Can a Lacrosse Goalie Stop Every Shot?

Hey lacrosse goalie, Coach Edwards here with and and welcome to everybody who headed over to which is one of my new projects, and signed up for the Free Goal Getting Guide for Athletes. Big shout out this week to new lacrosse goalie, parents and coaches in Vienna, VA, Brighton, MI, and Clinton, New York.  That’s just a handful of a bunch of new subscribers who we have this week.

Listen, this week’s questions comes from…well…I got a handful of emails from the East Coast this week and…one of them stuck out to me.  Parents and coaches are watching a lot of college lacrosse these days as we get further into the spring.  With the tournament coming around there are a lot of people clicking on checking things out, and basically the email I got was saying, “Man the ball moves so fast!  How does a college goalie even have a chance to stop it?”

Here’s a couple of thoughts:  1)  If you saw my post The Lacrosse Goalie of the Future Part 1 and Part 2 I talk about some of the changes I’d love to see happen in the game.  But lots of those changes aren’t going to happen any time soon.

But in the meantime, the best lacrosse goalies still have one trait in common which is...they believe that they can stop every ball.

You know, as a lacrosse goalie, are some shots harder to stop than others?  Of course there are.  However, a goalie still needs to believe that they need to stop every ball and the best goalies believe that 100%.

There Are No Good Or Bad Lacrosse Goals

So a couple of things…as a coach one thing I try to instill with all of my goalies is that there is no right or wrong or good or bad goals there is only learning.

If there is a shot taken from 20 yards out from with time and room, that’s one type of shot.  A guy on the crease who fakes you out of your shorts twelve times…that’s a higher rate of difficulty obviously.  But as a lacrosse goalie you want to keep challenging yourself.

I always talk about the three keys to making any save:  You’ve got to see the ball.  You’ve got to know where it’s going.  And you’ve got to move to it.  Most breakdowns come down to when a goalie over-commits to make a save and they get themselves out of position and then they don’t have time to recover and get their feet set and move someplace else.

Some goalies make amazing saves out of the blue and the best advice I heard about that is from a hockey goalie coach I had years ago named Joe Bertagna who was the goalie coach for the Boston Bruins.

The Best Advice I Got From a Hockey Goalie Coach!

Joe said, “A goalie who makes an amazing save is really a goalie that was out of position.”  So while we get excited about the goalie making those saves they were really caught out of position but they managed to recover somehow and get a piece of the ball and make a save.

One of the things that I’d advise every athlete and specifically every parent, because a lot of coaching happens in the car ride home from the game or to the game.  Being a goalie parent is one of the hardest things out there and when you’re trying to boost your athlete, one of the things you might say out of love is, “Hey listen, that was a really tough shot, you’re not expected to save that one.”  You might have said that out of love but the problem is that something we don’t necessarily want to keep instilling in our athlete.  We don’t want them to think that there are some balls that they should stop and others that they shouldn’t.

What we want them to understand is that they will get better to make those saves some day soon.  They may not make it right now, but they need to believe that we’re going to get better someday.

If you hear your athlete, here’s a little trick that I use with my son who is ten years old.  He’ll say what a lot of kids say which is, “I’m so bad at that,” or “when this situation happens I always mess it up.”  You have to say “cancel, cancel, restart, level up” and say this…”I presently struggle with…”

Watch Your “Ant’s”

This is one of the best vocab tricks that you can use in any sport or situation.  Change it to “I presently struggle with.”

What does that do?  That reframes the missed goal or the missed save and it basically says that someday I will make that save.  It’s a way for the brain to make a switch because that’s really important.

Coaches and parents, don’t let your goalies off the hook.  Out of love you will say, “You’ll get that some day.”  Tell them it’s going to come.  It’s going to happen.  That shot might have been hard today but you’re going to get it someday real soon.

Don’t say, “Hey…you’re not supposed to save those shots.  They’re too hard.”

We all love the lacrosse goalie who, when they get faked out twelve times on the crease, but they stick with it and they make that miraculous save.  Everybody is cheering and we want to instill that in our lacrosse goalies.

So instill in your goalies a belief that they can make every save.  They might currently struggle with a current type of shot now but that doesn’t mean they will struggle with it long term.

As they get bigger, faster and stronger and have more experience, they will make those saves.  So instill that in your goalies.

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