In his latest podcast, Coach Jonathan Edwards shares the concept of draw and dump with lacrosse goalies. Goalies with teammates who aren’t in formation and unprepared to protect the ball will benefit from the draw and dump technique. Coach Edwards gives goalies tips on how to draw in their opponent so that they can easily pass the ball to an open teammate.

0:14 – When a goalie leaves the crease, most people start to get pretty nervous.
0:37 – Coaches should treat goalies like any other player, and goalies should improve stick skills.
1:20 – Coach Edwards‘ experience coaching a goalie who always passed to covered defensemen.
1:52 – The right way and the wrong way for a lacrosse goalie to clear the ball.
2:43 – Keeping the team in formation during a clear is important. It’s not all the goalie’s fault if things go wrong.
4:14 – Coaches shouldn’t put goalies as backup after warm up, they should be learning stick skills with skilled offensive players.


Coach Edwards here with and with another podcast. I want to talk about understanding the concept of draw and dump.

The Pucker Factor

For a lot of goalies, when they get out of the crease with the ball, everybody starts to get full on pucker factor. Everybody’s butt starts to clench up a little bit, especially the coaches. They’re thinking, “Oh my God, ahh, the cage. We’re gonna lose the ball, and then the ball’s going to go back in the cage because there’s nobody who is going to be in the cage.”

Develop Stick Skills

Listen. You’ve got to treat your goalie like every other player on the field. As a goalie, if you’re listening to this and you’re a goalie, you’ve got to develop stick skills that allow you to be confident outside of the cage as any other player would on a clear. We’re not talking about you need to roll dodge, bold dodge, split dodge everybody up the field, we just want you to have the confidence to be able to take the ball, draw an opposing team’s player, and then pass to your open teammate. That’s it. A lot of goalies I see, they get out of the cage and they pass the ball to a covered teammate and they let them go one on one and hope. Usually that ends up troublesome.

Passing to Covered Defensemen

A couple of years ago, I worked with a goalie in California. I do a lot of online coaching of goalies across North America, and this goalie was pretty decent, a good goalie, but he would make a pass to a defenseman who was covered. And that defenseman, who wasn’t really all that skilled, a lot of his defensemen didn’t have good stick skills – they were good athletes, they just didn’t have good stick skills – they would get doubled or they would get jumped and lose the ball and the goalie would get a pretty high quality shot taken on him. A lot of times they would score so this was really frustrating, obviously.

The Wrong Way to Pass Versus the Draw and Dump

What I see, and I see this a lot in the women’s game especially, is that the goalie will stand there. In the women’s game everyone is covered and the goalie will try to pass to somebody once they get open just a little bit and hopefully they make the pass, and then that player will run the ball downfield. That’s not how clears are supposed to work. When we get a goalie out of the cage, we’ve got an advantage. As long as we’re even strength and there’s no penalty, we get out of the cage and we draw an attackman and we pass to the next player. Or we draw a middy and pass to our middy, then down the field it goes. Draw, dump, draw, dump. Draw an opposing player, dump to the open man. Draw the opposing player, dump to the open woman. That’s the gist of it.

If the Team Isn’t In Formation, it’s a Problem

When a goalie gets out of the cage, it’s only a panic if nobody’s in the right position. If the goalie gets flushed out of the cage and the defensemen aren’t where they’re supposed to be, then that’s a problem. Usually the problem is not that the goalie left the cage, the problem is that the defense and the middies and the other players on the team aren’t in the proper formation to have a successful clear. Coaches need to realize that. They need to go, “Well wait. When my goalie leaves the cage, it means that for the men, after 4 seconds, nobody got open, nobody busted their butt enough to get open.”

Using Draw and Dump for an Easy Pass

Whose fault is that? The goalie’s problem? No. It’s the team’s problem. So if we want to have success on the clear, we’ve got to get everybody in the right position and then we can set up the ability to draw and dump. And what’s amazing is that when people are in the right position and your goalie understands how to draw and dump, you can take a kid with pretty bad stick skills and have a successful first pass on a clear because there’s enough space and that goalie can then make a really simple pass to an open player, and down the field they go.

Space Out Your Players

I see so many coaches who, they’ll put a middy down. They’ll try to run the ball down the field because basically nobody can pass and catch on the defensive end of the field, and really, I guarantee you this, that if you space people out enough and you have them in the right positions on a clear, that the draw and the dump will be successful and you will have much more successful clears. So keep that in mind.

Don’t Use Goalies as a Backup

Understand the draw and dump and use it to your effectance, but do this. After you take your warm up, don’t backup the other goalie. Coaches, please. Don’t have your goalie, one of the most valuable people on your field, just work as a backup. Get somebody’s younger brother to come along and do that. Get your goalie into the line drills. And not with the defensemen. Get them with the middies. Get them with the attackmen. Get her with the offensive players, not with the D.

Make Goalies Serviceable for Successful Clears

Get them up there with your most offensive skilled players to really set the tone that they need to work on their stick skills and they need to be effective and serviceable so that you can have successful clears. The most frustrating thing as a goalie who makes a great save and then the team can’t get the ball to the offensive end. That’s it. And drawing and dumping is really the first step to that. So understand draw and dump.


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