When it comes to coaching young lacrosse goalies you’ve got a lot to be concerned about. After all they are one shot away from getting hurt and wanting to quit. So let’s make sure we do this right. In today’s video, Coach Edwards breaks down four great tips for coaching young lacrosse goalies. Follow these tips or risk losing your goalie forever. Follow these tips and put them on a path to greatness.
Four Great Tips For Coaching Young Lacrosse Goalies
Tony asks: “What are some fundamental tips for coaching young lacrosse goalies.”
My answer: It doesn’t really matter if you’re dealing with U5, U8, U12, or even a high school goalie. Starting them right is critical and the first place you’re going to want to focus is with their Physical Ability.
Focus On Their Physical Ability
You can start getting a lacrosse goalie stronger physically at ANY age. Don’t wait. (Check out my Three Keys video to learn why.)
If a goalie is weak physically that’s going to lead to lack of confidence in the cage. It has never failed, when I have a goalie who is strong physically they develop a confidence over the ball. If they are weak physically and it looks like the ball is going to rip through their chest like a wet paper bag, they don’t need more shots…they probably could learn how to do a push up.
Because from strength comes confidence. And from confidence comes a better base ability to stand in front of a ball destined to hurt if it hits you.
But this isn’t exclusive to lacrosse goalies because it’s true with all sports and it’s a fundamental component to all the athletes I work with.
Work On Their Stick Skills (In General)
With young and new lacrosse goalies, they are weak in their body and weak in their hands to wield a stick. So get a stick in their hands as much as possible.
And it doesn’t have to be a goalie stick. A goalie stick is big, cumbersome, heavy. How well do you think they will be able to move that? It’s like doing a curl with a fifty pound dumbbell versus a five pound dumbbell. You don’t just keep trying to lift the fifty pound do you?
Now that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I know. But seriously. Think about what your goalie needs to get to, and then progress. I talk a lot about progression inside Lacrosse Goalie University
Focus On Building Confidence
Confidence is so huge for a lacrosse goalie! We can make a lacrosse goalie better…quicker…if we maintain their confidence than if we try to get them to “suck it up” or “tough it out.”
I was in a coaches discussion group on Facebook and was sick to my stomach at the insensitive, outdated, just-plain-ignorant comments about how a goalie should be coached. It floored me. And it’s one of the reasons I started my own Facebook group for lacrosse goalies, parents and coaches. In my Facebook Group: Creating The Lacrosse Goalie of the Future I help goalies all day avoid the common pitfalls that keep good goalies from being great.
The main way to build confidence in a lacrosse goalie are:
- Wear protection! Listen, you don’t have to wear it forever. But you are new or young, or just feel a little tentative about getting hit somewhere, pad up.
- Move the shooters back. Put down a stick or a cone or get some field marking paint and put a line on the field. Just move them back.
- Use tennis balls. Seriously. If college programs can use tennis balls in 3v2 drills, you can probably be using them with your goalie.
They use softer balls and small courts in tennis. Tennis!! Where the ball is already soft. So if those tennis kids can do that, so can you.
If you do lose the confidence in a goalie, check out this blog here. It’s an oldie but goodie.
Become Goalie Specific
If you’re dealing with lacrosse goalies who are U8 or U10 I’m not a fan of being goalie specific, yet. We need those kids to get out of the cage and play out in the field to develop themselves physically and to learn the game from other areas of the field.
A goalie who understands how the atttack play, and how the defense plays, or the midfielders, they start to learn offenses and defenses. Being a good lacrosse goalie isn’t just about stopping the ball and running a clear.
Understand that the approach to improving a lacrosse goalie, at any age, is primarily the same. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to creating a recruitable lacrosse goalie.