MLL Goalie Brian Phipps On Why He's So Dominant in the Cage | Lax Goalie Rat

MLL Goalie Brian Phipps On Why He’s So Dominant in the Cage

Brian Phipps MLL goalie

Brian Phipps is the current goalie of the Chesapeake Bay Hawks and might be the best in the game at the moment.

There are big, tall, strong, athletic looking goalies and then there’s Brian Phipps.

He’s a part time history teacher and if you ask me, I think he looks more like a history teacher than a professional lacrosse goalie.


But this guy dominants in the cage!

He’s seriously one of the best goalies in the game today and a perennial contender for MLL goalie of the year! Just goes to show there’s many different styles of successful lacrosse goalies.

Let’s have a look at what makes Brian Phipps such a great goalie.

Like my other interview style posts I haven’t been able to chat 1×1 with Brian so this post is a consolidation of other Brian Phipps interviews from around the internet.

Edit: I’ve now done a full podcast episode with Brian Phipps.

Interview with MLL goalie Brian Phipps

What training tips/advice, would you give a goaltender to improve their reaction time?

BP: I always work with my younger goalies and myself on the colored ball drill.  Have a coach/player shoot on your with different colored balls and you have to call out the color as quick as you can while making the save.

How long have you been playing lacrosse?

BP: I have grown up in a lacrosse family and been playing ever since I can remember.  Probably around 5 years old.  My grandfather, dad, and brother all played lacrosse at the University of Maryland, and my mom played 3 sports in college, including lacrosse.

What made you become a goaltender?

BP: Growing up with my older brother who played attack, I kind of got thrown in there at a young age.  My mom would only let them use tennis balls though when I was younger.

Did you play a lot of other positions for a while, before choosing?

BP: I grew up playing attack and goalie.  I would split each half.  I think this helped me with my lacrosse IQ and stick skills. I recommend this for all young goalies growing up.

What is your current stick set up (head, stick, mesh, tape placement, etc.)

BP: I currently use a Nemesis 2 and the Hero Mesh from East Coast Dyes.  My man Cam from @goaliestrings strings me up the best no rebound pockets in the business.  Excited to see what they have for me this spring!

What makes a “good goalie” become a “great goalie”?

BP: Doing all 3 parts of a goalie extremely well.  Saving the ball, Clearing the ball, talking to your defense.  Need to be able to do all 3.

What obstacles did you have to overcome, to get where you are today?

BP: I tore my ACL twice.  Once in high school and once in college.  Missing so much time, made me miss the sport but it helped me understand the game from talking with my coaches more on the sidelines.

What made you choose lacrosse over all the other sports out there?

BP: I grew up in a lacrosse family.  My grandfather played lacrosse at the University of Maryland and coached at the Naval Academy.  My dad played lacrosse at the University of Maryland and coached me and my brother growing up.  My mom played lacrosse at Roanoke College.  My brother played lacrosse at the University of Maryland, as well.  So I pretty much grew up with a lacrosse stick in my hands at all times.

What is some  advice you would give to those youth players hoping to make it to MLL status one day?

BP: If you are passionate about lacrosse, keep practicing and enjoy the game. Have fun with the game but continue to work hard every day to achieve your goals.

Why do you love lacrosse?

BP: Lacrosse has been something I have loved ever since I can remember.  It has become my life.  I have met some of the greatest people in my life through the game of lacrosse.  The community that is involved with lacrosse has some truly great people in it.


Who is your lacrosse role model?

BP: I would have to say Kip Turner.  He was the goalie before me at my high school, Severn School.  He has gone on to win a NCAA championship, MLL championship, MLL Goalie of the Year and so forth.  He has been a great friend and mentor.  And I am looking forward to playing against him at the pro level.

What is one thing that you try to improve on with your playing style?

BP: As a goalie, I always try to get better.  I always compete to not let up a goal.  If I do not let in a goal, my team will always win.  That is my mindset going into every game.

Do you have any game day superstitions?

BP: I am a very superstitious person.  In college I had so many before games.  I used to always drink a glacier freeze and Reese’s peanut butter cups.  At the pro level, I have kept some of my superstitions.  I am always the last one out of the locker room and before I enter the crease before the game, I tap my toes three times.

How do you prepare for an upcoming game?

BP: I am a huge believer in film study.  I like to scout my opponents and try to give myself an advantage going into the game.

How do you categorize a season as successful?

BP: I am all about the team first.  If our team has a successful season and reaches our goals, then we had a great season.  For us, I would like to make the playoffs and make a push for the championship.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

BP: My dad always told me before every game: “Play hard, try your best and have fun”


There you have it. I hope you enjoyed that Q&A with great goalie legend Brian Phipps.

I especially liked what he had to say about categorizing a successful season. Nothing about individual stats, 100% team first. Most championship goalies I know are team first kind of guys and are always quick to give their defense credit when they play a lights out game.

Also interesting to note that Brian played attack as a youth. This is a trend of top goalies. Playing other positions to develop stick skills and lacrosse IQ.

I’d probably avoid his slurpee and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups pre-game ritual but hey, goalies are a crazy breed and we’ll do whatever works.

Also how lucky was Severn High School to have Kip Turner as their goalie followed by Brian Phipps?

Until next time! Coach Damon

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12 thoughts on “MLL Goalie Brian Phipps On Why He’s So Dominant in the Cage

  1. nice post

    Now i have my secound torn ACL. And i thought about quitting Lacrosse.

    This is really motivating for me


  2. Wait a minute: why are goalies tearing ACLs? Is this a documented problem for goalies? Apologies for asking, as I could probably go do some research to answer my own question! Thanks, as always, for this great post.

    1. I don’t think it a common injury for goalies but ACL tears can happen anytime you’re cutting or pivoting. The combination of twisting your torso to throw a pass and having the foot stick in the astro turf can easily cause that type of ACL injury. I’ve also seen attackman crash into goalies legs as they dive or get pushed into the crease in their attempt to score goals. But like I said I don’t think its very common. In fact in all my years of playing I never had a major injury. Perhaps Max can chime in how he hurt his ACL.

  3. Coach Damon,

    Great interview. As a parent of a young goalie, I am going to use that line, “My dad always told me before every game: “Play hard, try your best and have fun”.
    Thanks again.

  4. Hey! Always love your posts. I was wondering if you could ever do a post focused on breaking in a new stick. I can’t seem to find a definitive answer on what ways work and which don’t; some use conditioner and hot water, some use screwdrivers to hold balls in the mesh taut all night, others pound it to death. Do you have any advice? Especially for building a nice channel! I am so confused about how that happens. Thanks as always!

  5. Great post Coach Damon! I’d love to see more interviews with other great goalies. I always think it’s nice to pick the brains of some of the best to incorporate into my routines and playing style.

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