6 Things I Wish Existed for Every Lacrosse Goalie
I’m not an inventor, I’m a lacrosse goalie coach. But if I was an inventor here are the 6 things that I would invent for lacrosse goalies.
Some are probably a little far fetched but others are definitely not.
I realize that the lacrosse goalie market is pretty small compared to other positions and other sports. Thus it doesn’t make financial sense for manufacturers to invest heavily in lacrosse goalie equipment R&D. But hey, a lacrosse goalie can dream.
Here are the items that at one point or another in my lacrosse goalie career I wish existed.
Lacrosse Goalie Cleats
There’s so many small delicate bones in the foot that broken bones seem to be a regularity among lacrosse goalies.
Today’s brands of lacrosse (or football) cleats seem to be opting for lighter and thus thinner materials. That’s great for running around the field and stopping on a dime but as lacrosse goalies we need more than that. We need protection from shots.
The best thing that exists today for foot protection are football cleats which are a little bulkier to prevent damage from getting stepped on. But even football cleats are not protective enough to avoid foot injuries.
Thus the lacrosse goalie cleat would have another layer of padding that completely protects the foot from shots.
I’ve seen a few lacrosse goalies use those baseball foot and ankle protectors that so many MLB hitters are using these days:
Why not combine that shin and ankle protection into the lacrosse goalie cleat? Some brands are starting to make super high ankle support cleats so it’s not unrealistic to combine the image above with something like this:
My specialized lacrosse goalie cleat would provide additional padding so that no foot injuries occur from shot impact and it would still be as light as possible to ensure the goalie has quick feet.
Of course we’d also have to add a steel toe to avoid broken toes from head on shots.
Finally the cleat configuration on the bottom would be such that it benefits the lacrosse goalie who must make a short quick aggressive step to the ball.
Padded Lacrosse Goalie Suit
I never played ice hockey goalie but from what I’ve read most hockey goalies feel pretty invincible when they suit up.
And why wouldn’t they? The bulky pads cover them from head to toe leaving no exposed area where a puck could strike. There’s no fear of being struck with a puck.
Contrast this to the first time you stepped into goal on a lacrosse field. I can think of many adjectives that describe how I felt but “invincible” is not one of them. More like “scared poop-less”.
So I would like to see a special padded lacrosse goalie suit invented.
The suit would prevent bruises but that’s not its real purpose. I think all goalies eventually get used to, and even cherish the bruises. They’re a part of the job.
The real purpose of the suit would be to give beginning lacrosse goalies the feeling of invincibility right away.
Whether you realize it or not, lacrosse goalies at all levels have a fear response for some shots. If you’re scared of the ball, in any way, you cannot save it.
Imagine how much better of a goalie we’d all be if we had a feeling of invincibility every single time we jumped into the cage.
Since a lacrosse goalie needs to be extremely mobile and flexible this suit would allow goalies to be just that.
I’m envisioning like a batman suit since by rule lacrosse protective equipment cannot extend the width of the limps being protected. No word yet on how you go to bathroom while wearing the suit. I guess that’s for the suit engineers to determine.
Better Lacrosse Goalie Gloves
Around the year 2000 lacrosse manufacturers started making gloves specific to the goalie position.
This was a big advancement as the new style of gloves offered built in thumb and hand protection that goalies had previously MacGyvered onto regular gloves.
But still, goalies wearing special lacrosse goalie gloves are getting their thumbs broken. This poor soul broke his thumb twice (albeit first time with regular gloves).
So if we’re going to put together a list of requirements for new lacrosse goalie glove inventors, it would look something like this:
- No chance of breaking thumb
- No chance of breaking any bone in the hand
- Durable to last a minimum of 4 seasons with continued use
That’s not too much to ask.
Sticking with the topic of injury prevention. The next item that I wished existing is a “goalie helmet”.
Currently the lacrosse goalie wears the same helmet as field players with an added throat protector.
This makes little sense since goalies are tagged in the head all the time. Lacrosse helmets are making great strides in reducing concussions but let’s eliminate goalie concussions from the game entirely.
Some teams like Syracuse University have started using additional head protection during practices to reduce concussions:
That device is called a Guardian Cap for those interested. There’s also another which I highly recommend called the Lexi Shield.
But why should goalies have to add this additional protection? Why couldn’t it be built right into the helmet?
