I got this email recently and wanted to post my answer without revealing this goalies name or stats. So I’ve replaced any personal info with generic terms in parentheses. I think there are a lot of goalies going through this same decision. Hopefully my answers help.
Question: Dear, Jonathan
My name is (name withheld).
I have recently graduated from high school in (a midwestern town not known for lacrosse) . The sport of lacrosse was introduced to me two years ago when I moved to (this town) from (another state in the west). long story short, I have done very well and flourished in the sport because I have played center in hockey all my life and I thought I’d try goal because no one else was “stepping to the plate”. I had received a few awards like all state and fewest goals allowed by the time my two seasons had ended. The reason I write is because I plan to go all the way east to (a school in) new york and play in the NJCAA to expand my love and education of the sport.
I love the sport and I want to persue it. (This New York school) seems very good to go to because I would have the opportunity to play other great junior colleges like onondoga and monroe etc while I get better grades. I’ll be away from my family. I’ll be THE shortest keeper there (5′ 6″), and no one will know me. How do I earn respect outside of stopping the ball? or is that all I can do to get it?
bottom line, I’ve been playing for two years and I know I have immense potential. Could I get any tips to cope? I’m very outgoing, but I will be playing with other keepers that have been playing all their lives. They are in their prime and I have yet to reach my desired point of success. any advice for my situation?
-thank you for your time.
Answer: Hey there. Once you step in the cage, and they see that your game is up to par, you will be accepted. In the fall when you get to school you’re going to want to meet the other lacrosse guys and get out there and play. You may even have some fall ball type practices. Get a lot of shots. Work on your game. There are a lot of short goalies out there so don’t look at that as a hinderance. I was only 5’7″ so you’re not that short.
Your learning curve will be steep but the more you play out there the better. Find someone who want to work on their shooting and get in the cage. A lot. You’ll be up to speed in no time. Watch the best goalies on the team and learn from them. Be a sponge.
Lots of goalies feel that reaching success in lacrosse is like climbing a ladder. You may feel that you are on a lower rung of the ladder (height, experience, home town, whatever) But that is not the case. I view it more like being on the spokes of a wheel. We’re all headed in our own direction trying to get to the wheel. If you focus more than the rest, if you work smarter than the rest, you will get to the rim sooner. You’re don’t have to wait to leapfrog guys. Just work on your game and make the most of your opportunities when you get them and you will be a starter.
Most JUCO’s are huge party schools. Keep your head on straight. Stay away from the partys or at least keep yourself in control. More kids around you will fail just because they can’t handle being away from home and will fall into party mode. You’ll beat a lot of kids just if you can keep your head on straight.
Hope that helps. Let me know how things go.
Jonathan – The Goalie Guru