Coach Jonathan Edwards is back with another informative lacrosse video. In his latest, Coach addresses how lacrosse goalies don’t always live up to their potential, and why. He gives tips on how their coaches can help to inspire them to become better athletes, and stresses the importance on showing each goalie that they are trainable. Coach Edwards offers advice on how to give goalies the motivation to succeed and drills that will help goalies both improve their game and believe in themselves.

0:47 – It can be frustrating to see a goalie who isn’t living up to their potential.
1:17 – Coach Edwards wasn’t a God-gifted athlete.
2:00 – Without motivation, goalies won’t get better very quickly.
2:52 – Any goalie can improve with the right tools and motivation.
3:30 – Creating a bond with your goalie is an easy way to help them get better.
4:24 – Ramp up your practices by drilling one shot.
5:42 – Drilling one shot can give goalies the motivation to succeed.


Hey everyone, Coach Edwards here from and, and I’m here with another update this week. I got a great question from a coach in Florida, initials are M.S., first name is Mike.


I’m a high school coach in Florida. I just watched your video on reaction time and have a quick question. When it comes to reaction time, how much of an elite goalie’s performance is raw genetics versus trained ability? Obviously this is super subjective, but you have seen a lot of goalies so you would be the best one to ask. I’m convinced that clearing, playing out of the crease, etc.,can all be changed dramatically through coaching and practice.

However, I wonder if the same is true for reaction time or is it mainly a God-given talent?



It’s Frustrating When Lacrosse Goalies Don’t Live up To Their Potential

Mike, this is a great question and I sent you an email on this, too. The first thing when I read this type of question is, I sense frustration. And believe you me, I’ve been there. When you have a goalie in the cage who you think should be better than what they currently are showing, and there’s a time when you just put your hands up and go, “Man, only God or whatever can give this kid what he needs to be a better goalie.

Training Creates Athletic Ability

My first thought to this is I go to my own experience personally where I didn’t feel like I was some God-gifted talented athlete. Far from it. My parents were both musicians. I had no older brothers or sisters to kind of help me hone my athletic ability. I wasn’t wrestling with my brothers to get more athletic or playing football in the backyard. I did attend Camp Dudley in Westport, NY, which is the oldest YMCA in America where my athletic ability really started to blossom. But I really just had a love of sports. All of my athletic ability really came from training and really just being exposed and around it.

Lacrosse Goalies Without Motivation May Not Improve

But with that comes a bit of motivation. I wanted to get better. I loved sports, I wanted to get better, and I think what happens to some goalies who get in the cage is they lack that motivation. They may be in the cage because they don’t want to be a middy, they don’t want to be an attack, they don’t want to be a defense, they might not have good stick skills, they might not be all that great athletically so they end up in the cage. Now they’re kind of stuck there and they feel obligated, but they’re not really motivated to be better.

I think what ends up happening as a coach is when we teach any kid how to be better, there has to be some sort of mental switch in them that goes, “Okay, Coach is giving me this information and now I’m going to apply that and I’m going to get better.” Sometimes it just doesn’t happen and that’s really frustrating.

Any Lacrosse Goalie Can Improve With The Right Coaching And Technique

Is stopping a ball a God-given talent? I don’t necessarily believe so. I’ve seen some really talented athletes get in the cage and be horrible goalies. I’ve seen some bad athletes get in the cage and become really great goalies, and that comes down to that motivation switch that I think only they can turn on. As a coach, the one thing that I think we can do is really coach in a way that’s going to be specific for that athlete, it’s going to really help that athlete and it’s going to be that they either need a kick in the pants or they need a hug.

Bonding With Goalies Helps Their Game

Getting with your goalie and really creating some sort of bond that helps them get better and know that you believe in them, they might not have that in their life and that might be something that they need. I was lucky in high school. Before I became an All-American, I had an assistant coach named Mr. Scully. And Mr. Snow, my head coach was positive about me getting better but he was tough on me.

Mr. Scully was the guy who every day he warmed me up, and he was out there warming me up like it was the best part of his day. And I loved that. That really helped me, and I was able to ask him, “Hey, can you work on this? Can you shoot here? Can we do that?” Again, there’s that motivation switch that your goalie may not have, but I think had I not been like that, Mr. Scully would have been the type of coach who would have been like, “Hey, why don’t we work on this today?” And that’s one of the things that I recommend.

Ramp Up Practice By Drilling One Shot

With your goalies, sometimes we hop in the cage and we get shot all around, stick-side high, off-stick high, all those. But one of the things I recommend is to go out today with your goalie and pick one thing in warm up that you’re going to drill. Cut down the warm up. Instead of 10 shots every spot, you’re going to take two.

Two stick-side high, two off-stick high, whatever, but then you’re going to drill one particular shot that your goalie got lit up on in the last game. Maybe that was off-stick low, or maybe it was off-stick hip, but take like 50 shots to that one spot and really ramp it up. If you don’t prioritize the shots the goalie’s never going to get better.

I think that’s one of the things that happens. As a goalie we get in, we do our warm up, and we’re just spending equal time on everything. But we’re not really drilling into one particular save, and that can be really inspiring for a goalie. If you go into practice and you say, “Okay, we’re going to just work on this shot today,” maybe it’s an inside roll and a shot to the far pipe, and you’re going to do 50 of them. You’re going to do so many of them that you if you’re shooting it or your shooter is going to be dizzy by the amount of inside rolls he does. Just pick one thing. One thing.

Drilling One Shot Can Inspire A Goalie To Do Better

As a goalie it’s going to be really frustrating if you feel like your entire game sucks. But if you can take practice today and work on one thing, that goalie then walks away going, “You know what? I got better today doing that,” then that’s going to make them feel good, and that may turn on that motivation switch to help them be better. Take this approach to your practice today. Do one thing to help your goalie, and if you’re a goalie watching this, go to your coach, go to your shooter and say, “Hey, listen, I want to work on this one shot today a bunch. We’re going to do 15 minutes.”

And believe you me, you’re going to be exhausted working on that one save, but what you’ve done is you’ve really wired in making that one stop. And now you’re going to go into the rest of your game and your performance knowing you’ve gotten a little bit better at that one. Now maybe tomorrow you’re going to work on a different shot.


Coach Mike in Florida, this is a complicated question but I want to leave you with this. I think every goalie is trainable. Because I was trainable. I was not gifted with any sort of athletic prowess and I really worked hard for what came to me. And I was not only an All-American, but I was also an Olympian. And that was definitely not a God-gifted talent.

I appreciate the question. Do me a favor. If this resonates with you, leave a comment below this post. Don’t be shy. Just log in to discuss. Leave a comment below so we can further this discussion. This is a great question and I think there are more goalies who have got to believe that they’re trainable, they’re not some lost cause. With work, it’s going to get better. They don’t have to be some innate God-given talent or whatever. They can get in there and work and they can be good too. I really appreciate it. Leave your comment below. Do me a favor. Facebook it, share it, like it, tweet it, all those good things. I really appreciate it. I’m Jonathan Edwards at and I’ll talk to you soon. Cheers.

Recommended Resource

The Lacrosse Goalie's Guide To Visualization Audiobook


Do You Have a Question For Coach Edwards?

8 + 11 =



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This