Coach Jonathan Edwards addresses a Division 1 freshman goalie’s concerns. It is common for Division 1 freshmen to over-hype themselves and perform poorly as they adjust to a completely new lifestyle. Coach Edwards offers tips on how to rein in adrenaline and get in the swing of things through stress management and focusing on the day ahead of you.

1:25 – Coach Edwards introduces the overwhelmed freshman to peak state.
2:00 – Getting to a level of awareness and readiness is important.
3:23 – Being over-amped can actually hurt your game.
4:23 – It’s not the ball that gives goalies the most trouble, it’s everything happening around the ball.
6:00 – Goalies are constantly improving, but getting too hyped up can be detrimental.
7:00 – Managing your stress can be an important way for lacrosse goalies to perform better.
8:05 – Take time to rest, recover, and stay hydrated and you’ll get back in the swing of things by Christmas.
9:00 – Getting organized before bedtime is a great way to make sure you’re ready on gameday.

Introducing Peak State

Well, Name Withheld, this isn’t uncommon. As you’ve heard me talk about before, there’s a thing called peak state. You want to get to peak state so you can play your best. As a freshman at school at Division 1, you’ve probably just realized a lifelong dream, or pretty long dream, let’s not say lifelong, let’s not over-exaggerate. I’m sure your play wasn’t as bad as you are assessing yourself, but by your standard it was pretty bad. No problem. There are a lot of things to consider here.

Waking Up Ready To Play

First off, in terms of peak state, as Lacrosse Goalie University members, you’ve heard me talk about peak state, and for a goalie, we’re trying to get them to a peak state where their level of performance is going to be the best that it can be. However, it can also backfire. Let me show you.

In terms of peak state, if we can think of this like, this is performance and this is time, what we have here is we’ve got a level of awareness and readiness. As an elite athlete, what ends up happening is, we go out and we do our warm up. But warm up starts when you wake up. Your game may be at 6:00 at night, but as a goalie especially, you’re thinking about that game the night before, especially when you get up in the morning.

Everything you do all day long, like how well class goes, how much sleep you got, did you have a good breakfast, if you had too much caffeine, if you piled on too many Red Bulls, which I can’t stand, what happens is that everything you do is going to get you up to be ready for the game.

Being Too Prepared Can Take You Too High Above Ready State

If you’re like me, come race day, come performance day, come game day, you wake up in the morning and you’re like right here, you’re almost ready to go. Your fall ball may not have been a game, however in your mind it was as important as a game because you’re trying to make an impression. You want to come in there and you want to do really, really well.

First off, you’ve probably over-amped yourself to be too prepared, so that’s going to hurt you. What happens is you get in this ready state and with a pretty decent warm up, your mental side, you’re already here. You almost have to bring yourself down sometimes to get into that ready state. What happens is you can blow right through this. That’s probably one of the things that happened to you. You’re putting pressure on yourself that you probably don’t need to.

It’s Not The Ball That Gives You Trouble, It’s Everything Else

Yes, you’re a freshman, yes, you’re on a scholarship, which, congratulations by the way, there’s not a lot of goalies who end up getting money going to school, which is really cool. But there’s a senior ahead of you who, from talking to this goalie in conversations, that senior may not be the guy this year. That’s fine, but again, it’s your freshman year, fall ball, and you’ve got so much to look forward to.

One thing I say to  all my goalies is that it’s not the ball that gives us trouble, it’s usually everything else that happens around the ball. That can be as specific as a screen, but it also can be like when the other team takes the field and they look really good. They look really skilled and drilled and they come out and they look out looking like a little marching band. They’re all in sync. That can be impressive.

Everything Around You Affects Your Game

You come out there and you’ve got these wide eyes and you know who all the best players on your team are, and you come in and you’re like, wow. All those things around the ball are what make the ball harder to stop. But if I took a small cannon and shot that lacrosse ball to you and we were in the middle of a corn field in Iowa, and all you did was focus on the ball, you’d be as good if not better than you’ve been before because it’s all that other stuff that’s surrounding this that’s really affecting your game. It has nothing to do with your ability to stop the ball.

Too Much Adrenaline Is A Problem

As goalies, I look at goalies every year like this. A goalie improves, and they take a step up. They improve, they take a step up. You’ve got to think about this. Every year physically you’re getting older, you’re getting stronger, you all of a sudden don’t take a step down unless you’ve had some tragic injury, you broke a leg or dislocated your shoulder.

