How to Improve Reaction Time

0:20 – Taylor is worried about her reaction time and has reached out to Coach Edwards.
0:41 – See, Know, and Move. Coach Edwards’ 3 Keys.
1:20 – To make a save, the timing is important.
1:28 – Wire your brain to improve your reaction time.
2:05 – Thinking too much can slow you down.
2:33 – Work with your shooter to wire in the shots you need to practice.
3:28 – Releasing your inner ninja.
5:08 – Remind yourself that your body knows what to do and let your brain relax so you can do it.
5:41 – Extra tips on how to improve your movement and reaction time.
6:36 – How to get yourself started right now.

Coach Edwards helps a female goalie break down why her reaction time might be slow and the things you can do to improve it. He outlines the importance of knowing where the ball is, seeing where it’s going, and moving to it.

Description: Coach Edwards receives a question from a women’s goalie. Taylor wants to improve her reaction time and wonders if she is picking up the ball too late. Coach encourages goalies with this problem to work in a stress-free environment so they can wire themselves to react properly to different shots. Allowing your brain to respond to a specific shot in practice will cut down the time your brain spends trying to process what is happening and free you up to drastically improve your reaction time.

Tweetables: there’s three keys to making any save. One, you’ve got to see it. Two, you’ve got to know where it’s going. Three, you’ve got to move to it.

The number one thing I find in a pressure situation that hurts your reaction time is thinking too much.

Taylor’s Question

Hey, it’s Coach Edwards here from and and I’ve got a great lacrosse goalie question right now. This one comes from Taylor and Taylor says:

I’m a freshmen goalie on our women’s high school team. I want to know if you can help me speed up my reaction time. It seems like I’m a split second too late at times. Am I not picking up the ball soon enough? Please help.

See, Know, Move

Okay Taylor, great question. If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know a couple of things. One is, there’s three keys to making any save. One, you’ve got to see it. Two, you’ve got to know where it’s going. Three, you’ve got to move to it. You’ve got to see it, you’ve got to know where it’s going and you’ve got to move to it. That’s it.

Time is of the Essence

What happens though, when the shot comes to the goal, here’s the goal, and here’s the shot, and here’s the ball traveling, this is time. You’ve got a certain amount of time depending on the speed of the shot and how far away it is from the goal to do all these three things. So if the ball’s traveling and you can’t see it until it’s halfway to you, now you have this much time to all of a sudden know where it’s going and then move to it. If you never see it then you don’t have a chance.

The Brain is Like a Computer

In terms of reaction time, the moving to the ball time, reaction time is what most people think of as, “I’m not moving fast enough!” Well you can’t move fast enough until you’ve deciphered this: One, you’ve got to see it. If you can see it, now your brain has to go like a computer, like a zyborg, zoning in on the ball and going, “Blingalingaling – Target Acquired: Ball going stick-side hip.” And then the signal goes to the brain and the brain tells the body, “Move stick-side hip. Compute.” And then boom, there you go.

Don’t Over-Think

The number one thing I find in a pressure situation that hurts your reaction time is thinking too much. This is the time when in practice, when you’re getting shot on in warm-up, when you’re getting shot on by your coach or your best buddy or your favorite player, what you’re doing here is you’re doing the see and the know in a stress-free environment.

Make Demands in Practice

Basically you’re telling the shooter, “I want ten shots off-stick high. Right here.” So your brain can relax because it knows where the ball’s going, your eyes are watching the stick, the shoulder movement, the whole thing, and then the ball comes out and you move and you make the save and you throw it back. Then you do it again, and hopefully the shooter’s accurate enough where they’re going in this general vicinity. Then you work all the way around your body.

The Importance of Wiring Yourself

What you’re doing there is you’re wiring in the “See,” and the “Know.” Then, when you move to it, you’re now in a low-stress environment wiring yourself just like you wire a computer. You hit the F key on the keyboard, an F comes up on the screen. The problem for most lacrosse goalies, especially if they’re young or nervous is, you hit the F key on the keyboard and you get something else on the screen. That’s not what we’re trying to do here, but you can only do it in a stress-free environment.

