A goalie is a specialist position that takes skill, organization, quick reaction time, and a ton of courage. This article takes a brief look at the basics to work on when trying to improve your goalie game. Covering some of the best and most well-known lacrosse goalie drills, these goalie tips are sure to have you blocking with confidence in no time.
How do you improve your lacrosse goalie skills?
While nothing can truly replicate facing live shots with a lacrosse ball in an intense game situation, there are many ways to refine your all-round goalie game. Remember, the goalie is a specialized position and should be treated as such. Far too many coaches treat the goalie as an afterthought and lay the blame on them when they don't save every shot.
Consider making a lacrosse goalie practice plan by incorporating some of the following lacrosse goalie drills, and take the time needed to become the best shot-stopper you can possibly be.
Lacrosse goalie wall ball drills
Although these drills are normally done against a wall, a lacrosse rebounder is a great way to get even more out of these drills.
Lacrosse agility drills with rebounder can be even more effective at training for the unknown as they can be set to different angles and speeds, allowing you to mix up your goalie training and incorporate more realistic shot situations.
This will improve the goalie's footwork and reaction time because the lacrosse bounce back shots are coming from close range.
- Place a lacrosse goal about 10 feet from a wall, with the goal facing the wall and the goalie standing in the goal.
- Teammates shoot against the wall from behind the goalie, making the ball ricochet unpredictably and giving the goalie good practice at facing shots from a variety of angles.
This drill practices the basics of making a lacrosse save. You need to move your top hand to the ball, use your feet, and keep a clear vision of the ball.
This is one of the easiest lacrosse drills to do by yourself, needing only a stick, ball, and wall or rebounder.
- Stand about 10 feet away from the wall and throw the ball against it.
- Again, it will ricochet unpredictably and you can treat it like an incoming shot.
- Practice the basic rules of making a save in lacrosse by exploding your top hand to the ball, stepping forward with your lead foot, keeping your eyes on the ball, and finishing in a balanced position, primed to make another save.
Lacrosse goalie drills for high shots
This lacrosse goalie workout prepares goalies to face real-time, hard, and accurate shots while giving attacking players a chance to practice, too.
This drill could also be included under lacrosse goalie drills for bounce shots, by adding bounce shots as a finisher when the goalie is warmed up and alert.
- Start with two attackers standing to the right and the left and about 15 yards from the goalie.
- The attackers take turns taking shots at the goal, starting at shoulder height and then moving down to ankle level.
- After 10 shots, the attackers then go back up and aim shots from the ankle up to the shoulders, keeping the goalie active and on their toes by keeping the shots quick and frequent.
Lacrosse goalie footwork drills
This drill helps to keep you in the right place and encourages a squared-off posture, maximizing your accuracy with wide saves. Clearing and passing is an underappreciated aspect of many goalies' game and must be practiced as regularly as an outfielder would!
- Start by standing on the goal line with one foot resting against the left goal pipe while attacking players take shots at the goal. The idea is to maintain proper footwork and lead with your hands toward the ball while staying in position against the goal pipe.
- Start by working on the left side before switching positions to the right goal pipe, so both sides get the same practice.
- After each save, you can also practice your distribution by passing the ball back out to the attacker to start the play again.
Lacrosse goalie clearing drills
Our final drill works on this vital area of a goalie's game - outlet passes and clears. It's not all about blocking and saves! There are two main types of pass you'll need to practice, the bullet pass and the lob pass.
The bullet pass
- You can mark a target on a wall or rebounder with chalk or tape.
- Standing about 20-25 feet away, practice throwing a bullet pass at the target at about 80% power.
- When your accuracy is consistent, increase your power until you are throwing as hard as you can with perfect placement.
The lob pass
- Set up a large bin about 20-25 feet away and practice lobbing the ball into it.
- Continue until you’re scoring into the bin consistently and you master of the lob pass!
Goalie drills takeaway
So there you have it! These men or girls lacrosse goalie drills are guaranteed to help you to improve your footwork, balance, reaction time, and clearing skills.
When you are truly confident between the pipes, your next step is to become the defensive 'manager' and learn how to effectively organize and control the defense in front of you. But first, you need to earn the respect of your teammates by getting the basics right and showing that they can trust you as a goalie.
Use these lacrosse goalie workouts to improve your goalie game, and become a true master of your position!