In today’s video Coach Edwards talks about why lacrosse goaltending is so damned difficult compared to being a goalie in any other sport.

[00:00:06] Hey there Coach Edwards here with and[00:00:10] Welcome to another video. A little bit of a longer video today. It doesn’t matter if you are a new lacrosse goalie or you’re an inexperienced goalie. The question comes up, “Why is lacrosse goaltending so damn difficult?!”.

This Division One Goalie Prospect Is Wondering Why This Is All So Hard

[00:00:23] This week I was on the phone with one of my coaching clients whose a rather experienced lacrosse goalie with Division 1 recruit potential. He’s looking good that way.[00:00:34] But the question came up, “Why is this so difficult? This seems more difficult to be good at lacrosse goaltender than it is to, let’s say, be good as a soccer goalie or a hockey goalie or any other sport. And so you know, I would start by saying that I think every sport, when you get to the elite level, or you’re trying to learn a sport that has elite potential, it’s difficult. And there’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot of good stuff to do to learn.

How You Get Introduced To The Position Makes It Difficult

[00:01:02] But one of the things that happens specifically with lacrosse goaltending is that the way we get into the sport of lacrosse is different than the way you get involved in other sports where you might be a goalie. Let me explain this. This is very popular when I talk to parents especially. They really resonate with this and they go. “I get it now.”.[00:01:26] So this is going to make a lot of sense once I describe it to you. First and foremost, in the sport of field lacrosse, we have no real downgrading or downsizing of the goal at the small, at the younger ages.

The Size Of The Net Is a Big Problem

[00:01:45] Immediately we’re put into a 6 by 6 cage no matter if you’re in third grade or if you’re in high school. Now for years, I’ve been a proponent of scaling down the goal, at least making it five by five,to take away some of the changes in stance and learning that that’s caused by going into a larger cage. And in some places, I know coaches have made custom nets, but primarily because the sport of lacrosse(although it’s growing and it seems big in some places) it is still a relatively small sport. So making nets that come in a five by five is not really a viable option.[00:02:32] Here’s what happens. We take a goalie and we throw them right into a 6 by 6 and we say, “Go.” And what happens is because now we are basically covering or asking a young or a small athlete to cover a big net, the idea that we can then change our stance, or should change our stance, and maybe stand with a stick a little bit more vertical above our head. Things like that that changes the way we learn.

You Can Get Away With Bad Habits When You’re Young But Not When You’re An Older Lacrosse Goalie

[00:03:05] Now, also, what can happen is that we put a young goalie or a small goalie or a new goalie into a big net and we say, “All right, let’s go out there and you can, you know there’s a there’s an attack man coming from the side of the net. And if that goalie runs out and you know basically defends that player at a young age they’re going to make a save.”[00:03:29] I was working with another one of my coaching clients, a dad who has a young female goalie. And this goalie, the first video clip he sent me was nothing but this goalie running out and basically attacking an offensive player and coming up with a save. And you could hear all the parents on the sideline yelling, “Oh yay Great!”.[00:03:52] And I told this Dad, I said, “Listen that’s a good habit that works now. But later that’s really going to hurt her.” Because what’s happening is she’s being able she’s able to kind of get by with a tactic that works at a younger or less skilled age but doesn’t work when that goalie is older that I run into that a lot with both men’s goalies and women’s goalies who, you know when they were young, they were able to kind of come up with a better tactic that worked at that age, but then later they now had spent all his time developing what could be seen now as a bad habit. It got them by when they were younger.[00:04:36] Lacrosse goaltending is difficult because we can get by with some of these things when we’re young or new. Or that or that the level of skill that we’re up against is not as good. But then later, those skills change.[00:04:51] And that’s different than a let’s say ice hockey. You know you never see a young ice hockey goalie skating out of the crease to go attack all the other team’s forwards, because that forward can’t get the puck in the net. We just don’t teach that there.[00:05:09] Same thing is true with soccer where you have smaller nets. Right. And then you’re basically defending a smaller net.[00:05:17] Now the interesting age is when you get to,a U13 level. Where you now put athletes on a full field in a big net but you might see a goalie who is tiny. And now they’re trying to defend the top of the net. But really there you have a different situation in kicking the ball. It’s not like a lacrosse stick where we can have young athletes slinging the ball, really quickly at a young age. You know, doing really good things with a stick. And now that goalie is in trouble because that U8 or U10 kid can sling the ball top corner and that goalie now has to defend two feet above their head.[00:05:59] So but even if you have a goalie who is a large goalie, and now they’re in that cage. This gets me to my next point [50.0] which is protection and padding.

Shooters Develop Faster In Lacrosse Than Any Other Sport

[00:06:11] Lacrosse goaltending is really difficult because when we have an increase in skill and shooters that come up very quickly. More so than any other sport.[00:06:26] In ice hockey for instance, you don’t see kids really making great slap shots at age 13. You may. But you do see it at the high school level. But the bottom line with using hockey as an example, is that puck is always on the ice.[00:06:44] In Lacrosse the ball’s coming from anywhere. Kids can fake. Kids can throw underhand if they want to they can throw behind the back they can throw between the legs. In addition to traditional just a straight up shot over the shoulder.

