Breaking Bad Habits for Lacrosse Goalies

Breaking bad habits is what every lacrosse goalie is really looking to do.  We get in the cage and we are immediately full of bad habits and that’s why we can’t stop the ball.  In this episode, Coach Edwards talks about how to eliminate bade habits and replace them with good ones.

Lacrosse Goalie Transcript

[00:00:20] Alison asks how to break bad goaltending habit.[00:00:55] Coach Edwards addresses athletic stance.[00:01:19] Coach Edwards on female goalies and core strength.[00:01:46] Coach Edwards summarizes how to move to the ball.[00:02:11] How breaking bad habits is like vinyl records.[00:02:54] Coach Edwards explains the wiring of the goalie.[00:03:12] Coach Edwards gives advice on creating new habits.[00:04:05] Pitching machines to help break bad habits.[00:04:34] Alison asks how to practice goaltending offseason.[00:05:09] Coach Edwards on the importance of getting stronger physically.[00:05:57] Working on wall ball drills, strength, and stick ability.[00:06:38] Coach Edwards recommends practicing stick skills with a shorter men’s stick with a pocket.[00:06:44] Thanking Alison and recommending LacrosseGoalieUniversity.com for further questions.

The Breaking Bad Habits Question

Coach Edwards here, and I have a really good question from Alison. She’s asked a couple of really good questions so I wanted to go over them today.

“I’ve watched some of your videos and I’ve got to say that it’s helped a lot. I’m one of those goalies that isn’t afraid to step to the ball, even with my ankle sprained three times I look like an avatar with all my bruises.”

Alison, good job. Way to pad up and make it happen. It’s not always pretty but it’s what we’re there for.

“I’ve got two questions. First off, I’ve got this habit of using my body more than my stick. I know that being a goalie is about stopping the ball with anything, but sometimes I don’t always get my body there on time, and then I don’t even move my stick because I rely on my body. I was wondering if you had any tips on breaking this habit so that I can use my stick and still use my body.”

The Breaking Bad Habits Answer

Alison, the first thing you’ve got to look at is your stance. If your athletic stance is one where you’re basically sitting back a little bit and your shoulders are more stacked above your hips than they are in front of your hips, and you’re taking more of a position where you’re receiving the ball as opposed to necessarily sprinting forward, that’s going to make it harder for you to move down to shots especially.

A lot of female goalies I see lack core strength, and I hate using that word core, because it’s a bit of a buzz word, but it’s basically abdominal strength and strength through their hips to be able to drive their body down to the ball wherever it needs to go. If you’re weak, that may be something that’s affecting that. And it’s probably compounding the fact that now you might not even be moving your stick at all to the ball because you’re just relying on getting a foot there.

When we move to a ball, especially a low shot, let’s say stick-side low, I’m a right-handed goalie so my first move is going to be with that right foot. I’m going to be driving off of my left glute, my left hip, out with my right foot, and then I’m getting my head over the ball, my hands over the ball, and my hands there.

Change Your Balance To Move Faster To The Ball

If you’re not doing any of that. If you’re just basically getting the foot there and the upper body is staying up and the hands are staying up.  Then we’ve got a really bad habit that we’ve got to break. So if you want to look up what a record is, talk to your parents. A lot of you young guys may not know this. A record, before CDs, was a piece of vinyl that had a groove in it., and inside that groove was the song.

Let’s think of the song like how you move to the ball. The needles in that groove playing that song and if you’re not moving correctly, it’s playing the wrong song. The only way we can fix that habit, that song that you’re playing right now, is if we wipe the slate clean, if we wipe that record clean and start making a new groove.

I call this the wiring of the goalie. Right now, your wiring is off, right? That ball is going stick-side low and you’re only putting your leg there. You’re not playing the rest of the song, getting your head there, getting your hands to it. The way we do this is by getting you out of the cage. You don’t need equipment, you don’t need a shooter, you don’t even need your stick.

Eliminate Stress To Move Faster To The Ball

I want you to get out of the cage and I want you to work on moving to the ball properly in a no-stress situation. No shooter, no nothing. Don’t worry about getting hurt, don’t worry about having your equipment on you. I just want you to slow down your movements and start re-wiring yourself for better movement to the ball, because we can’t do something in a stressful situation that we haven’t mastered in a slow situation.

So to break this habit and get a new habit, we’re not just breaking a new habit, we’re replacing an old habit. So break it down, get out of the cage, and start doing it over and over and over again. Once you’ve mastered it slowly, now get out there with a shooter who you trust and slow the pace of the ball down or have them move back and work on moving to the ball.

Using a Baseball Pitching Machine Can Help

A pitching machine actually works really well in this situation, because you can dial in where that ball is going. By knowing where it’s going so you can just focus in a safe manner on how to move to the ball. Then when you get into a game situation and you shut off your brain, what’s going to happen is your eyes are going to see that ball and all of a sudden your body is going to take over and move with that new habit that you’ve created.

Give that a shot and tell me how that goes, okay? Second question:

How To Improve With No One Shooting On Me

“I’ve only played lacrosse during lacrosse season. It makes the beginning of the season tough. I was wondering if there were any independent goalie training things that I could do. Because I don’t always have someone to shoot on me, or even a goal to use. I was thinking about using a pitching machine to practice by myself but they’re kind of expensive. I was also thinking I could put a bucket on the field and aim at it as if to clear someone, but that’s just an idea.”

Alison, those are great ideas. What you can do, if you can get a hold of a pitching machine, great. As I mentioned it can be helpful just working on that wiring of good habits and breaking bad habits and knowing where the ball’s going and then moving to it.

The number one thing I recommend to goalies, if you don’t have an opportunity to play lacrosse but you understand the game, you understand what you should be doing, how you should be moving, the number one thing you can do is get stronger physically.

The Three Keys To Making Any Save For Lacrosse Goalies

There are three keys to making every save, right? See it, know where it’s going and then move to it. The moving to the ball part is the one that usually gives us the most trouble. So if we can get stronger physically and more explosive physically, we’re going to be able to move to the ball better and it’s going to take less time and we’re going to make more saves.

Also, the improvement we make with our strength is really going to help us when we are going to run out of the crease or go to pass the ball on a clear, all those things are going to help. It’s actually going to improve your accuracy too.

Now, if you want to have the stick in your hand and you just want to do stuff, by all means. Go by a wall, work on your wall ball drills, work on your strength and your stick abilities. That’s going to help you in the cage too. I’ve never seen a bad goalie that had really good stick skills, and I’ve always seen kids with good stick skills hop in the cage and do really, really well.

Why Great Stick Skills Makes Great Lacrosse Goalies

I could think of middies and attack men who at the end of the season they just hop in the cage and do really well because they have good stick skills. So don’t even worry about using your goalie stick, get a short men’s stick with a pocket in it so you can work on your wrists and work on your strength.

Alison, great questions, thanks for that.

If you’re watching this and you have a question, feel free to email me at coachedwards@lacrossegoalieuniversity.com. I’ve got jonathan@inseasonhome.com, lots of free stuff over there. But if you want to be a member of our coaching group, by all means, join us at lacrossegoalieuniversity.com for less than the cost of a DVD every month, you’re going to get coaching by me to help you with your lacrosse game.

So if you wanted to check that out, head over to Lacrosse Goalie University and send me an email, okay?

Again, Alison, great question. If you’ve got a question about breaking bad habits feel free to email me, that’s what I’m here for guys. Thanks very much, I’ll talk to you soon.

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