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Lacrosse Basics Every Goalie Should Know

Is it your first year as a goalie?

Starting the season in a new position can be nerve-wracking if you don’t know how to prepare or what to expect.

Here are the five basics every new goalie should know for the upcoming season.

The right gear

Having the right gear is the difference between a major injury and remaining in the match.

Beyond the stick and helmet, you’ll need to invest in the following:

  • Goalie gloves
    • There is a big difference between goalie gloves and regular gloves. Compared to normal gloves, ones made specifically for goalies have more padding to protect your hands as your try to save a shot.
  • Goalie pants
    • Optional for some leagues, goalie pants have additional padding to protect your hips and thighs.
  • Throat guard
    • As a goalie, the ball can hit you at any angle. Throat guards are an essential item for goalies for this reason alone. Easy to attach and detach from your helmet, the throat guard will protect your neck during matches.
  • Shin guards
    • You think hitting your shins on normal objects is painful? Imagine getting hit with a ball flying almost 90 mph. Avoid any painful encounters and invest in a pair of shin guards.
  • Chest protector
    • The chest protector is important because it will protect your chest, heart, stomach, and shoulders from the impact of a ball.

The proper stance

According to lacrosse goalie coach Damon Wilson, it takes four steps to get into the proper goalie stance:

  • Feet a little wider than shoulder width
    • Having your feet shoulder width apart while standing on the balls of your feet will help you move faster than if your feet were closer together.
  • Bent knees
    • Bending your knees allows you to jump higher to catch the ball or get lower to reach low shots.
  • Straight, flat back
    • According to Wilson, keeping your back straight and flat will help you block shots, increasing the amount of saves during a match.
  • Position of hands
    • In order to rotate the stick fast enough, Wilson suggests that goalies keep their hands positioned 12 inches apart while holding the stick.

Communication is key

As one of the only players with the ability to see all sides of the field during a match, being able to communicate to defense is crucial.

Two factors in communicating is making sure your teammates can hear you and that you’re using the correct terms.

It’s hard to hear what’s going on during a match, so whether you’re warning teammates of an opponent or referencing a play, make sure you are raising your voice so your teammates can hear you and react fast enough.

Knowing the right terms is also beneficial to communicating to your team.

Here are the eight terms every goalie should memorize:

  • Back left
  • Side left
  • Top left
  • Top center
  • Top right
  • Side right
  • Back right
  • X

See the ball and save it

From the correct stance to memorizing all the rules, there’s hundreds of things going through a goalie’s mind.

Although knowing the rules and the correct stance is important, all that goes out the window when a ball is flying toward you at 90 mph.

Knowing how to react in that moment is crucial if you want to win and to avoid a serious injury.

Wilson suggests that instead of worrying about how to react, goalies should simply “see the ball and save it.”

Wilson said the easiest way to save the ball is to take the top hand and drive it toward the ball while taking your lead foot and stepping forward to get your body in front of the shot.

Once you are in front of the shot your trail foot and bottom hand will then move to save the ball.

Learn to jump rope

This may seem like a random skill for a goalie to learn, but according to Wilson, jump roping can improve your rebounding skills faster than running or completing traditional lacrosse drills.

Below is a jump rope workout created by Wilson specifically for goalies.

To hit the core muscles and increase agility, Wilson suggests doing 50 reps per drill and 10 plyometric pushups every time the rope hits your feet, or if you mess up.

Round 1

  • Two Foot Jumps
  • Single Foot Jumps Right Foot
  • Single Foot Jumps Left Foot

Round 2:

  • Two Foot Side to Side
  • Single Leg Right Side to Side
  • Single Leg Left Side to Side
  • High Knees

Round 3:

  • Double Unders
  • Boxer Shuffle

Together these five basics will help you become the goalie you want to be. Just remember to invest in the right gear, get in the proper stance, communicate loud enough with correct terms, and to incorporate drills that will improve your agility.

Want to learn more goalie basics? Find more tips HERE 

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