0:09 – Goalies at any age could be asked to play up. If you’re not being challenged this can be a great opportunity.
0:42 – Coach Edwards shares his experience playing in a men’s lacrosse league when he was in junior high school.
1:21 – Playing up can either boost your confidence or ruin it, so think hard about who playing up will benefit more – you or the team.
3:07 – Lacrosse goalies who play up should protect themselves physically and mentally.
Coach Edwards here with LacrosseGoalieTips.com and LacrosseGoalieUniversity.com, and I want to talk about playing up. Should you play up?
The Opportunity to Play Up
There’s the opportunity every once in a while where a goalie will be called up and this is really easy if you’re good for your age group. This can happen at any age, it can happen at U8, U10, U12, it can happen in junior high, high school, I’ve seen it happen a lot.
Playing Up If You’re Not Challenged Enough
What can happen is, if you’re a good goalie and playing with your age group is not challenging you, then the opportunity to play up can actually really help you. I used to play in a men’s league when I was in junior high school. Obviously, when I got back to my junior high school team and my high school team, the types of shots I saw weren’t as good as the guys I was seeing on the weekends who were in their 20s and 30s.
Boosting Versus Ruining Your Confidence
Those guys that I played with were really respectful of me, I’ll be honest. I was like their younger brother. I remember a guy by the name of Hal Bean who really took me under his wing. Because I was a good goalie for my age and I was young and I was I guess more advanced for my age. What this ended up doing was it was a big confidence builder. Every once in a while I got hit with a ball that hurt. That can be what sets you back. If you play up and you get hit with a ball and you get hit so hard that it ruins your confidence, now we’re really walking back a step as opposed to moving forward a step.
Assessing Your Skill Level
Should you play up? If your skill level is appropriate for the age you’re going to, yes. If, however, it’s not that great, like let’s say your skill level is appropriate for your age and playing up is going to be a big step for you, sometimes the best recommendation I can give you is to not play up because I would rather see you just develop and be confident than to play up and be hurt and have a negative experience and have that ruin your confidence. Or worse, give you fear of the ball. That’s what the worst thing is, we don’t want fear of the ball.
Why Were You Invited to Play Up?
So really think through why you’re getting invited to play up. Is it because you’re fantastic and you really need that challenge? Then by all means, go. If it’s not going to be like that though, I often times question why. Who is going to benefit? Is the team going to benefit or is the athlete going to benefit? Pretty much everything I try to do, I try to be athlete centered, not program centered. But a lot of coaches don’t operate like that. Especially in the goaltending position. Every team needs a goalie, and if they don’t have a goalie, they’ll put anybody in the cage, right? So just keep that in mind as you go.
Playing up is not always the best opportunity. It can be a good learning one, but just keep it real. Pad up, wear extra padding if you need to to protect yourself. And by all means, make sure you’re always protecting your confidence more than anything. Because if we’ve got a good, confident goalie, we can do anything. But if we lose our confidence we can’t really do much at all.
Good luck with that. Leave me a comment below. This is Coach Edwards at LacrosseGoalieTips.com and LacrosseGoalieUniversity.com. Talk to you soon. Bye.