An Introduction to Coach Damon: The Lax Goalie Rat
Hi everyone! My name is Coach Damon Wilson and welcome to my site the Lax Goalie Rat. That’s a picture of me above!
I’m different from many lacrosse goalie coaches in that I never played in high school.
My Dad played in the Army so we had lacrosse sticks in the garage and threw around occasionally. But as a kid growing up in California in the 80s/90s there wasn’t any organized lacrosse. Now my old high school as a team – and a good one at that!
This certainly wasn’t my first go at athletics. As a kid I played soccer, baseball, and basketball. In high school growing up in Santa Rosa, California I was a 3 sport athlete – soccer, wrestling, and tennis.
Wrestling was my main sport. Read about how wrestling helped me become a great goalie.
I joined the wrestling team as a freshman never having wrestled before and by my sophomore year, I was a league champion. I went to become a 3-time league champion and captain of the team by my senior year. A theme that would repeat itself in my lacrosse career.
In fact, I fully recommend lacrosse play other sports too.
Entering Cal I knew I wanted to play a sport but I wasn’t sure which. On move in day I met a kid in the dorms with a lacrosse stick and decided that would be my sport. I tried out for the team and made it.
That guy ended up being a groomsman in my wedding. Lacrosse makes friends.
I started learning the position of goalie from scratch. I was a student of the game, devouring all the material I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, at that time that didn’t consist of too much.
On this site I’ll share my path, my lacrosse goalie tips, my mindsets, and my goalie drills that helped me change from a goalie who had never taken a shot and was extremely scared of the ball, to a top goaltender in the Western Coast Lacrosse League and team captain.
Many top goaltenders know the position through instinct. They’ve played the sport since they were 5 and while they can certainly make saves better than me, many cannot teach the position. They cannot articulate what they know and that’s where I hope this site will help. Clearly explaining everything it takes to become lacrosse goalie champion and a leader of the defense.
First let me tell what I’m not. I’m not a DI All-American. I’m not an all-star Major League Lacrosse goalie. I’m not a well-known coach from a dominant lacrosse university.
So here’s what I am.
I am someone who is passionate about the sport of lacrosse, especially goaltenders.
What I am is someone who went from never playing lacrosse to being a highly respected goalie and team captain. I am a student of the game and have read or watched nearly every lacrosse goalie resource available. I am someone who genuinely wants to pass along good goalie information so that others can learn the position quickly.
I am a coach who can articulately explain the fundamentals of playing goalie and what it takes to become a championship caliber athlete.
Furthermore, I’m a writer. I put in the effort to clearly write up the techniques, drills, and psychology that help lacrosse goalies succeed in today’s game.
The sport of lacrosse has given me so much.
The friends I’ve made through the sport are some of my closest friends to this day. The dorm room guy from above, I went on to be his best man at his wedding. I have so many great friends that would do anything for me and I can accredit that all to the sport of lacrosse.
The sport has given me amazing memories. I still remember my first start in goal like it was yesterday. 14 saves and more importantly a 9-5 Win for my Cal Golden Bears.
I’ll never forget a road trip to Arizona and pulling off two back-to-back improbable upsets over two top-5 teams in Arizona and Arizona St.
I’ll never forget making 22 saves in front of all my friends and family in my 1st start in my hometown vs. Sonoma State.
I’ll never forget a road trip to Michigan where our team got absolutely blown out but we learned some fabulous life lessons in the process.
And every time my lacrosse friends and I get together we never run out of funny stories about our lacrosse days.
Perhaps the most important thing the sport of lacrosse gave me was life skills – confidence, goal setting, and teamwork to name a few. These skills helped my career flourish as I used them on a daily basis inside the office and in my own personal life.
When I went into a job interview for a software company in San Francisco the interviewer and my future boss was Michael Dekshenieks, a star defenseman for the University of Virginia lacrosse team in ’89. Deks and I talked a little software but mostly we waxed about lacrosse.
Needless to say – I got the job.
