14 Excellent Lacrosse Goalie Drills to Improve Your Game | Lax Goalie Rat

14 Excellent Lacrosse Goalie Drills to Improve Your Game


Hello my fellow shot blockers! Today I’m going to share another 14 lacrosse goalie drills that will improve your game.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I also wrote about advanced lacrosse goalie drills and lacrosse goalie drills to improve your foot speed.

Work these drills into your practice routine and watch your game drastically improve.

Without further ado, here’s the 14 lacrosse goalie drills for today. You click the links below to jump directly to the drill:

  1. Mystery Shot
  2. Doc Drill
  3. Eye Focus Drill
  4. Power, Speed, Shot
  5. Jeter Drill
  6. Pipe to Pipe Explosion
  7. Finish the Save
  8. Passing / Clearing Drill
  9. Shots with a Feeder
  10. Shots with a Rope
  11. Football Toss
  12. Nerf Ball Tracking
  13. Wall Ball
  14. Monkey In the Middle

Mystery Shot

For this drill we’ll put a lacrosse goal about 10 feet from a wall, with the goal face towards the wall.

The goalie stands in the goal, facing the wall without looking back.

Then we’ll have a teammate or coach shoot shots against the wall. The ball will ricochet against the wall and the goalie will need to react to the make the save.

Lacross Goalie Drill - One on One Saves

This drill will improve the goalie’s reaction time and also work on their ability to make saves in close.

Shots should start off at a slower pace and then gradually increase once the goalie starts to get the hang of the drill.  You can also decrease the goalie’s distance between him and the wall to make the drill more difficult.

If there is no available wall you can also do this drill using a lacrosse rebounder.

As a coach or a goalie be sure to not get discouraged if balls enter the goal. The point of the drill isn’t to block every shot, its to see the ball and develop your reaction speed and ability to save shots at close range. As with every drill and game, don’t get frustrated if a ball goes in the goal.

Be sure to mix up the shot location (sides, corners, bounce shots) and also the shot origin (left side of goal / right side of goal).

Here is Scott Rodgers demonstrating the Mystery Shot drill, although he calls it the Blind Reaction Drill.

Doc Drill

This drill comes from pro lax goalie and coach Brian “Doc” Dougherty. The Doc Drill works 3 important elements of a lacrosse save – move your top hand to the ball, moving your feet, clear vision of the ball.

For this drill we need a short stick, a wall, and a ball.

We’ll stand about 10-12 feet away from the wall and shoot the ball against the wall.

When the ball ricochets off the wall we’ll pretend like its a shot coming at us and make the save.

Remember our basic lacrosse save fundamentals – exploding our top hand to the ball, stepping with our lead foot, keeping our eyes on the shot the entire way, and then finishing in a balanced position, ready to make another save if need be.

Like the last drill, mix up the shot location (low / high, left / right).

After making a save, since we’re stepping at forward angle we’ll be moving closer to the wall with each shot. Rather than restarting the position just keep doing the drill until you’re closer and closer to the wall. Once you’re just a few feet from the wall, then reset to your starting position.

Here I am demonstrating the Doc Drill:

Eye Focus Drill

Another drill from Doc, this one works our concentration and focus as we practice watching the ball all the way into the stick.

We’ll position our head directly over our toes looking down. Feet position doesn’t matter all that much.

With our top hand (our dominant hand) we’ll throw the ball very hard against the ground and then catch it with the same hand.

An alternative to this drill is keep your eyes focused in the same spot (in between our feet) but bounce the ball outside of our feet, off to the side.

This alternative will help us develop our peripheral vision.

Here is Doc demonstrating the Eyes Focus Drill:

Power – Speed – Shot

Great goalie drill for conditioning and getting into your stance quickly.

A partner will call “power” and you’ll do large speed skaters jumping back and forth.

Next call is “speed” and then you’ll quick choppy left and right bursts.

Final call is “shot” and the goalie will get into their goalie stance (using ‘the hop’) and partner will toss a shot at them to make the save.

