Here are 8 advanced lacrosse goalie drills that I learned from lax goalie Coach Bill Pilat. He’s a solid goalie coach with years and years of experience and I highly recommend his material and his live goalie camps.
Keep in mind, these are advanced drills.
Only work them into your goalie’s routine once they understand the basics.
We’ll setup the machine to fire tennis balls to single spot on the cage.
The name of the drill is Rapid Fire – and that’s exactly what we want. Fire the balls quickly, one after another. With the goalie making the save each time.
After 30-50 shots in one area, readjust the machine and start shooting to another area of the cage.
This drill will work muscle memory for making lacrosse saves and also work conditioning since making saves so quickly with no break will get tiring.
For this lacrosse goalie drill we can use a product from DYG called the Tracer (not an affiliate link) which connects the top-hand to the face mask. If you don’t want to purchase the Tracer, we can use string, lanyards, or even actual handcuffs.
With the goalie’s top-hand attached to the bottom of his face mask, the goalie has no choice but keep his head and eyes on the ball as the shot comes in.
Especially on low shots, the goalie’s head should be down and over the ball. Connecting the Tracer will force the goalie to keep his head down.
When you have the Tracer on, the coach needs to shoot a little slower until the goalie becomes accustomed to the limitations in movement.
Filming goalies is one of the best things you can do to improve their game.
Often times goalies will have a hitch or take a false step on every shot. They don’t feel it and explaining does little good.
However when they see themselves on video, the problem is instantly identifiable. It’s easy to spot when watching film.
There’s no need to buy an expensive camera as the iPhone camera is perfect. Simply purchase a tripod (I have this one) and a device to connect your iPhone to the tripod (I have this one).
When reviewing the practice footage, check the following:
Any hitches or false steps
Guessing on shots
By using film in slow motion you can learn more about the goalies techniques then you can simply by taking shots and watching. This is one of my favorite lacrosse goalie drills to do with our goalies.
The film can also be used in a recruiting video that gets sent to university coaches.
No Pocket Stick
With every save, the goalie should be getting his body behind the ball. This drill will help that aspect of the goalie’s game.
For the No Pocket Stick drill we need an old stick with, you guessed it, no pocket. Just a blank head.
Use tennis balls and take shots on the goalie in all quadrants of the goal.
The ball should pass through the stick as if you’re going to catch it but the goalie’s body should back up the shot. and hit the goalie in the body.
Focus on keeping proper form as we make the saves. In the video I also combine No Pocket stick with another drill called Weighted Shaft where we fill the shaft with pennies or sand to increase its weight.
That will help goalies improve their hand speed too.
This is drill I use to ensure that goalie’s keep their hands out and away from their body when making saves.
Use a normal defensive stick with a long 6 foot pole and regular head.
Especially, for the off stick side shots we want to keep our hands away from our body. This allows the stick to properly rotate.
Have the goalie play a shallow arc and take shots on them, shooting a little slower than normal.
This drill forces the goalie’s hand to be out to make saves. If the hands are in too tight to the body, the long defensive shaft will hit the pipe. The goalies will be able to hear and feel improper technique in this drill.
Keep your hands out to make saves.
This next goalie drill comes from elite ice hockey goalie coaches in Canada. They use this training all the time with their hockey goalies on ice.
The idea is we place a large mirror in front of the goalie. Get in your regular position and go through the motion of making a save in front of the mirror.
Try to get a plastic mirror so its won’t break or crack if a ball hits it or it falls. If you use a normal mirror, just be careful.
Freeze in the save position and lookup to see your form in the mirror:
Are my legs around the stick?
Am I maximizing my shot stopping ability?
Is my top-hand down and bottom-hand up as I rotate the stick?
Am I balanaced?
Continue making saves and analyzing your form, making corrections to the movements if you see something wrong.
This drill is great for providing instant feedback on every save.
Proper goalie technique involves picking up your trail foot, not dragging it. This drill helps goalie’s footwork by ensuring they don’t drag their trail foot.
DYG sells a product called The Glyde (not an affiliate link) which is used in this drill.
If you don’t want to buy the Glyde you can use a lacrosse shaft instead.
For this drill, we’ll place the Glyde (or lacrosse shaft) in between the goalie’s feet. As we take shots to either side of the goalie, he must ensure to lift his trail foot/leg as he moves his body to make the save.
Dragging the trail foot will result in contacting the Glyde/lacrosse shaft and thus the goalie must focus on really lifting the trail foot.
This will improve foot speed and help your goalie move quicker to make the save.
The trail foot probably is lifted a little more than necessary during a normal save, but that’s fine. The idea of the drill is improve muscle memory and increase the foot speed necessary to save shots.
Ninja Goalie Mask Training
For this drill we’re going to limit to the goalie’s peripheral vision and make him focus on the ball coming into the stick.
Coach Pilat recommends this product – www.thegoaliemask.com (not an affiliate link) – which fits over the goalie’s helmet and limits his vision.
I’ve also done this drill with tape on the goalie’s helmet.
Now when we take shots on our goalie he must really focus on watching the ball.
Similar to other drills we’re going to need to shoot a little slower because making saves is harder with limited vision.
When the mask is finally taken off, playing goalie will feel much easier.
If you’re looking for even more lacrosse goalie drills, checkout these 2 posts:
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.