The game has given me so much and this site is my attempt to give back to the sport of lacrosse by educating young goalies and providing the information they need to become a champion in the crease, a great lacrosse goalie!
Since graduating from Cal I’ve been involved in coaching lacrosse goalies. I’ve coached all age and experience levels, from 10-year-olds first starting out up to university level goalies.
The goaltenders I’ve coached have been recruited by top universities to play goalie. They’ve also gone on to experience tremendous success in both collegiate lacrosse and in life. It’s no surprise that part of my coaching not only focuses on the skills needed to become a great net-minder but also the skills that make you a better man/woman in life.
Learning the art of lacrosse goaltending is as much mental as it is physical and thus my coaching sessions stress both repetitive drills to learn mechanics and pep talks to learn the mental aspect of the game.
I started LaxGoalieRat.com in 2015 and since then I’ve published over 220 posts! And counting.
The posts are not necessarily in the order I’d recommend goalies learn the position.
There is plenty of free content available on this site but if you’re looking for the best version and easiest way to learn this position I’ve put together two paid products
Those are the products I wish I had when I was first learning this position. They are the best book and video series that exists to train lacrosse goalies!
And you’d be supporting my dream of becoming a full-time lacrosse goalie coach – while also paying Bay Area rent prices.
Thanks in advance for your support!
I want to make the Lax Goalie Rat as interactive as possible. If you ever have questions or comments about the position of lacrosse goalie, reach out to me at [email protected]. Anything from general lacrosse goalie tips to advice about your specific situation as a goaltender, coach, or parent.
Please feel free to comment on any article to ask a question or to simply add your voice to the conversation. If you want to get my lacrosse goalie tips direct to your inbox, join the Lax Goalie Rat email list.
Also, if you know of other goalies who would benefit from some of the articles that you read, please forward it along. This site will only spread via word of mouth and I’d be forever grateful if you could share with goalies, players, parents, and coaches in your network.
Until next time! Coach Damon
2 thoughts on “An Introduction to Coach Damon: The Lax Goalie Rat”
My name is Mike Winpigler and like you I love this sport and try to learn as much as I can whether through the internet or other coaches. That’s how I stumble onto your website. I’m a father of 3 (2 girls and a boy) all of who play lacrosse. I found LAX through them and very glad that I did.
I feel like I’m a very involved parent especially when it comes to whatever sports my kids play. I’m at every practice and that’s ultimately how I got into coaching. So to make a long story short without giving you my whole life story. We recently moved back to my wife’s town where she grew up. They had a lacrosse program in place, but it was a co-ed boys team. By this time my girls had been playing for 3 years and weren’t about to switch over to boys LAX. Even though I thought my youngest daughter would give it a try. (She’s my REBEL) Anyway this kind of broke our hearts because part of the reason we moved there was because they had a girls high school LAX program. So my wife and I talked to the coach and needless to say we started our very own lacrosse program. This is our second year and numbers all but doubled from the year before. (exciting)
The only problem was before we had just enough girls to have a couple subs to having all these girls to coach and trying to teach all of these girls the basics. But then I started to realize that my goalie wasn’t getting enough one on one time, so I started having separate practices for all 4 of my goalies. Now I’m talking 4th grade to 8th grade girls. I’m very new to the sport coaching wise, going into my 4th year and I’m by far a goalie expert. I’ve watched enough videos of Scott Rogers, and both Notre Dame and Syracuse coaching staff on you tube to get an understanding of the position, but is there certain plans and drills that are more driven to youth goalies.
I guess my question to you would be what kind of goalie practice plan and drills should I be teaching these youth girls. Thanks for your time, I know i made that a little longer than it probably needed to be. LOL!
Hi Mike – Thanks for the comment. Glad you found my site. The short answer is the goalie drills that work for high school, college, and pro goalies will also work for youth goalies. Search this site for lacrosse goalie drills and you’ll find 3 different articles with tons of drills to development different elements of your goalie game. With the youth you could always substitute in tennis balls instead of lax balls just to ensure they don’t take a beating. Anyways, good luck!