June 15

Front Pin Shot Defense

Since I’ve never been to a large out of state tourney, I was wondering a few things…

I’ve never seen anyone shoot a front pin shot well (or…as their main shot). What can I expect at Nationals? Will there be a lot of people with that shot? Maybe 1 out of 10 or 20? And out of those people I play who use it…is it really HARD to defend?

What kind of defense is good to use? Do good shooters aim for holes…so maybe a baiting defense? Or kinda like a snake defense? Is it a hard shot to adapt to, or is it reasonably easy to make adjustments after you’ve been scored on a few times?

Or is there pretty much no reason to worry because it’s a sucky shot and only a few people have mastered it? 😛


There are hardly any American players who utilize a front pin as their primary series. I think the other guy is thinking of the rollover and just didn’t read your post carefully enough. It does seem as though 8 of 10 shoot the rollover sometimes, although I’m sure the number of pull shooters brings that total down somewhat.

If you feel comfortable blocking against pulls and rollovers, you should be okay for over 90% of the teams you would face in the Nationals. Any player from Europe is likely to be shooting a front pin series, though. Good front pin series seem to all about fakes and jukes that move you out of the desired hole. If you are trying to follow the ball, you will likely get drilled as a result of buying into all the fakes.

The principles of defense against any strong series is similar I think.

If you identify any weakness in the forward’s game, exploit it. A weakness can be a weak side of the series (i.e. he doesn’t hit the push side fast, well, or consistently), or a tendency (forward hits 3 holes very well, but LIKES to shoot the pull side much more than push or middle), or a telltale (you notice that the forward stands differently, or grips a little differently when he shoots pull vs push, or always lifts his head a little as he shoots), or a predictability of timing (always shoots 4 seconds after the set, etc.). Now obviously, if the forward has no weakness such as the above, you’ve got problems. With almost all rookie and most semipro players, one or more of the above problems is present.

I think most good goalies have some kind of random type defense for when they are just getting drilled, and baits etc. don’t work. This would be a good time to pull it out, against any unknown series that is scoring well against you. For instance, a back-and-forth shuffle with some hitches and pauses in the timing to prevent a timed shot.

— Steve Shiue
Average Bar Player,
San Diego, CA

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