Look Good to Play Good: Goalie Guide To Looking Sweet | Lax Goalie Rat

Look Good to Play Good: Goalie Guide To Looking Sweet


Perhaps you’ve heard this quote by the great Deion Sanders:

If you look good, you feel good,

If you feel good, you play good,

If you play good, they pay good.

We all know that guy/gal on our team that spends a ridiculous amount of time prepping the game look.

Eye-black in just the right style. Back of the hair gelled for maximum flow. Armbands just right. Socks and cleats laced up to perfection.

But the truth is – it works.

If you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you play good!

And like Neon Deion says – if you play good, they pay good! Ok, maybe we’re not talking a pro contract but pay good could mean a college scholarship and/or All-American awards.

Here’s a quick guide on how to look good as a goalie when you step into the crease.

Get Some Tilt

A discussion on lacrosse fashion has to start with helmet tilt.

Tilt refers to the downward angle that the helmet sits on the player’s head. And when achieved to perfection its a thing of beauty.

Those without tilt suffer from what the lacrosse community calls Second Bar Syndrome or colloquially “Second Barring” it.

Below are some poor unfortunate souls with some serious cases of SBS.

I realize these pics might be very unsettling for some. SBS is a real issue and needs to be treated appropriately. Please consider a donation help rid the world of SBS once and for all.

So now that you understand what Second Bar Syndrome is, let’s discuss Tilt.

Tilt is a downward angle that the helmet sits on a champion goalie’s head.

There is a very fine line between looking super sweet and blocking your visibility. You want the former, you must avoid the latter.

Play with those chin straps and helmet adjust in the back to achieve maximum tilt while still maintaining visibility of the shots.

If you’re interested in getting your tilt game right on your helmet, check this video.

After you’ve watched the intro to tilt, you’re ready for an MBA in tilt taught by the master tilt-ologist himself Ryan Drenner (seen in that Towson photo above).

By far the biggest factor in looking and feeling sweet is achieving a perfect level of tilt.

Those that have it can claim swag, those without it just look ridiculous.

Eye Black

Now that your tilt game is on point, you’re going to want to pair it with some eye black.

While eye black also serves a functional purpose of reducing glare from the sun or lights, it has a secondary purpose of making you look sweet.

Especially when you get the tilt / eye black combination working to perfection.


Keep in mind high school rules limit your ability to go berserk when applying the eye black.

Rule 2, Section 17: Eye black must be one solid stroke with no logos/numbers/letters and shall not extend further than the width of the eye socket or below the cheekbone.”

Other than men’s high school everyone else is free to express themselves however they see fit.

But I do think eye black is a part of a solid goalie look that will make you feel good and thus make you play good.

Grow Some Flow

Flow refers to the long hair “flowing” out the back of the lacrosse helmet and can make even the most mediocre of goalies feel sweet.

While its not a proven fact that goalies rocking lots of lettuce play better, it should be.

This is goalie has achieved flow-fection. Also note his tilt game is on point.

So do yourself a favor and let the hair grow a little so we can see nice cabbage flowing out the back.

Sweats Rolled Up

When I played in my prime my go-to look was the sweat pants with the bottoms rolled up.

Sweats felt better for me than regular lacrosse shorts. The additional thickness gives you a little extra padding from shots so there’s some functional benefit too.

Plus you get some extra warmth for those cold games.

Then I rolled up the bottoms to let everyone know there were no shin guards under there. Plus I liked the way it looked and felt.


Here is a Jack Kelly rocking: 1.) Tilt 2.) Eye Black 3.) Rolled Up Sweats. I wonder if he grew out some flow would anyone ever score on him??

I also think the shorts with past the knee compression pants look is awesome.

At the end of the day, it’s really about whatever makes you feel good.


Sometimes I see lacrosse goalies in practice sessions with no penny or jersey. The chest pad just flying solo in the free air.


I never understood this. For me putting on a jersey is the ultimate feel good move.

Love the way the jersey feels!

Most coaches want all players to wear their pennies so they can flip colors quickly for drills. But if you can get away with it I recommend using a jersey.

If not at a bare minimum, cover up that chest pad with a penny.

Even when I’m taking shots with a teammate I throw on an old jersey because I love the way it looks and feels.

As a result I play better.


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Although I do have the jersey in that pic above, I will admit my tilt game needs MAJOR work. But those old helmets just don’t have the tilt of today’s models. That’s a Cascade C2 y’all. You kids have no idea how good you got it haha.

Customized Goalie Head & Mesh

Unlike ice hockey goalies, lacrosse goalies cannot have a customized paint job on the helmet.

It’s one of the changes I hope the PLL implements.

Until then, what a lacrosse goalie can customize is the goalie head, mesh, and shaft combination.