Here is Lax Goalie Rat sponsored athlete Matthew Nunes demo’ing this great lacrosse goalie drill:

Jeter Drill – Low Shot Agility Drill

I learned this one from Coach John Galloway who as an upstate New Yorker and Yankees fan calls it the “Jeter Drill”. As a Bay Area native, I guess I’ll call it the “Brandon Crawford Drill”.

It’s a great drill for low shots, agility, and conditioning if done at a rapid pace.

Goalie gets setup in their stance, no stick. Coach or partner rolls a low shot to either side.

Goalie makes the low save and tosses the ball back. Repeat.

Here is a video of Coach John Galloway demonstrating this drill:

Pipe to Pipe Explosion Drill

I sponsored 17 goalies to an NIL deal in 2023 and part of it was they created a video series full of lacrosse goalie drills.

They were free to pick and demo their favorite goalie drills and to my suprise about ¾ of the group included the “pipe to pipe explosion” drill.

In this drill, you’ll start setup on one pipe and the shooter will shoot the ball to the far pipe. The goalie must focus on exploding their body across the cage and making the save.

I like drills that make our job harder than normal. Because then when we’re in game and conditions are reset, the saves become easier.

Here is Lax Goalie Rat Athlete Syracuse goalie Will Mark demo’ing this drill:

“Finish the Save” Drill

This is another one of my favorite goalies drills.

This one helps goalies slow down the save, break it into 2 parts and build up that muscle memory. If you’re struggling with a specific location, do this drill, build the muscle memory and get your confidence back.

Start in your stance and you’ll select an area, off stick hip for example. A partner will say “set” and the goalie will go half way through the save motion meaning the lead hand and lead foot move. You’ll freeze and sort of analyze your position.

Partner will then toss a “shot” to that area and you’ll finish the save with perfect technique.

Here’s is Will Mark demo’ing this drill for you:

Passing / Clearing Drill

This drill will work an important part of our lacrosse goalie game – outlet passes and clears.

There are two types of passes we’ll need to perfect in order to master the clearing game – the bullet pass and the lob pass.

For practicing the bullet pass we’ll mark a spot on a wall with chalk or tape. Then standing about 20-25 feet away from wall practice throwing a bullet pass to that exact spot on the wall.

Start at about 75% of your max strength to focus on accuracy at first. When you’re consistently hitting the spot on the wall, increase the bullet pass power until you reach 100% effort.

If you have a backup stick, be sure to take some reps with that stick as well so you have a clear understanding of your stick’s throwing ability.

To practice the lob pass, setup a large garbage can about 20-25 feet away and practice lobbing the ball into the can. Keep at the drill until you’re can consistently put the ball into the can.

These 2 passing drills are also excellent for those just restrung their goalie sticks and need to re-familiarize themselves with how it throws.

Shots with a Feeder

This drill will help goalie quickly move from one side of their goalie arc to another.

We’ll need two shooters to do this simple drill. Each shooter is about 15 yards from the goal with one of the left side and the other on the right side.

The shooter will pass the ball to the other who will take a quick shot.

The goalie who is setup in his stance and on the arc for the shot will need to quickly move across his arc and quickly get into his ready stance in time to make the save for the shot.

Shots with a Rope

This drill will help goalie’s understand the angles game involved with playing lacrosse goalie.

We’ll get a long, thin rope (about 100 feet). Tie each end onto either goalpost.

The shooter then steps into the loop formed by the rope, wraps it around his waist and backs away from the goal until the rope is taut.

The rope will form a V between shooter and the goal.

The shooter will move around and take shots on the goalie as we would during a normal warmup.

The rope will give the goalie a visual reference of the angle that needs to be reduced by our lead step. It demonstrates where we should be setup on our arc and how are far we need to step cut down the angle.

Eventually through repetition of this drill, the goalies will better understand angles without the rope.

