Lacrosse Goalie Guide to Maximizing Your Off-Season | Lax Goalie Rat

Lacrosse Goalie Guide to Maximizing Your Off-Season

Hey all you Lax Goalie Rat’s! I took a few week hiatus from writing. Did you miss me? 😆

With July 4th weekend now behind us most youth leagues have already crowned their champion.

For some that means the lacrosse goalie gear goes into the garage never to surface until the spring.

But for the others the hunger to get better is fully alive and well.

In this post I want to cover what I think is the perfect strategy for handling your training as a lacrosse goalie during the summer.

With the goal of rejoining your team in the next season in the best possible form you can.

Take a Break from Lacrosse

Playing a full season of a sport takes a toll on your body.

As lacrosse goalies our bodies take a beating. Both from the conditioning that we do with our team but also from taking shots to the exposed shins, thighs, arms, and shoulders all season long.

Taking this pounding not only wears a goalie down physically it also drains you mentally.

The last thing I want is for a kid to not arrive at the beginning of lacrosse season FRESH. Physically fresh, mentally fresh ready to attack.

Taking shots and playing lacrosse all summer long doesn’t give your body and mind time to recover.

So please take 3-4 weeks to relax and recover. Perhaps even longer if you have some end of season injuries that you were playing through.

Just because we’re taking a break from taking shots doesn’t mean we can eat Doritos and play Fortnite all summer long.

What I am suggesting is that you take a break from lacrosse do something else physical.

Mike Adler, former St. Joes and current Duke starting goalie took a break from lacrosse and went surfing for the majority of the summer.

This worked on his physical conditioning, his balance, and his tan. And at least 2 out of 3 of those things help you make saves!

Niko Amato likes to swim and box. Kip Turner liked to play racketball and ping pong.

I personally played a lot of pickup basketball in the offseason during my college days.

There will be plenty of time for lacrosse so my point is don’t forgot to take a break to mentally and physically recharge.

Goal Setting

For many goalies, the time when the season ends provides a moment of extreme clarity.

I remember playing in college and we lost in the 1st round of the MCLA national championship tournament. Having to sit around all weekend and watch others compete for a national championship was infuriating.

Since I do recommend taking a little time off after the season it’s very important to write down or document those thoughts while it’s still fresh in your mind and the emotions are running high.

On my podcast many goalies tell me the story of their championship run. Most of the times, that story starts the year before when they lost.

It’s amazing how much that fire in your belly can dissipate in a month or two from now when it’s time to start training intensely.

Document what you’ve learned. Document what you should do different next year. Get those thoughts and ideas down so you can reference them next year.

While your at it, set your goal for next season. While the fire in your belly is fresh and you’re the hungriest you’ll be.

If you are not sure what you should be working on this summer, ask your coach.

A end of year meeting with your coach is great as they can give you a recap of how you played during the season and how you can improve on your skillset.

For the most part, coaches know the range of skills each player possesses. Coaches have that solid understanding of what and how his or her goalies can improve upon based on watching them in practices and games all year long.

Attend a Summer Camp

Taking a break from lacrosse during the summer doesn’t mean you need to skip lacrosse entirely.

In fact, the summer is an excellent time to get some specific lacrosse goalie coaching.

Many youth goalies rely on pure athleticism and it’s not until they reach high school or perhaps even college that they get specific goalie coaching on the fundamentals and take their game to the next level.

Search for a goalie camp in your area this summer. Bill Pilat runs camps. Goaliesmith runs camps. Crease Coach runs camps. Peak Goalie runs camps.

If you cannot attend a live camp I’ve put together a series of videos that teaches you the fundamentals of goalie play. Everything you need to know – technical, physical, mental – plus over 50 different drills to execute in your backyard.

Here’s the camp trailer:

Lacrosse Goalie Rat Camp

If you cannot attend a live camp or can’t afford to check out those videos. If you can’t afford my camp, there are videos on YouTube and IG. You really have no excuse these days!

I attended a few live camps in my playing days and in each one it’s safe to say my goalie game got exponentially better. Putting some structure and knowledge around raw talent is really a powerful thing.

Transform Your Body

The summer break away from your lacrosse team is a really good time to transform your body.

First, let’s agree that the days of the fat kid in goal are long gone. Today’s modern lacrosse goalie needs to be the best athlete on the team.

They need to in shape. They need to be strong. They need to be lightning quick.

If you are not all 3 of those things already, the summer is a great time to make a change.