Advanced Lacrosse Goalies Need Less Equipment.  Young/New Goalies Need More

[00:06:58] A lacrosse goalie that comes in the sport and looks at the best goalies in the sport, those goalies wear very little protection. Why? Well there’s a lot of reasons why.[00:07:11] One, is it looks cooler. Two it feels cooler it’s less bulky. I mean we’re in a spring/summer sport so, you know, wearing a lot of gear doesn’t feel great. So if you can get rid of it, you can.[00:07:23] But primarily the best goalies in our sport are facing shooters who are extremely accurate. All right. So at the elite high school even the elite junior high school. But definitely in college and into the pro ranks and in the international ranks, guys can shoot the ball and pick a corner like that. Especially when they have time and room.[00:07:47] A lacrosse goalie is primarily not stopping shots with their body. They’re stopping shots with their stick. That allows you to basically say well I’m going to pare all this stuff down and I’m not going to weigh myself down with extra equipment. So I can move my hands to the ball and try to save everything when my stick.

Don’t Forget About Your “Base Save Percentage”

[00:08:09] Now what you’ll learn from me is that, I believe that the lacrosse goalie position has completely forgotten about, what I call, the base save percentage.[00:08:21] The base save percentage is basically your body. It’s the square footage your profile takes up in the cage.You know as you move forward, like as I move at the camera here, I’m covering up more of the white board behind me than if I stand back here. Right. So base save percentage is if I come out of the ball there’s less for you to shoot at. Right.[00:08:39] And one of the things to consider is is that when new goalies or younger goalies look at elite goalies, and see they’re not wearing anything, well that’s great for them because the shooters they’re coming about are really accurate.

Don’t Develop The Cloud Of Fear

[00:08:54] But at those younger ages, balls can hit you. What happens is if you’re unprotected and ball hits you, you develop fear. OK. If you’ve seen my three videos at I talk about this the cloud of fear and how it affects a goalies learning while if you’ve come into the sport and you’re not wearing enough and you’re fearful of the ball lacrosse goaltending is really difficult because you are now worried instead of being confident.[00:09:30] Whereas a hockey goalie rarely has that issue. A soccer goalie rarely has that issue because there’s so much space and balls are big and they have padded gloves that are fluffy and things like that. It’s just a different experience.[00:09:44] For a lacrosse goalie that comes in and they’re not protected when they’re young. What makes lacrosse goaltending so difficult is that there’s now more fear involved. All right.

Even Tennis Protects It’s Athletes Better Than Lacrosse Does

[00:09:54] Even in a sport like tennis, like another implement/ball sport tennis at the younger ages, kids develop fear of the ball. They play a smaller court but they use a bigger ball it’s actually softer to take some of that fear away and get the confidence up.[00:10:12] What makes lacrosse goaltending so difficult is a combination of all of these things. So whether you’re an elite goalie who’s wondering like why you have certain habits that you’re trying to break. It probably comes down to the things that I just mentioned: The way you got involved with the sport. The way you’re protected in the sport. What you’re trying to accomplish and how you’re trying to kind of get through it.[00:10:37] The size of the net you played to me when you were younger or the amount of protection you were wearing as you develop, those all make the sport either difficult or easy.

And To Recap

[00:10:48] I wanted to discuss this today because whether you’re a goalie working on your own or you’re a coach or a parent working with a young goalie, the habits your lacrosse goalie has, the development they have, whether they feel like they’re having an easy time of the game lacrosse or they’re having a difficult time playing lacrosse, it usually comes back to these types of things. Like how they got involved in the sport the size the of the net, who they were up against, what they’re getting away with when they are younger. But even if you take a goalie and you throw them in at the high school ranks, and they maybe didn’t have that experience, and they’re a big goalie and they’re fitting that the cage is an appropriate size for them. Well now you’re dealing with protection issues and fear of the ball issues beecause the shooters are accurate they can fake more than any other sport even a soccer player can’t fake with their feet like a lacrosse player can fake with their hands.[00:11:49] You know a hockey a hockey player can maybe we’ll pull a puck from their forehand backhand and that’s a big swing that’s it might be like a 8 foot 10 foot range that goalie now needs to move but it doesn’t comparable across because the puck is always on the ice right as opposed to a lacrosse ball that can be moving and you can be shot from 360 degrees around the shooter’s head.[00:12:13] That’s why lacrosse goaltending is so damn difficult. And if you’re having a hard time with it or you’re having a hard time as a coach working with a goalie. These are things to consider as you’re working with that goalie. You’ve got to kind of back it up and see what’s the foundation of this lacrosse goalie. Where was there maybe a crack in the foundation. What do you need to fix now in order to help that lacrosse goalie move forward.[00:12:39] Longer post today. I appreciate you watching. Do me a favor and leave me a comment below. If you’ve got a question you can email me. or fill out any of the forms available on the site.Why Is Lacrosse Goaltending So Damned Difficult?![00:12:50] By all means leave me a comment. Let me know what you think and share this would you share this with a goalie a coach or a parent needs to see it who maybe have an issue with their goalie. But listen last little thing, in Lacrosse Goalie University. I talk a lot and I go into depth on all the blog posts you see on the site we go to more depth really take a goalie from a to z. It’s the most robust coaching resource for lacrosse goalies, their parents and coaches around. I hope to see you on the inside there but if you enjoy this one today. Send me a note and I’ll see you in the next video. Cheers.

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