Game Ready: Ripping on the Run with Bryan Costabile

PHOTO BY MASON PERRICONE


The shot seemed destined to find the back of the net almost as soon as Bryan Costabile planted his left foot in the turf on Tierney Field. “Bye, bye,” teammate Dominique Alexander shouted before Costabile let it fly on the run during the second quarter of the U.S. men’s national team’s game against Canada at the Fall Classic this past October.

While most fans were probably focused on how Costabile made the pipes ring as his shot stung the net, his form was equally something to behold. It should be in a textbook for on-the-run rips.

“It’s just reps,” says Costabile, a 2021 Premier Lacrosse League Midfielder of Year finalist who led all players at his position in the regular season with 18 goals, including three 2-pointers, for the Atlas. “It’s a matter of finding what shot stroke is good for you then really working it so that you’re comfortable.”

Costabile honed his technique over the summers in college and continues to do so working with shot whisperer Torre Kasemeyer, who has also helped likes of fellow PLL pros and resident snipers Ryan Brown and Deemer Class along with Syracuse All-American midfielder Brendan Curry.

Armed with the correct mechanics and a dedication to perfect his craft, Costabile finished his career at Notre Dame with 99 goals, ninth-best in program history, despite playing in only 35 games and having his senior season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the two years since, he’s established himself as one of the best players in the world.

Costabile’s tips on how to make strides with your on-the-run shot:







1. Finish toward the goal

The most common mistake Costabile sees younger players make is running away from the goal both as they wind up and finish their shot. The effort to generate more power often leads them, literally, in the wrong direction.

“I always like teaching that when you’re taking a shot, even if you take a few steps away, you always have to end up running at your target,” Costabile says. “Almost every time you shoot an on-the-run shot, you should be able to go to exactly where your ball went and touch it right after pretty much running in a straight line towards the goal.”

Think north to south instead of east to west.

2. Shoot like clockwork

Part of Kasemeyer’s principles involve thinking about your shot release and finish as the hands on a clock. For Costabile, a natural righty, starting at 11 and ending at five is the most powerful and efficient plane. Being able to hit a range of spots on the goal with the same overhand motion also adds a level of deception. “It really helps not only drilling the proper form, but it’s more about getting the most out of your shot,” Costabile says. “You can shoot high, you can shoot low, you can bounce it — you can do whatever and the shot looks the same the whole way through.”

3. Generate power from the ground up

“It’s not all arms,” Costabile says. “It takes your whole body to generate that torque.”

That starts with your legs. Concentrate on your footwork. As you’re about to release the ball, start transferring your weight from you back foot to the front to increase the velocity.

To practice this, Costabile takes on-the-run shots using only three steps. Left, right, left.

“The momentum coming from your legs comes through and then you’re able to snap across and get lot more power on your shot,” he says.

4. Keep your head on the goal

The desire to get as much power on your shot as possible, and the extra movement that comes with it, inevitability sacrifices accuracy. To guard against this, Costabile focuses on keeping his head still and eyes toward the target.

Against Canada, he added an extra layer of deception, dipping his shoulder down in the fractions of a second after he released the ball. “That’s actually something I’ve been working on with Coach Kasemeyer recently,” he said.

It worked to perfection. 

This article appears in the January 2022 edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

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