As in other sports, lacrosse goalies are the last lines of defense. As a lacrosse goalie you’ll defend a six-foot square net with your body, your stick and the skills you learn in games and practice. There are numerous drills that can help you frustrate opposing shooters and keep the ball out of your net.
Irish Guard Drill
The lacrosse field offers a big space behind the net for attackers to make plays. Opposing forwards may set up behind your goalie and pass to teammates in front, and they can also try to score themselves. To practice defending against forwards swooping in from behind, set several tennis balls behind the net (instead of lacrosse balls, because they won’t sting as much as lacrosse balls). Have an attacker swing from behind the net and shoot one-on-one against you. Make sure to hug the post, forcing the attacker to try for the more difficult wide shot. Instruct the first few attackers to shoot high, to give you a bit of an edge. As you warm up, let the attackers shoot at will, but make sure that some attack from the right and others from the left. (See Reference 1)
As a goalie, you need quick feet so you can maintain the proper position, square to each potential shooter, as the opponents pass the ball near the net. To help realize this goal, place a lacrosse stick on the ground and stand next to it with your feet together and parallel with the stick’s shaft. Jump back and forth sideways over the shaft for 30 seconds, keeping your feet together. Repeat the drill, but use one foot for 30 seconds, then the other. Turn and face the stick, then repeat all three versions of the drill, hopping back and forth over the shaft using both feet, then the right foot, then the left. (See Reference 2)
With a player or coach about 10 feet in front of the net with a bucket of balls, stand in the net without a stick, assuming a good stance with your knees flexed, body square to the shooter, and your stick hand raised as if your were holding it. The player lobs the ball underhand to you; catch the ball with your stick hand. When you're forced to move side to side, catch the ball and then return quickly to the ready position in the middle of the net. Have the thrower toss the balls toward a specific location until you catch five consecutive throws. Then have the thrower aim for a different location. (See Reference 3)
Hand/Eye Coordination Drill
Supply a player or coach with some lacrosse or tennis balls of different colors. Then, stand in the net in ready position. The player or coach tosses the balls to you; as you catch them with your stick, call out the color of each ball. Have the thrower hide the ball from your sight for as long as possible before tossing the ball. You can also face the back of the net, as if a pass were coming from behind to the front of the net. The thrower yells “shot” before tossing the ball, and you spin to face the shooter to perform the drill. This drill helps you focus on the ball. (See Reference 4)
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.