Perhaps your a twig who could stand put on some muscle. Or maybe you’ve the brownies get the better of you and you need to drop 10 pounds.

The summer with no school and no distractions (except those fit beach bodies of the opposite sex of course) is a great time to undergo this project.

Set a goal for yourself and map out a plan to get there. Here’s a goalie workout but I’m less concerned about the specific exercises and more concerned that you pick a plan and stick with all summer long.

Any off-season goalie workout should elements of speed, agility, and strength. All important things lacrosse goalies need to dominate.

If you can, try to find a training partner for the summer. Training with a teammate or friend will you push one-another to go harder.

Try Something New

If you do play in a summer league, this time is excellent for playing with new ideas.

It’s a much more relaxed environment and making mistakes doesn’t really matter as much.

Maybe you want to try playing a higher arc and challenging shooters a little more.

Maybe you want to try using a wide base stance or a flat arc.

With nothing on the line, summer pickup games are the perfect opportunity to try this new technique without any consequences.

Who knows?

You might stumble upon something that really works well for you goalie style and helps you reach the next level when the 2020 lax season rolls around.

The off season is the time to try “big changes” to your lacrosse goalie game.

Don’t Forget the Wall

Wall ball is an absolute must for all goalies.

It’s a low impact workout that you can do all summer long that going to improve your stick skills and your hand eye coordination.

Here’s a great wall ball routine for goalies (camp members only).

Mix in a little “Doc Drill” while you’re on the wall and you’ll find your skillset rapidly improving.

Many goalies I’ve talked to just use their goalie stick when on the wall. I always preferred the challenge of using a shortie.

Then when you switch back to your stick for a few reps the thing feels enormous.

Also a cool wall ball variant is to use two balls, demonstrated here by Ronnie Fernando:

Work on Weaknesses

Use the offseason to focus on areas of weakness in your lacrosse goalie game.

Maybe it’s the clearing game or stick handling.

Maybe it’s a particular style of shot like on the run shots or low shots.

Or maybe its something off the field like the mental game.

The off season training can include specific skills, techniques, or mental aspects for us lacrosse goalies.


The time off during the summer is a great time for lacrosse goalies to improve before rejoining their team next season.

Before jumping into your summer workouts it’s imperative you take some away from the game to enjoy other endeavors.

We want to arrive to the 2020 campaign fresh and ready-to-go not feeling tired and beat up.

Set your goal during the summer and then work hard on it. If you can attend a live summer camp or play some summer ball.

Also don’t be afraid to try out some new things to see how they work in your game.

In the classic words of Kevin from the Wonder Years – “Have … a … neat … summer!”

Until next time! Coach Damon

What you do guys think about this lacrosse goalie summer training strategy? Anything you’d add? 

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7 thoughts on “Lacrosse Goalie Guide to Maximizing Your Off-Season

  1. Hey Coach I’ve been reading your post for a while now and I have been playing goalie for about a
    Year . I have just finished my first season in high school and I am now training for the next. My question though is that I have read that goalies can bat the ball away with there free hand and I have never seen goalies actually use that technique. What are some good times to be using your free hand, I imagine it the be a lot easier if I were to use my stick and a hand.

    P.S. keep up the great work for inspiring goalies like me to get between the pipes 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Josh! Yes, batting the ball w/ the hand is a legal play but I wouldn’t say it practiced technique. In 15 yrs of playing goalie I probably did once when a really slow ball was going by me and instincitively I swatted at it with my hand. Good luck next year!

  2. One thing I did in the summer between 8th grade and freshman year was work my left. Sounds odd but out of crease play is so much easier with two hands. I felt less panicked under pressure.

    1. Good move! Having confidence with your ability to handle the rock helps your clearing game sooooo much. You can know take on a attackman 1v1 for a bit until you can find the open man.

  3. I do marching band over the summer and although most people think it’s easy, it’s quite a work out! especially for me as a first trumpet player. Marching helps with my lung strength so I don’t get winded while yelling to my defense and it’s amazing for core strength. Not to mention this year I’ll be a section leader and I’ll come back into lax with better leadership skills! Marching along with wall ball and small off season work outs 2-3 times a week in between my marching practices is my secret for coming back into the crease ready for a good season.

    1. That’s great! Keep it up! Angie Benson – Virginia Tech starting goalie was also in the marching band. She’s talked quite a bit about how it helped her be a better lax goalie.

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