Pull Out Your Ninja Tricks

In practice, in warm up and drills, you can spend time thinking about this. But when it comes to game day or try outs or whenever you have an opportunity where you’ve got to perform at a high level, the goal is this. This is the trick, and not a lot of people talk about this. You’ve got to shut this down. [The See and the Know.] You’ve got to think that every ball coming at you is a fiery ball of lava or it’s a hundred dollar bill, and every ball that’s coming at you is a hundred dollar bill. What that’s gonna do is trick yourself to basically ramp yourself up mentally, emotionally, physically, so when that ball’s coming at you you’re like, “Hyah!” You pull out all the ninja tricks.

Impressing Yourself

One thing you never even thought you had – every athlete I’ve talked to who has done any form of athletics for any length of time remembers one thing that they’ve done where they’ve amazed themselves, where they’ve totally surprised themselves with how their body reacted. The only way that happens is when the brain shuts down and gets to a relaxed state and the body can just do what it does naturally.

Fight or Flight

It’s the same thing in a fight or flight syndrome. You wake up in a burning house and the fire alarm is going off and you wake up in a panic – your body is pumping adrenaline so that your muscles contract quicker and faster than they ever have before, your senses are more aware, your eyesight is more clear, your sound, your vision, your smell, all of a sudden just goes. It’s hyper aroused, it’s a hyper aroused state. That’s going to help you perform at a high level.

You Know What To Do

When you feel butterflies, that’s a good thing. Your body’s getting ready to perform at a level you’ve never performed at before. But that only happens if you shut down the brain. In practice, you’re going to focus on the see, the know, the movement, all that stuff. It’s going to feel like lead, it’ll be like, “Ugh, okay, whatever.” Come game time to perform, when you get out there, just take a second to take a deep breath, just relax and tell yourself, “My body knows what to do if I can shut my brain off, and that’s going to happen.”

Improving Your Movement Quality

To improve reaction time, we could talk all day about the tips and tricks and how to dissect every one of these things. To improve the “Move” part, get to the gym. If you’re not an overly fit person, anything will make you better. Anything will make you better. I highly recommend for athletes, stay away from cross fit just because the potential for injury is pretty high with uneducated coaches. I’ve seen this day in and day out. I was a strength and conditioning coach for a number of years. I’ve got a pretty serious background in high performance athletics. I would stay away from cross fit.

Maximum Strength

If you could find anybody who can improve your maximum strength, especially for women, if you get around a bunch of power lifters, a bunch of Olympic lifters, just increasing your squat, your dead lift, things that don’t sound very sexy but will make you very athletic and very lean and very explosive. Those will help this part. [Move.]

Get Started Today

Start now. Get with a football coach, get with the strength and conditioning coach for the football team, learn how to bench, squat, and do all those things and get stronger there. Don’t worry about planks and stuff like that. Just go lift. That will make you more explosive as a goalie and a much better lacrosse goalie in the cage.

In Conclusion

Great question, I hope this helps. If you’ve got any questions or comments, please leave them right below this video. Get to the discuss comments, leave me comments, facebook it, like it, tweet it, you name it. I really appreciate it. If you’ve got a question, also feel free to email me at and I’ll talk to you soon. Cheers. And when you’re ready, come work with me one on one.

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Coach Edwards

Coach Edwards

Head Coach

Olympian Jonathan Edwards is "Coach Edwards".  He runs the longest consecutively running lacrosse goalie blog on the planet.  He is the "behind the scenes goalie mind" for some of the top lacrosse goalies on the planet and he has worked with lacrosse goalies from Junior High, to the PLL.  He coaches goalies privately, year round, via video and phone through his Lacrosse Goalie University goalie coaching program.  Don't wait for the summer to get to a camp and don't hire some local college kid who is home on break. Get unbiased goalie coaching from the coach who is changing the game, one goalie at a time.



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