Proper Goalie Technique
For new goalies, learning the correct technique is most important in order to build a solid foundation of fundamentals. For example, the most successful lacrosse goalies use the same set stance and grip on their stick while in a set position. With time and practice, it becomes appropriate to tweak the fundamental subtleties to shape and fit your own style. You'll want to develop good habits so you can be as successful as possible in the position. As a goalie trying to improve, you'll want to observe more advanced goalies, listen to advice, and stay as coachable as possible. The following tips will provide you with an essential foundation of information to think about as you stand between the pipes.
The first thing a beginner goalie should do is get a proper sized stick. For sizing, the general rule of thumb is that the stick should fit under your armpit like a crutch. You'll want to err on the side of shorter rather than longer, especially for a beginner. A stick that is too long will potentially get caught in the net or on your body and will effect your ability to make certain saves. You want to be as mobile as possible with your stick. Once you have a stick that you feel comfortable using, you can establish your own unique grip.
The dominant hand should be placed at the top of the shaft; and the part of your hand that is between your thumb and pointer finger is what you'll use to grip the stick. Many goalies will only wrap their thumb and pointer around the shaft, this will allow you to rotate the stick while keeping the head on a vertical plane in front of you. You want to have a firm grip with your top hand to prevent any shots that hit the head of your stick and cause it to spin. The bottom hand should be placed a forearm's length below the top hand -- you can measure by placing your dominant hand at the top of the stick, putting your forearm juxtaposed to the shaft, and then putting your offhand just below your elbow. Keep your bottom hand grip slightly loose so you can easily slide it up and down the shaft as necessary.
The next thing you should focus on is establishing the correct stance. Goalies should have a slight bend in their knees and their feet should be slightly more than shoulder distance apart. You should be on the balls of your feet, but not leaning forward on your toes. Using your new grip, you should have your dominant hand even with the same shoulder, out in front of your body, and making sure that it’s in front of your helmet. Always keep your eyes on the ball and continuously follow it with your body, even when it's behind the net. *
(Related: Read about training your strength + conditioning abilities here.)
Lacrosse goalies are often left out to dry on multiple occasion during the course of a game, but one big save could inspire your entire team. Typically, goalies have the potential to win entire games on their own, so If you're serious about becoming a reliable goalie, seeking out one-on-one coaching through CoachUp is a good idea. Our knowledgeable team will have you making ridiculous saves and winning games in no time! What are you waiting for?