Female Lacrosse Goalie Tips: Interview with a D1 Goalie Coach
By Coach Damon on September 19, 2016
Many parents and female lacrosse goalies are always on the look out for female specific tips when it comes to playing goalie.
Previously I wrote about the difference between male and female lacrosse goalies where I concluded that the position was mostly the same with just a few differences.
But what do top female goalie coaches in the game today say?
Today’s post is an interview with a female goalie coach at a top NCAA program. Like my previous interviews with NCAA goalies I’m omitting her name and school to avoid any hassle with NCAA clearances and such.
Interview with a Female Lacrosse D1 Goalie Coach
Could you tell me a little about your lacrosse goalie and coaching background?
Growing up in Michigan I started lacrosse in middle school as a low defender (which was still called point or cover point, haha) then I tore my ACL at 13 and began my “second life” as goalie!
It took some serious prompting from my high school coach, who literally had to take the field player stick in my hand and replace it with a goalie stick. But shortly after that I fell in love with the position and have never ever looked back!
At the time there was only one club team in Detroit so it was a mishmash group of us from all over, some people who I am still very close with, and I wound up at a D1 program in Mass! It was an amazing four years and I am SO proud to call it my alma mater!
All along I had been coaching private lessons and summer camps so I knew that coaching was what I ultimately wanted to do but I was a little burnt out after graduation so I got a job, coached club and gave more lessons.
Many people think there’s a big difference in playing goalie in guys lacrosse vs girls lacrosse, what’s your opinion?
So, at the end of the day the goal is the same: make saves.
So in that aspect, not so much, but the way we play our angles, slightly different, the stance, where you stand in cage are all slightly different but nothing too drastic.
The save technique is mostly the same, boys sometimes play an arc that’s slightly closer the goal line but on the whole it’s kind of just personal preference.
I usually coach kids a four or five step arc, whereas boys occasionally have a three step.
Communication, as in most sports, is key!
We’re quarterbacks and literally see EVERYTHING all over the field. Finding your voice no matter who you are in cage is critical, you have got to be willing to talk everyone through each play, transition and set.
Clearing wise, again nothing too different, boys might outlet a little bit higher up the field, just because transitional sets can be slightly different, but generally the same, try and hit them on the run and don’t force it up the middle.
Are there are any drills that you do with girls that wouldn’t necessarily work in the guys game? Also vice versa, drills that work w/ boys but not with girls.
Hmm, to be honest not really that I can think of, they kind of all go both ways!
One things I am a huge fan of is incorporating QB drills (for clears and communication) and then like hockey goalie drills for agility and footwork, and working some angle drills from soccer.
Basically I really just like to pull from other sports because I think that’s how we push the limits on what’s possible.
Also never be afraid for something to not work, no two goalies are alike, a lot of times I have to try different techniques with kids and odd tactics to get them to understand a technique or have a movement stick.
Any rules specific to women’s lacrosse that specifically effect the goalie play?
Only difference I can think of is the “8 meters”. In female lacrosse after a foul inside the 8 meter line you have a restart where the attacker essentially gets a free run at the goal starting at the 8 meter line.
So yeah, not the easiest thing to defend or make a stop on but if you can stop more than you let in, you’re definitely doing okay!!
No lie, the best thing you can do on 8M’s is make yourself as big as you can, relax and just get a piece on the shot. Being relaxed and confident about at least getting a piece on ball can is really what you can hope for.
And if goes in, you get the next on.
One thing in particular to keep in mind is that if it’s a kid committing the same foul over and over, try and figure out how to prevent that from happening (that’s where the whole quarterback/command your D thing comes from…)
The other thing that just helps is seeing them in practice and replicating them the best you can in practice.
Part of being a good male goalie is leading the defense. How can I teach a female goalie to instruct the defense when it is very different than male lacrosse, and I’m not 100% intimate with female lacrosse rules and strategy.
AHHH! YES, so as I mentioned before you have GOT to be the quarterback… find your voice, talk your defenders through everything.
Sometimes D-kids are big animals and you have to dictate them exactly what you want to do. Always wanting to force the attacker out or to your help, calling for the crash, recognizing who the major threats are, where is the breakdown occurring?
Bringing the team together after goals and figuring out what happened is critical.
Something I have found extremely helpful to some kids has been watching film, even if it’s not on yourself! Seeing other teams play and watching things develop allows you to recognize it happening when it’s right in front of you!!
Plus all coaching is like beg, borrowing and stealing from others, so even if you don’t have a higher level of lacrosse nearby you can always catch it online or on TV! Get hungry for knowledge!
Even watching like other sports like I was saying before can help you get a better grasp on like how does this quarter back or other goalie or catcher communicate with their teammates? That’s probably the biggest piece, always be ready and willing to learn!
Hope you enjoyed that Q&A with a top female lacrosse goalie discussing some of the differences between men and women goalies.
Based on this conversation I think my original assumption is still true – there are way more similarities than differences when it comes to playing lacrosse goalie in the men’s and women’s game.
Until next time! Coach Damon