Game Ready: Passing Fancy With Grant Ament

PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

Ament, the star Penn State alum, was the 2020 PLL Rookie of the Year.


This article appears in the September/October edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

Grant Ament got on “SportsCenter” using the skill that used to get him scolded by coaches.

“I got yelled at for throwing those when I was younger,” said Ament, the Archers’ second-year pro whose sidearm and submarine approach strays from the overhand orthodoxy.

Always one of the smaller players on his teams, Ament realized he had to challenge the status quo and alter his technique to become a more effective feeder. Extending his arms to the side and around a defender did just that. It took a while for his teammates, literally, to catch up. 

More recently, they have. Throughout his college career at Penn State and now in the Premier Lacrosse League, Ament has distinguished himself as one of the best feeders in the game along with his Archers teammate and mentor, Tom Schreiber.

Ament, the 2020 PLL Rookie of The Year, led all players in the league as of this writing with 19 assists. No two were identical. Fast-break quick sticks. No-look skips. BTBs. Ament’s arsenal is deep as his list of awards.

“He’s just got so many layers to his game,” Schreiber said of Ament in a PLL video last year.

Want to drop dimes like Ament? Here’s his advice. 

FAST FEET, EYES UP

Ament dodges to spots where the defense is vulnerable — then decides whether he will go to goal or feed. “Where I think young kids have a tough time separating is that when they’re looking to feed, their feet slow down,” Ament said. “When they dodge to score, they dodge really hard just looking at the goal and then they can’t see the slide. … You need to read and react to the situation. That’s why lacrosse is such a beautiful game, because as much as you know there are set plays on offense, you have to feel the game. That’s where being a good passer can come into play.”

KNOW TEAMMATES’ TENDENCIES

A natural righty, Ament’s greatest success so far has come when he’s dishing to lefties. In college he had NCAA all-time goals leader Mac O’Keefe. Now, more often than not, he finds Will Manny.

But besides knowing the receiver’s dominant hand, Ament stows away more detailed insights. Does he like to curl to the ball? Is he good in tight or does he like space to score? Does he have a quick release?

PLAY THE ANGLES 

Ament learned watching Schreiber how releasing the ball at different angles can make you unpredictable. “It’s one thing to read where the attackman is going to throw the ball,” Ament said. “It’s a whole other thing when the ball is coming low-to-high at 75 miles an hour.”

Ament also believes you’re only a good passer if you’re also a threat to get to the goal yourself. “People say, rightfully so, that Tom Schreiber is one of the best passers and the best players in the world, but they don’t talk about his dodging,” he said. “He wins his matchup every single time he touches the ball. Life becomes very easy if you can just focus on winning your matchup.” 

DISHES BEST SERVED

Cross-field skip: “If I get one of those when it cuts through the whole defense, they start freaking out about it and it allows me to play more freely.” 

Dish and dunk: “Anytime I win my matchup, draw the slide, then pass for an easy goal. It’s the easiest way to score, but probably also the most rewarding.” 

Behind the back: “I remember watching that video of Brian Langtry when I was younger and always trying it when I was playing fiddlesticks with my friends.”

Game winners: “Being able to step up in big moments is the true definition of a great player. You saw it in the 2018 world championship with one of my teammates [Schreiber] and another good friend. If you ask Rob [Pannell], that’s probably his favorite assist of all time.” 

STRING THEORY

Ament has strung his own sticks since fifth grade. He currently uses a Warrior Evo QX-O with a mid-to-high semi-soft mesh pocket and two shooting strings (one nylon and one lace).

“The way that I string developed off good fundamentals, as opposed to just trying to put as much whip in my stick and shoot the ball as fast as I can,” said Ament, who imitated Lyle Thompson’s pockets in high school. “On average, I take probably five shots but make probably 40 passes a game, so I’d rather have it pass perfect every single time and learn how to shoot the correct way than overcompensate for the bad passes.”







THE ART OF FEEDING

Check out the full three-part series on the USA Lacrosse YouTube channel.

PART 1
STRING THEORY

Becoming an elite passer takes more than skill or speed. It takes a mindset and an obsession.

PART 2
PILLARS OF PASSING

It all starts with your feet. Put yourself in a threatening position to make plays.

PART 3
FILM STUDY

Ament breaks down film of some of the most jaw-dropping passes of his career.

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