefe is automatic when he gets his hands free.

The NCAA’s all-time goals leader at Penn State, O’Keefe was a first-round pick in the Premier Lacrosse League draft. He scored his second goal of the PLL championship game with 18.6 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Chase Fraser continued pointing at the corner O’Keefe sniped long after the ball fell back to the turf. 

“Crazy, right?” Smith told Towers’ son, James, who started to describe the goal but was at a loss for words. “He can shoot the ball.”

“In terms of lacrosse ability, I’ve played with some good guys in the pros thus far, but there’s nobody who can finish the ball like Mac,” said Archers attackman Grant Ament, who played with O’Keefe at Penn State. “I will literally go to my grave saying it.”

A Maverik Lacrosse athlete, O’Keefe shared in a tutorial and a previous interview with USA Lacrosse Magazine how he developed the unique underhand stroke that helped etch his name in the record books.


When defenders close out to a shooter on the wing, they’re taught to throw their stick out if they can’t get on your body. If you try to go over the top or sidearm, the shot will likely get deflected.


“That allows me to get my stick super tight to my body and just fully follow through vertically,” O’Keefe said. 


For all O’Keefe’s skills, Ament said it’s his former teammate’s lightning quick release that makes his shot so effective. “When we do shooting drills in practice, I try not to focus too much on the placement of the ball but just to get it in and out of my stick as fast as possible,” O’Keefe said. “That substitutes for being able to shoot the ball 120 mph because you’re giving the goalie less time to think about where he needs to be and react to the shot.” 


“I was told growing up and definitely got yelled at a few times by my dad and other coaches that overhand was the way to go with everything,” O’Keefe said. “I tried to do that at practice, but the second the whistle blew I was by myself with a bucket of balls doing my own thing and messing around. That’s where a lot of my habits formed.” 


“Coach [Jeff] Tambroni always said there’s not a lot of secrets to the sauce with any great player,” Ament said. “I don’t think it’s any different with Mac. The top guys work the hardest.” Said O’Keefe: “If you do it enough, you’ll be able to be confident in a game and pull it out.”

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