Today’s post digs into an advanced topic for lacrosse goalies which is how to handle pipe to pipe play.
When setup on one pipe and the offense executes a cross-crease pass to the far side, the goalie must move quickly and efficiently to the other post to ensure they’re in a good position to make a save.
Again this is an advanced concept so if you’re just getting started learning the position of lacrosse goalie, it’s best to focus on the basics before mastering pipe to pipe play.
But for those goalies looking to add another element to their game, efficiently moving from one pipe to another is a part of dominant goalie play and can put you in great position to make that one-on-one save.
Here’s my tips for that situation.
Loud “Check” Call
As a goalie when you see a cross-crease pass, your first task is to give a loud, crisp “CHECK” call to your defense.
This defensive term will alert your defense team members to check the sticks and/or hands of their attackman who could potentially catch the pass.
Defenders might not have an eye on the ball so the “CHECK” call alerts them that feed is incoming.
Remember to always communicate with your defense. Give a loud “CHECK” call when the attack feeds the crease or makes a cross-crease pass.
Lead with your Stick Head
Many goalies will drop the head of their stick as they move from pipe to pipe.
This is a mistake as most attackman waiting uncovered on the crease will attempt a quick-stick shot shooting the ball on the same plane as they caught it.
Advanced attackman will change levels with their shot but for most shooters we can assume they’ll keep the shot on the same plane.
Thus always lead with your stick when moving from side to side.
The Footwork of Pipe to Pipe Movement
The most important element of moving pipe to pipe is your footwork.
What I like to teach goalies when they move from pipe to pipe is a two-part movement:
The full movement looks like this (pay attention to the footwork):
As soon as you see that cross-crease pass you’ll swing open up your hips, pivot on your outside foot, and drop step back towards the goal line.
Some goalies actually drop step back into the goal a little in order to be more square to the shooter when they do the jump stop.
I’m fine with either approach. You’ll notice in the GIF, Coach Jack Dorsey doesn’t step fully into the goal but rather steps on the goal line.
For anyone who has ever played basketball you should be well aware of how to perform a jump stop.
It’s a jump where the goalie lands on both feet simultaneously and in proper balance, not leaning forward.
Balance is the key as when we finish the jump stop as we need to be in our perfect stance and ready to react to the shot.
Also notice in the GIF above how Coach Dorsey leads with stick before getting his body into the right position.
Here is an example of Coach Dorsey moving from pipe to pipe in the opposite direction. Notice how he finishes the jump stop in a perfect lacrosse goalie stance.
Get Out There and Practice
Now that you understand the basics of pipe to pipe movement it’s time to get out there and practice.
The drop step and jump stop move can really only be perfected with repetition.
So practice leading with the stick, drop stepping back towards the goal line and then landing with a perfect jump stop on the far post.
It will take some practice to perfect and to ensure you’re completely balanced when you finish the jump stop.
You can practice this movement on your own.
Once perfected, grab a couple friends. Setup on one post and have your friends or teammates do a cross-crease pass while you move from pipe to pipe and attempt to make the save.
Video of Pipe to Pipe Play for Lacrosse Goalies
Here is the full video of Jake Dorsey from Crease Coach discussing how he teaches pipe to pipe play for goalies:
Moving pipe to pipe as a lacrosse goalie is all about your footwork.
Goalies must perfect the drop step and jump stop in order efficiently move across the crease and be ready to make a 1×1 save.
Also be sure to give a loud “CHECK” call and lead with your head.
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