When you know you’re going to take shots off the helmet, shouldn’t that helmet protect you?
While we’re at it, let’s beef up the face mask so this NEVER happens again –
A Better Goalie Head
In 1998 an attackman’s stick looked something like this:
Fast forward 19 years to 2017 and the best attack sticks now resemble something like this:
There’s now 19 years worth of technology built into the stick:
- The head is offset to provide additional torque on the shot and help with GB pickups
- The head is pinched in to reduce the chance that ball pops out of stick on the check
- The head is way stronger despite being significantly lighter
In 1998 the best goalie head on the market looked like this:
Fast forward 19 years to 2017 and the best goalie head (depending on who you ask of course) now looks like this:
If you’re searching for the difference, stop. The STX Eclipse that came out in 1998 is still the best goalie head in today’s game in my opinion. (Full head debate here).
Actually – I don’t think the original STX Eclipse had the “STX” branding at the top so we can’t say they haven’t added anything.
Edit: STX finally released the STX Eclipse 2 goalie head which is pretty sweet.
How can that be? Shouldn’t lacrosse goalie heads have also morphed to keep up with their brother attack heads? Was this goalie head invented in 1998 light years ahead of its time?
Again I’m no inventor but I wish a better goalie head existed for us goalies. I don’t know all the characteristics but if I had to guess here’s the requirements I’d go for.
- Larger Surface Area than the Eclipse
- As light or lighter than the Eclipse
- Extremely Durable – Almost never breaks
- Rigid like the Warrior Nemi 2 to avoid flexing when ball hits upper quadrants
- Throws extremely accurate outlet passes
- Easy to string
It’s a pipe dream but hey, this is my blog so I can dream up anything I want when it comes to the perfectly designed goalie head.
Helmet to Helmet Communication
Every goalie knows that great communication is vital to being an elite lacrosse goalie.
Still one of the mistakes that nearly every beginner makes is not being loud enough. Communication is difficult when your teammates cannot hear you.
With this invention, not being loud enough is a thing of the past.
Each helmet gets a tiny microphone and speaker so that anything the goalie says is played right into the ear drums of your defenders.
You could whisper sweet nothings into your teammates’ ear as he carries the ball upfield.
With the in helmet communication installed, if a D-man doesn’t slide, he cannot give the “I didn’t hear you” excuse.
Lax Goalie Rat is a blog dedicated to goalies so we can dream of a world ideally made for us goalies.
Unfortunately, we do not live in that world but if these 6 things existed we would definitely be closer to the ideal:
- Special Goalie Shoes
- Better Goalie Gloves
- Special Goalie Helmet
- Better Goalie Head
- A protective goalie suit
- In helmet communication
If you want to invent any of these, go ahead.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Would you add anything to this lacrosse goalie wishlist? Let me know in the comments
23 thoughts on “6 Things I Wish Existed for Every Lacrosse Goalie”
I disagree with the in helmet communication because half of the reason you’re yelling is to get into the offense’s head. Sure you could implement strategies secretly but I prefer yelling. Now maybe a setup like quarterbacks have where you have a headset with you goalie and your coach.
I also disagree with the goalie suit. Yes we do need to increase padding but at the same time lacrosse is the only sport where the goalie seems to ever leave their area, move around and join the offense. Not to mention, that we play outside and that would be hot as all hell. I think that if we made it a part of the culture to wear shin guards not just something that make you look dumb, and the same thing with shoulder caps that’s all I would need.
As for a helmet, I don’t see that much of a problem, the balls going through the face mask is just the STX helmet, which we can all agree is a dumb helmet that does not do its job very well.
All the other stuff I agree with completely.
Good points. Thanks for adding that Ryan. I guess I should add to the requirements that the padded goalie suit is fully breathable and doesn’t limit movement at all, allowing goalie to participate in the clear and chase out shots!
I was just talking to my son about improving goalie equipment in fact we were trying to “modify” the ankle protectors worn by a Hockey defenseman. My son is always blocking shots off of the side ankle.
Awesome. Keep me posted with what you come up with.
My son is a freshman in high school, only his 2nd full season as a goalie. He has starting wearing skateboarding socks because they have padding on the ankles and shins for a bit of extra protection but aren’t bulky (However – not sure on their effectiveness yet.)
Interesting. Let us know how that goes.
