Female goalies and their coaches ask me all the time – “What is different for the female goalies?”
A long time ago I wrote about the differences between male and female goalies where my premise was that even though the game is very different, the technique for making saves is pretty much the same when comparing male and female goalies.
There is so much more to the female game. So many different challenges that female goalies face that I never fully understood.
Fear of the Gear
Male goalies wear slightly different gear than the field players but, at the end of the day, both are wearing protective gear.
They’ve both got helmets, gloves, athletic protectors, and other protective equipment.
Such is not the case in the female game where the field players look very different than the goalie.
Eye protection is required. And while some female field players are starting to use head protection (like the Cascade LX), by and large, the majority do not.
So just the act of strapping on all the additional goalie gear, that many view as non-feminine, discourages a lot of young women from even considering trying the position.
At an age when many want to fit in with their teammates, the goalie position, by its nature, but also simply by the equipment used, makes the goalie stand out.
Something to keep in mind as you work with your female lacrosse goalies.
You’re not only working with them on their stance and save technique but you’re helping them get accustomed to this role of goalie and perhaps the feeling of being different.
Male Culture vs. Female Culture
There is a level of toughness that’s required to make it in the goalie position. We’re not fully padded head-to-toe like ice hockey or field hockey goalies.
Play lax goalie long enough and you’ll eventually take a crank shot to your exposed thigh, to the shin, to the shoulder muscle. Perhaps all 3 within the same practice.
Talking from experience – those do NOT feel good. Not my leg, but here’s a great example of what I’m talking about (#goalietats):
Guess who wants to hear you complaining? Nobody. Lacrosse culture is such that goalies wear little padding and need to toughen out and fight through the bruises.
But toughness and strength are masculine qualities.
Society teaches young boys to be tough and rewards them when they are. That’s what we learn growing up. That trait is valued in men.
Not the case with our young girls.
So how do female goalies balance requiring this stereotypically masculine trait with their inherent femininity?
Femininity by definition is not large, not imposing, not competitive. Feminine women are not ruthless, not aggressive, not victorious. It’s not stereotypically feminine to have a killer instinct, to want to win with all your heart and soul to win
And there lies one of the biggest differences and challenges between the games.
The values that make an athlete and a lacrosse goalie successful are encouraged in men but not so much in women.
Something to keep in mind the next time you need to select a goalie for your team and also as you’re coaching your female goalies.
They’re fighting a set of battles that their male counterparts simply do not face.
I’m hardly an expert on this topic and obviously don’t have all the answers but if you’re interested in learning more I suggest you check out this content from Lyndsey Munoz:
Plus get free access to my entire lacrosse goalie toolkit!
About Coach Damon
About Coach Damon
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.