Lacrosse Goalie Drills

Football Toss

Pretty simple, this works on getting your hands to the target. This one may not seem like a lacrosse goalie drill however it does help our game.

Stand about 4-5 feet from a partner and have them throw the football to your while you’re in your stance.

Step to the ball, hands out and grab the football w/ both hands. The object is to catch the ball with both hands WHILE stepping to the ball, not having your body follow your hands.

This works on getting to the ball with your hands and feet moving together at the same time, which helps you make the save faster.

Return to your ready stance and take about 5-6 passes in each of the 7 spots.

Tracking Shots with Nerf Ball Shots

For this drill we’ll use lightweight foam nerf balls (like these ones).

These foam balls float in the air and take funny routes on the shot path due to all the spin.

For this drill the shooter simply takes shots on the goalie as if you were going through a normal pre-game warmup.

The idea of this drill is wait as long as you can – tracking the ball – and then react to the shot, making the save with good technique.

If you have trouble seeing shots, this is a great drill because it forces you to track the ball. Instead of just instinctively moving, really force yourself to watch the nerf ball, wait, and react.

Then once you switch to normal lacrosse balls you’ll notice how much easier it is to track the shots and react accordingly.

Here’s a video demonstrating this drill:

Wall Ball with a Short Stick

Wall ball is one of the best drills a lacrosse goalie can do to improve their game!

I’ve already talked about how I think all goalies should work with a short stick.

Wall ball is a drill you can do when you’re on your own. All you need is a stick, a ball, and a wall.

Check the post linked above for a specific wall ball routine you can follow to develop your stick skills and hand-eye coordination.

Here is Lax Goalie Rat sponsored athlete USC goalie Kait Devir giving us here goalie wall ball routine:

Monkey In the Middle

Here’s a great drill from the All-Star lacrosse goalie Brian Phipps. It’s one of my favorite goalie drills for improving clears.

This drill also serves as a conditioning drill due to the amount of running involved.

If we have 3 goalies on your team, we’ll setup with 2 goalies acting as defenseman. If you only have 1 or 2 goalies, recruit some extra players or coaches to help with this drill.

The goalie running the drill (G1) will start with the ball and make an outlet pass to the defenseman (G2). G1 will then sprint over to the hash towards G2. G2 passes the ball back to G1. G1 makes a long pass to G3 and then sprints to the hash on the same side of the field as G3. G3 passes it back to G1 and the drill continues.

Run it for about 5 times through and then switch roles.

The drill looks like this:

G1 passes to a defenseman and then sprints to the hash in that direction.

Defenseman passes it back.

G1 passes to the other side of the field and sprints to the hash on that side.

Variations of this drill:

  • G1 simulates that an attackman is pressuring him and gives a face dodge before making the outlet pass
  • G1 carries the ball to mid-field before making the outlet pass
  • G2 can make a re-direct pass to G3, G1 still sprints to the other side
  • Add extra attackman to provide pressure on the goalies

Here is a video of Brian explaining the full drill. His explanation of catching the ball across your body at 2:51 is very good.

If you’re looking for even more lacrosse goalie drills, checkout these 2 posts:


Finding the right lacrosse goalie drills is essential to building a championship goalie.

By working the above drills into our practice routine or offseason program we’ll develop the skills and reactions necessary to dominate in the cage.

Until next time! Coach Damon

Any questions on how to do a drill? Let me know in the comments. 

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3 thoughts on “14 Excellent Lacrosse Goalie Drills to Improve Your Game

  1. The drills were a huge hit for my 14 year-old daughter, who is rising goalie of a very influential all girls private “lacrosse-centric” school in the Baltimore metro area.

    Her particular favorite is the Mystery Shot with a plethora tennis and stress balls. As she was challenged making stops, she quipped she has been tracking balls during backyard session in the cage by recognizing shooting and release positions from this “over-the-hill” crease attackman.

    Thank you your diligence in helping make every goalie a formable foe.

  2. I was taught some coaches say step to the ball and others tell you not too. What is the correct way? Thank you rich

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