Goalie cups could use some improvements. Most box goalies use hockey-style double cups, which might be a bit bulky for field lacrosse goalies, but the so-called goalie cups on the market now don’t seem to be terribly effective. There’s gotta be some kind of hybrid cup waiting to be invented.
Thanks for the comment Bob! I’ve tried both the Bauer Supreme and the Warrior Nutt Hutt. I didn’t find them overly bulky, especially given what’s at stake.
Have you looked at the Nutty Buddy. A baseball umpire told us about it. Worn by catchers, they move around a lot, to include running the bases. It was featured on ESPN’s Sport Science: https://youtu.be/yV831oPwG8M
I haven’t tried the Nutty Buddy yet but this sure does look like a man who is confident in his product:
In regards to the cleats, these look like they would work well. The armored toebox sounds great and go up high enough to provide protection. Only problem is that they just don’t look good at all.
Those do look like they’d work pretty well. I’d have to see how the protection is on the sides since they advertise as lightweight. Doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of padding there. I also like the cleat configuration for goalies. Would help explosion forward.
Wow, seems the high-tech world has not found lax goaltenders to outfit.
I was looking for info about the psychological uniqueness of various sports goaltenders & came across your post. Never played lax but 2 sport GK now disabled by post-concussion syndrome. Seems insanely archaic that there is not adequate protective gear for lax goalies in 2017, however I do know from experience often the goalies are the last to get their needs met. Perhaps you can get some help from NFL researchers for adequate helmets, you can get a grant for trial prototype-equipment with other universities? There must be somebody in the world getting their PhD in preventative medicine/engineering/design that needs some samples for dissertation material. If not the other place to look would be the military. Sounds weird but I bet they have some equipment that could be modified.
Thanks for the feedback Catz. I might try to reach out to some of those people. On another note, I’d be really interested in hearing about the psychological uniqueness of goalies in various sports. Seems to me like there’s more similarities than differences given the nature the of the position.
Question. Do lacrosse heads need to be made of the plastic they use or can they be more of a carbon fiber material.
Here’s the rule – SECTION 18. The crosse shall be made of wood, laminated wood or synthetic material. I interpret that to mean carbon fiber is ok as its a synthetic material right?
Valid points. My personal preferences/opinions:
(Your mileage may vary…be safe)
–Rugby cleats are lightweight, offer great protection and you can modify the spikes for muddy creases. Turf cleats work great for dry fields. And for turf i used to wear something like this: http://amzn.to/2qBc4he
– extra gear is extra bulk and extra weight. Not always a positive. Also, can have detrimental effects on your mental game. For what it’s worth, I felt more aggressive, faster and more confident the less gear I wore. Helmet, gloves and cup were mandatory. Chest protector desirable. Everything else was just extra cargo for me.
-Helmets – this is just food for thought….Old style helmets (buckets) didn’t have the concussion problem. I got panels caved in and never got a concussion. I’ve worn plenty of cascade style helmets and they’re fine and look cool but they just don’t protect as well from shots.
Thanks for adding that Ryan. Never thought about rugby cleats before but they look like they’d work great. On helmets the need for tilt has overcome the need for protection in Cascade’s eye.
Just saw your blog about this after seeing more and more saves off my son’s foot. Shots are regularly 90+ mph now that he’s on HS/Club teams. He never complains but I see the bruises and I can’t help but think about the countless bones and vessels in the foot that you referred to. My thought is that the same casting they use in goalie thumbs could be used inside the front, top and sides of specialized goalie cleats.
Definitely hope some of the lax companies start making cleats like that.
I completely agree with the helmet idea. As any lax goalie would know, unless you want zip ties or strings holding the guard up, you need to drill into the helmet to attach the throat guard to the helmet. For any new goalie, this is sketchy as heck. If helmets were made with the guard already attached, or at least the holes pre-drilled, maybe we wouldn’t be scared of the helmet cracking at the holes we amateurly drilled!
Very good point Bailey! Another add to the lacrosse goalie helmet!
1-Larger Surface Area than the Eclipse
2-As light or lighter than the Eclipse
3-Extremely Durable – Almost never breaks
4-Rigid like the Warrior Nemi 2 to avoid flexing when ball hits upper quadrants
5-Throws extremely accurate outlet passes
6-Easy to string
I can say ECD may be coming out with something soon…