How To Break Bad Habits in an 8th Grade Goalie

Question: Good afternoon Jon, My name is (Coaches name witheld) and I was given your info from the varsity coach from (School name witheld) High School Women’s Lacrosse program in Michigan. I am a coach for two local girl’s lacrosse clubs; (witheld) Lacrosse and (witheld) Girls Lacrosse Club. I am writing this email with the hope that you can provide advice for a troubling issue I am having with one of our 8th grade goalies. The athlete in question has been playing lacrosse four years, of which the last three years have been exclusively as a goalie for the two aforementioned clubs. The issue is this: Whenever a shooter is inside the 8-meter arc and circling tight around the front of the crease, our goalie leans forward, bending at the waist, reaches out and appears to try to use her goalie stick to poke check the shooter’s stick. The result has been invariably that her poke check fails to reach the shooter who simply shoots the ball over the top of the goalie, into the upper net of the cage. When I speak with our goalie afterward, she says she does not realize she is bending at the waist, and states she is merely reacting to the shooter. During recent conversations with other area coaches and collegiate goalies I meet at camps, I am told our goalie is not remaining patient but I have yet to find a solution that will break our goalie of this bad habit. I have had numerous discussions with the goalie about ‘playing big’ and stepping out towards the shooter to take away shooting...