Now there’s nothing wrong with all white stick head and mesh but if you’re looking for maximum levels of swag, then consider getting a dye job and throwing in some color into that mesh to show off your personality.


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A post shared by Zygmunt Custom Stringing (@zyg_lacrosse) on


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A post shared by MW Lacrosse Stringing (@mwlaxstringing) on


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A post shared by Trey Oaks (@crimsonhuskie) on

Customized Throat Guard

While lax goalies must use the same helmets as field players – why is there no lacrosse goalie helmet?? – there is no rule against customizing the throat guard.

In fact, the only rules related to lacrosse goalie throat guards are:

  1. You must use one
  2. Throat protectors must be specifically designed for lacrosse

So we have free reign to decorate our throat guard as we see fit.

Many goalies like to put tape on the throat guard and write a meaningful message. Could be the number or initials of a meaningful player in your life. Or first letters of your anchor phrase / positive affirmation.

For example, this goalie went with “WIT”

Here’s another example –

Wait a minute??

Does this goalie South Portland have it all? Flow! Tilt! Eye Black! Jersey! Red shooting strings for mesh! Sweat pants!! Customized throat guard with tape? Uwww weee…he look good.

Some goalies choose to customize their throat guard with a full design –


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Consider adding some customization to that throat guard for looking and feeling sweet.

In fact some goalies out there feel the throat guard tape customization is essential to our being:

One last point on the throat guard. Sometimes goalies have the throat guard connected to the helmet with the screws so tightly that it shoots out forward and stays in that position. Especially when you’re running outside the crease.

Kind of like this…

So reasons of safety and also for reasons of looking better, make sure the throat guard always falls downwards to cover your throat.

You don’t want it so loose that it rattles too much when you run but you don’t want it to stay extended, leaving your throat exposed before you have a chance to pull it down.


Sometimes lacrosse athletes get a bad wrap for wanting to look good while playing.

But in the immortal words of Neon Deion Sanders – You look good, you play good.

So if you’re looking for some tips on how to look good, following the items in this post –

  • Tilt
  • Eye Black
  • Flow
  • Sweats Rolled Up
  • Jersey
  • Custom Head or mesh
  • Custom Throat Guard Design

One thing I purposely left off the list is the helmet visor. While I will admit a nice mirrored visor passes the test when it comes to looking sweet, when I tried to play with one I found it horrible.

So much echo in my helmet as I tried to communicate with the defense. So I can’t recommend that piece of gear for goalies wanting to look sweet. I’m pretty sure the tinted versions of the visors are illegal anyways.

Anything else you goalies use to look good while making your saves? Leave me a comment down below.

Until next time! Coach Damon

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22 thoughts on “Look Good to Play Good: Goalie Guide To Looking Sweet

  1. Coach,
    Finally! I put a lot of effort into my look on gameday (and even in practice)! Personally, I go with team shorts rather than sweats (rolled up for that tasteful above-knee look, of course) with white compression tights underneath that end at mid-calf (gotta show em off!) I also go with a white long-sleeve rather than a short-sleeve shooter. I love this look, and I’m glad this issue finally got the post it deserves!

    1. Finally we’re hitting on the topics that matter!! Hahaha I like that tastefulness of showing off a little of those calves – well done! A tip of the hat to your style choices.

  2. Are you kidding me! This is what you consider valuable advise for young lacrosse players. If you listen to veteran and successful coaches, they will comment on this laxbro emphasis as an impediment to the game. Count me out of your newsletter.

  3. Great advice! On top of all these tips i’d recommend fun, colorful socks to add to the sty. I personally rep long purple socks with sushi on them.

  4. Great article, Coach. I’ve been experimenting with wrapping my daughter’s helmet with vinyl decal material. She likes a plain look but has been wanting the Cascade S platinum helmet for a while. I’m looking at platinum helmet, chrome face mask and chrome wrapped throat guard. Now all I need to figure out is how to dye/paint a big fluorescent bullseye in the middle of the mesh.

  5. Is the customized throat guard illegal, I’m thinking about painting the skull on mine. But I don’t want it to be illegal for women’s high school.

  6. How exactly do you tuck your sweatpants at the knee– I tried to use tape on my leg and it fell off in the first quarter. Thanks Coach!

  7. Would tilt on a goalie helmet have any effect on your vision in the net and would it mess up your reaction time for low/high shots?

    1. Would definitely mess up vision, but you’d look so sweeeeet!

      But seriously as long as its not too low to impact your vision you should be fine. I used to have where the tilt/visor actually helped on those sunset games.

  8. does anyone on this thread know someone who can either paint or create a wrap for the whole goalie helmet of a lions head and the face mask is where the lions mouth is open lined with teeth around it.

  9. Hey what are some good places you can get decals for your helmet. I kind of want my number on one side and a back panel decal and all of that stuff. I tried looking but it seems like those cool custom places only do team orders

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