Stepping To The Ball

Hey, it’s Coach Edwards here from and I want to welcome you to this week’s blog post. I’m going to do something a little bit different. I’ve been asked a lot this year about the question of stepping to the ball, stepping, should you step toward the ball, should you step sideways, and the title of this post is “Why stepping to the ball is wrong.” I want to set you straight.

What I’ve done is, I’ve taken a clip from my Stepping To The Ball DVDs, or my Moving To The Ball DVDs, whichever, I keep waffling back and forth between what I’m calling it, but this year I created a 2 DVD set called Stepping to the Ball. The first part of the DVD talks about why stepping to the ball is wrong. Let’s cut to that, and I’m going to show you exactly why stepping to the ball is wrong. Here we go.

Stepping To The Ball DVD Footage

Here the lines show you how far I need to move to make a save. If I step to the ball, if my initial move is to the ball, I may never get to that line to make the save. You’ve heard my Three Keys to Making Any Save. You’ve got to see the ball, you’ve got to know where it’s going, and then you’ve got to move to the ball.

Well, if I pick up a shot from out there and I move to the ball, and that ball is aiming here, I may never get far enough in the time that it takes for that ball to meet me here, I may never get far enough to actually make the save.


Now, I’ve got a stick in my hand, right? That’s going to give me more reach. I understand that. But still, the bottom line is this. There’s an amount of time between when the ball leaves the shooter’s stick to when it’s going to meet the goal line. This is the goal line. And I have to get in front of that before it gets there. So in this case, when I step to the ball, I’m trying to meet it somewhere out here.

Don’t Just Step Forward

This is a big step. This is a big step – it’s a full lunge for me. As we’ll get into later, we’re going to talk about the adjustment step. But the bottom line is this. If I step to the ball, I may never get far enough where I’m actually going to cut that ball off here. And also, by stepping forward, I am shortening the amount of time I have to get in front of that ball. That makes sense? One, I may not get far enough. Two, I’m actually attacking the ball, which we’ll talk about that later, but I’m attacking that ball which is shortening my time that I have to get there.

Using A T-Square

What I want to show you to prove this to you, I brought a drywall T-square. You can get these at Home Depot. What this does is I’m going to line this up. This is perpendicular. This is a square. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So I’m here and I set up my T-square, and this stripe is the middle of the cage. If I’m in this stance, my goal is going to be in position to receive the ball when it comes to me so that I give up less rebounds. I want to have the most time to do that. I’m not going to step backwards. That’s not the goal. The shortest distance between me and the line where the ball can go, the shortest distance is a straight line, and that is relatively straight.

Why Lateral Steps Are Best

So for me to get in front of that ball in the fastest amount of time is to move with this T-square. Move with this straight line that the T-square creates. Because of that, you can see here by using the T-square, that my step is not forward. We used to teach, “Hey, take a 45 degree step at the ball. I used to do line drills, and I’ve got those in Lacrosse Goalie University, I’ve got Walking The Line drills.

What happens is, we walk the line and we’re trying to make distance, and we end up going too far, too straight, in 45 degree steps, which is wrong. Not what we need to do. Stepping to the ball is wrong. We need to step laterally so that we can be in front of the ball as fast as possible. I’m going to recognize that shooter shooting the ball stick-side high, I’m moving laterally across the T-square, using my hips to move, and I am now in position to make the save. That’s the bottom line. The T-square proves that we do not want to step to the ball. We want to step laterally.

Don’t Base Your Main Move On Rarity

Back to that argument of, “Hey, if you want to step laterally then you may be out of position on a bad bounce.” I got it. I understand it. Bad bounces happen. However, they are rare, and we do not base our main move on rarity. We base it on the majority. The majority is that shots from outside, middies, attackmen, shots with time and room, Paul Rabel winding up from the top of the box, I’ve got to get in front of that shot as soon as I recognize where it’s going, I see it, I know where it’s going, I’ve got to get in front of that as fast as possible. I am moving laterally, not vertically. Not forward. The T-square proves it.

Invest In A T-Square

I highly recommend that you go get one. They’re not that expensive. Go to Home Depot, get one, take it, put it on the ground, see where you gotta go, and you’ll realize that this is basically a flat line. I’ll move this back basically to goal line extended. I’m stepping laterally but basically my foot is moving forward about 4 ½ inches. That’s it. Stepping to the ball is wrong. That is why. Use it. I hope it improves your game. It’s phenomenal. We’ll mess around with this a little more later in our DVDs and in Lacrosse Goalie University, so I hope it helps you. We’ll start there, and now we’re moving on. Cheers.

Stepping To The Ball Is Wrong

I hope you enjoyed that clip. I’ve been watching on YouTube lately, there are a lot of posts that keep popping up from goalie coaches who, I don’t know who they are or where they’re from, but they’re talking about why you should step to the ball or you should step beyond the ball. All that stuff makes no sense. From a physics standpoint, a lot of it makes no sense. I hope my explanation about why stepping to the ball is wrong makes sense to you.


I know I’m going to get some feedback on this. Do me a favor. Leave me a comment below and let’s continue this conversation so I can clarify it in case you have any questions. I’m Coach Edwards with and Are you a member of Lacrosse Goalie University? Be sure to check it out, and by all means do me a favor. Share this post, tweet it, like it, google plus it, pin it. I’d really appreciate it and I’ll talk to you real soon. Cheers.



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