Every year our expectation is that you’re going up. And you’re right, as I do say, you go into that new environment and you get pumped up, amped up, you feel more adrenaline, you feel those butterflies. That’s actually your body getting you ready for the situation you’re in. But as I mentioned here, sometimes that adrenaline is already on the number.

Anything else to get you amped up, like hyped up music, a couple of Red Bulls, a couple of Monster drinks, you’re through it. Then when you’re up in here, that’s when you have a bad performance, which is really susceptible more to goalies than I think almost any other position.

Managing Your Stress

A couple of things here. You’ve got to manage your stress, and this is probably something that you haven’t really considered. So you go off to school your freshman year and you are away from home, possibly for the first time without your parents, you’re trying to figure out where class is, what time to get up in the morning, you’re worried about what party to go to, who are the cool guys, who are not the cool guys, you’re trying to figure out where to do your laundry, to pick up the pizza boxes off your dorm room floor.

I could list a laundry list of things that you’re now dealing with. New homework, things to read, new routines, new rituals. And all those things add to your stress. Right now as a freshman in college you might not be thinking that those things are stressful. It’s not that big of a deal. But it’s true. All these things add to your stress and you have to manage that. If you’re not managing it, you’re going to get yourself, again, into trouble.

Rest, Recovery, and Hydration

So make sure you’re working on your recovery, your rest, your hydration. Take a break on the parties if that’s something that you’ve done. A lot of kids do that freshman year of college. They go to school and they blow it because it’s their first time away from home and all the stuff is new and there’s no mom or dad to reel them in, and they blow it based on all those distractions.

If you can focus, maybe rein it in a little bit, between now and Christmas you’re going to find that all these things are going to settle down and your game is going to come back and you’re going to play well. Like I said, the brain has an infinite capacity to learn and to process stuff, but when you’ve got all this new stuff it’s like a ram, it’s like maxed out and we just can’t process it all. Then our performance goes down on the field, which is where we really want it to perform.

Getting Organized Before Bedtime

Here’s a key. Here’s a kicker. First off, it’s all going to settle down by Christmas. You’re going to get to Christmas, you’re going to have all of fall under your belt, and you’re going to go home for Christmas break and you’ll have a chance for it all to settle out.

Here’s a trick. Every night before you go to bed, get super organized. I just sent to one of my former players who’s off to a Division 1 school, having similar types of challenges, it’s all new right? I sent him a book by a guy named David Allen called Getting Things Done, and it’s one of the most profound business books that I’ve ever read.

It totally affected my life and I wish I had it back then and really understood it earlier in my life. Go pick up that book or get the audiobook on iTunes. It can be super boring, but when it comes to processing all of this stuff coming at you, especially the homework and the schoolwork and the practice playing and all that stuff, get a hold of that book just to get an idea of a framework to manage all these things.

How Visualization Can Help Lacrosse Goalies

Here’s a key. Before you go to bed at night, the last thing you think about before you fall asleep, you want to visualize the next day. Everything from getting up in the morning and having a shower, all the way through until practice and beyond. Where is class going to be, what are you going to be taking in class, where’s lunch, any meetings you’ve got to go to, any things you’ve got to register for, and then you’ve got to get to practice. You’ve got to make sure your gear’s ready and your equipment’s all ready so that you can just step on the field, all relaxed and focus on playing.

If you think about that before you go to bed at night, put that into your subconscious, your brain is going to play that day over before it’s even happened. So when the day happens, nothing’s going to be new, nothing’s going to be a surprise, and as an athlete you can focus on the task at hand.


I hope this helps. I know this is a little advanced for some people, but even if you’re a high school goalie watching this and you can adopt this now. This whole visualization trick before you go to bed at night is going to really help your game. So thank you, Name Withheld, I’m looking out for you. I appreciate the question, and I hope this question has helped you and your goaltending whether you are a college Division 1 goalies or you’re just starting out.

Coaches and parents, if you can take this to heart and manage it for your athletes, help them manage it so everything can go a lot smoother, and it usually does. I’m Coach Edwards at and Do me a favor. Shoot me a comment below, everybody gets real shy, they don’t shoot a comment. I usually get lots of emails. Stick it here so we can see it. Be sure to share it please, and Facebook it and all those good things. I appreciate it a lot, and look forward to your questions and answering it in a future video here on Thanks.




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