Being the last line of defense between the offensive team and the goal, the goalie has a stressful job. His one mistake can drastically change the final score.
However, this defending role has the most important position in the team. If you want to know ‘how to be the best lacrosse goalie?’ then read further to wake the winning monster within you.
Protect and Play
When you want to focus on your game as a goalie, make sure you are completely protected. Being protected with the right gears also gives you confidence in your game.
Goalies are vulnerable to get hurt because of their position. The ball that is shot to score has a greater speed than the ball to pass. If the goalie gets hurt by the ball, the fear will remain there forever. So, it is always recommended to initiate right. Whether you are a new goalie or a veteran, you must wear all your protective gear when standing in that position.
Learn the Basics
Don’t just go and stand in the cage. To be the best lacrosse goalie, you must first have to learn the basics. When you know the fundamentals, saving the goal will become an easy job. Start by practicing them.
- Use your top hand to save – left for the lefties and right for the righties
When the ball is heading towards you, you don’t have much time to react. The first thing to do is to take your top hand to the ball right away in a straight direction, as it will shorten the distance. So, the shot hand must be present at the cage’s center so that it can be moved in the shot direction straight.
Start by practicing with your hand only and then use the stick to practice. When you get this movement right, you can easily make a save.
- Support your top hand with your foot
When you have additional support to your hand, its motion becomes faster and better. You can support your hand with the movement of other body parts as well. Furthermore, the right body positioning can help to make a save when the hands miss it.
Add support to your top hand with your lead step. The direction of the shot will decide your lead step. Your lead step is in the direction of the shot.
The distance between the steps must be wider so if the hand misses the shot, your body can save it.
- Get balanced with the trail step and bottom hand
Before you make contact with the ball, your top hand and the lead foot must be the only parts to move. But, once the contact is made, you can use your bottom hand and the other foot to control your body. After the save, the body must retain the balanced position. Your feet must be apart to maintain your posture.
Face the Shots
To be the best lacrosse goalie, learn the techniques and then practice. Practice makes a man perfect; so, to be good at saving the game, you must practice. Simply, just go to the field and face the shots.
When the ball approaches you to score, you only have a few seconds to respond, not more than 2-3 seconds. In this short time, you have to react, move, and save the goal.
The beauty of the body is that it learns. A typist can type 70-80 words per minute and for the average person, it is just around 40 words per minute. It is because his fingers know where the letters are without even seeing them. The same goes for the goalies. When you practice, your body will react automatically towards the approaching ball.
What you must do here is to practice using the right way. The above-mentioned fundamentals must be practiced because, after years of research, they turned out to be the most efficient way of saving the goal. You must maintain the proper stance and your body must learn to react in that particular position.
Try Goalie Drills
There are many ways to increase the difficulty level of your practice as a goalie. Different goalie drills help you to practice in a better way and face the difficult shots.
When you have no one to practice with, you can try practicing on the wall method. Take a stick and stand 10 feet away from the wall. Shoot the ball that it will bounce back to you. Consider the coming ball as the ball you need to stop. Use the right stance to stop the ball from going behind you.
Once you make the save, take a step forward towards the ball. Do it with every save until you become really close to the wall. When this happens, initiate from the beginning point again. This drill will help you to practice the right moves while saving the ball.
Set the goal cage approximately 10 feet away from the wall, but it must face the wall. The goalie must stand in front of the cage. Any player or the coach can shoot the ball at the wall in a way that it bounces towards the goalie. A goalie has to make a save.
This drill helps the goalie to focus on the direction of the ball only. The attackers have the potential to fake their moves, which may lead to a goal. So, it is better to focus on the movement of the ball than on the body language of the attacker.
One more way to practice is by using the pitching machine. You can use as many balls as you want and set the machine. Stand in front of a cage to face every ball the machine throws at you. Just keep the ball aside when you catch it and focus on making your moves with speed and accuracy.
Place the machine at different angles and distances to achieve better results. This drill will improve the agility and accuracy of the goalie; also, facing the continuous shoot helps in developing muscle memory.