No matter how great of a goalie you are now, all lacrosse goalies start from zero. We all have to start somewhere.
Today we’ll cover a question I got via email regarding tips for first time lacrosse goalies. Always feel free to email me any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey Coach Damon –
I recently switched from attackman to goalie this year. My school needed another goalie so I decided, why not? To my surprise the first practice I had as a goalie I did pretty well but am now looking to continue to rest of the season as a goalie. Any tips for first time lacrosse goalies?
Thanks for the question RJ.
Your story of starting out in another position and then switching to goalie sounds very familiar to mine.
I started out playing middie before making the switch to netminder when our team needed a backup goalie.
Now after playing an entire collegiate career in goal and coaching goalies for about a decade, let me share my tips for first time lacrosse goalies.
Feeling protected will give you more confidence and help eliminate the innate fear that comes with someone firing a 90 mph rubber bullet in your direction.
It’s funny how many times I’ve seen attackman, middies, or first-time goalies step into the crease using bad equipment, like a chest protector from the 80’s that doesn’t even fit them.
Below is a quick breakdown of the equipment a new lax goalie will need. For a full in-depth description on gear check out: The Lacrosse Goalie Gear Guide.
Throat Guard – Since you play attack you can use the same helmet, just attach a throat guard.
Lacrosse Goalie Gloves – You’ll need to upgrade to goalie gloves. The gloves you use to play attack won’t provide the protection you’ll need when facing shots. In addition to stronger padding to protect your hands, the goalie gloves have a reinforced thumb to prevent injury.
Athletic Supporter – I’d also recommend an upgrade to this piece of equipment as getting hit where the sun doesn’t shine is extremely painful. Warrior’s Nutt Hutt will give you the protection you need.
Chest Protector – Many great options when it comes to chest protectors. Newer models have reinforced heart protection.
Goalie Stick – Saving the last for the most obvious. You’ll need a goalie stick. You can either buy a complete stick or purchase a head, shaft, and a goalie stringing kit and string the goalie head yourself. Since you’re just starting out, the first option will be easier but learning how to string a goalie head is worth the investment in time.
Shin Guards – An optional piece of equipment but one that will help you feel protected and help you avoid the horrible pain that is taking a ball to the shins.
This is more than enough drills for a 1st-time goalie, or any lacrosse goalie for that matter.
Many goalies and coaches are always looking for new drills when execution is what matters most. Like a weight trainer who searches and searches for the perfect workflow plan when really just getting in the gym and lifting weight is the most important thing at that level.
Pick 3-5 drills from the list above and work them into your practice sessions.
5. Shots, Shots, Shots
Goalies must face shots. That’s what we do.
There’s no substitute for live shots. As you’re taking shots you can put everything you’ve learned into practice.
For beginner goalies, you can follow this warmup plan to ensure you’re getting a great mix of shots.
If you don’t have a goalie coach, you can set up an iPhone to record your warmup. After practice, watch the video and see which areas of your game need work. Are you making a direct move to the ball? How is your save technique?
The final tip for new goalies – get as many shots as you can. Practice makes perfect.
I recommend playing as much goalie as you can. The more shots you see the better you will become.
Getting time and experience in the cage will help you perfect the save technique and help you gain the confidence needed to become a great lax goalie.
Goalies Need Stick Skills
One thing you have in your favor by knowing the position of attack is that you should already have solid stick skills.
I generally recommend that goalies not get in net until they can catch and throw properly.
Lacrosse goalie is definitely not an easy position.
That’s great to hear that you had some success in your first practice but I would say that’s not the norm.
At first, most new goalies will flinch when someone rips a shot at them. That’s natural.
It takes time to develop the confidence not to flinch and the quick reactions and perfect save technique required to stop shots. So don’t get discouraged if you’re giving up a lot of goals at first. That will happen.
Instead, focus on having fun. Making a great save is one of the better feelings in the world so rejoice a little bit every time you make a save.
Hopefully, your teammates are supporting you and going crazy each time you make a save. Be sure to do the same when they make great plays and you’ll definitely get the love back.
Remember to have fun and you’ll be surprised how your goalie game will improve.
Focus on the Basics
The position of goalie can be quite complex.
But one of the things I recommend to new goalies is to focus on the basics.
This is even great advice for experienced goalies who find themselves in a rut. Focus on the basics that I described above.
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.