As the last line of defense in lacrosse, the goalie plays an essential role in keeping the opposing team from scoring. Unfortunately, the position also has some of the highest stress levels in the game. From learning to move more efficiently to facing fast-moving shots, mastering goalie skills will take time and dedication. With that in mind, this guide provides six sub-questions designed to help goalies at every level of the game take their play to the next level.
What Are the Basic Skills Needed to Be a Good Goalie in Lacrosse?
The first step to improving your lacrosse goalie skills is to master the basics. You must know how to move efficiently, communicate with your defenders, and track shots accurately.
The first skill to work on is your movement. You need to be able to quickly move from one side of the crease to the other to stop incoming shots. Start by practicing your footwork, such as shuffling side to side. Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced goalie drills that require more movement.
Communication is also a critical part of being a goalie. You must be able to communicate with your defenders to ensure that everyone is in the right position. This will help prevent opposing players from getting open shots. Don’t be afraid to be loud and clear with your communication.
Finally, as a goalie, tracking the ball is a critical skill. You must learn how to move your head and eyes quickly to follow the ball and anticipate the shot. Practice tracking the ball during games and drills to improve your reaction time.
How Can I Improve My Reaction Time as a Goalie?
A quick reaction time is essential for a good goalie. You must be able to move quickly to the correct spot and make saves. You can improve your reaction time by using reaction training drills.
One simple reaction drill is to set up a line of cones or balls in front of the goal, spaced apart a few feet. Stand in front of the goal, and have a coach or teammate throw the ball at the cones. Your job is to react quickly to the ball and move to stop it. Vary the speed and direction of the ball to make the drill more challenging.
Another drill that can help improve your reaction time is the “Bounce Back” drill. Stand about 10 feet in front of the goal, facing a wall or rebounder net. Have a partner or coach throw the ball at the wall, and then try to react quickly to make the save. Vary the speed and direction of the shot to challenge yourself further.
What Are Some Drills to Improve My Hand-Eye Coordination as a Goalie?
Hand-eye coordination is vital for a player in any position, but it’s especially important for a lacrosse goalie. You must be able to see the ball and react quickly with your stick or hand to make a save.
One drill that can help improve your hand-eye coordination is the “Cross-Handed Toss” drill. Stand in front of the goal with your stick in your opposite hand. Have a teammate or coach toss the ball to you, and try to catch it with your non-dominant hand. Repeat this drill several times, alternating hands.
Another drill that can help improve your hand-eye coordination is the “Reaction Toss” drill. Stand about 10 feet from a wall or rebounder net, and have a teammate or coach throw the ball at the wall. Try to react quickly and catch the ball with your stick or hands. Vary the angle and speed of the ball to make the drill more challenging.
How Can I Improve My Clearing Skills as a Goalie?
Clearing the ball is an important part of a goalie’s job. You must be able to get the ball out of your defensive zone quickly and accurately. One drill that can help improve your clearing skills is the “Circle” drill.
To do this drill, set up a circle of cones around the goal, about 10 feet away. Have a teammate or coach roll or toss the ball to you, and then work on clearing the ball out of the circle. Vary the direction and distance of the clears to challenge yourself.
Another drill that can help improve your clearing skills is the “Over the Head” drill. Stand in front of the goal, and have a teammate or coach throw the ball over your head. Turn around quickly and try to catch the ball. Once you have the ball, work on quickly clearing it out of your defensive zone.
How Can I Improve My Hand Speed and Positioning as a Goalie?
Hand speed and positioning are critical for a goalie. You must be able to move your hands quickly to make saves and be in the right position to stop incoming shots. One drill that can help improve your hand speed and positioning is the “One-Handed Save” drill.
To do this drill, start by facing the net with one hand on your stick. Have a teammate or coach throw the ball at the goal from one side, and then try to make a one-handed save. Repeat the drill several times, alternating sides.
Another drill that can help improve your hand speed and positioning is the “Fake Shot” drill. Stand in front of the goal, and have a teammate or coach fake a shot from one side and then shoot from the other. Work on quickly moving your hands and body to the correct position to make the save.
How Can I Improve My Mental Toughness as a Goalie?
Being a goalie can be mentally challenging. You must be able to handle the pressure of the position and stay focused throughout the game. One way to improve your mental toughness is to practice visualization.
Visualization is the process of creating mental images or scenarios in your mind. Before a game or practice, take a few minutes to visualize making saves, clearing the ball, and communicating with your teammates. Imagine yourself making a game-changing save to boost your confidence.
Another way to improve your mental toughness is to focus on the present moment. Avoid getting caught up in mistakes or missed saves. Instead, stay focused on the next play and what you need to do to be successful.
In conclusion, improving your goaltending skills is an ongoing process. Focus on mastering the basics, improving your reaction time, hand-eye coordination, clearing skills, hand speed and positioning, and mental toughness. With persistence, dedication, and hard work, you can become a great goalie and a valuable asset to your team.