This time the topic is different ways a lacrosse goalie can energize the entire team.
No single position on the field can energize a whole sideline, or even an entire stadium, quite like a lacrosse goalie can.
When the pressure is on, coaches and players alike are looking at their goalie to provide that spark to ignite the team.
Momentum goes a long way in the game of lacrosse, but the goalie can sometimes be the only player who can change which team has the upper hand.
So here are the top 9 ways a goalie can be this catalyst who turns the game around for the good guys.
Think the order should be different? Think I’m absolutely insane and have no clue what I’m talking about? Want to tell me I’m pretty? Let everyone know what you think in the comments!
These are in ascending order, meaning the most hype action will be at the bottom of the page.
Leadership After Giving Up A Goal
I think the most important time for a goalie to energize the team is following a goal.
After conceding a goal, the most tempting thing in the world to do is to cross check the goal, scream some profanity, then berate that offensive middie who’s responsible for allowing that crease crank. But no, we’re better than that.
An energizing goalie keeps a level head, corrals his defenders into a huddle around the crease, and figures out what went wrong on that play.
The defense should be just as upset as you about giving up a goal, so there’s usually no point in screaming or blaming one guy.
What you hear awesome leaders at goalies say is something along the lines of “hey, my fault guys, I shoulda had that one. We got the next one.”
Something just as simple as that will energize a defense, and restore confidence in themselves after a pretty deflating moment. Just one of the many duties that a great goalie must do that isn’t necessarily in the job description.
There’s just something so energizing about a goalie yelling confident, crisp commands to his defenders.
It pumps up the defense, it pumps up the entire team.
Jack is almost louder than the announcers who are talking right into microphones. A lacrosse goalie who communicates with this much passion and volume will energize his team every time.
Give a Teammate Props
When one of your defenders pinwheels an attackmen’s stick for a takeaway. As a goalie we should be first to give that teammate major props.
When a cross crease slide knocks a dodger on his butt with force, the goalie is there to give props.
This isn’t limited to pinwheels and crushing hits either. You can energize a team by showing love for even simple plays. A middie successful executing a second slide or a GB pickup in traffic for example.
Getting excited for your teammates and showing them love creates a great team culture and its also an excellent method to energize your team.
Dodging an Attackman or Middie
What better way to get the sideline jumping up and down than a filthy dodge by a goalie when clearing the ball?
Attackmen are the ones who are supposed to be able to dodge and get around defenders successfully. I mean, it’s twice as hard to execute these dodges with a goalie stick, and we don’t spend our practice time perfecting dodges like attackmen do. So when a goalie puts an attackman on skates, it’s just borderline disrespectful.
Even better if that dodge happens to be a good old fashioned bull dodge.
In addition to the bull dodge, a perfectly executed toe drag can excite just about anybody.
Sure, this isn’t by a goalie, but who better to watch than the king of the toe drag, Mark Matthews. Watch him make this Team USA defense look silly, and try to tell me it didn’t get you a little bit hyped.
Even if you didn’t think that was too impressive, at least you got to hear Quint Kessenich try and pronounce the word “repertoire.”
(Note: very few times in my life have I ever ripped a defender a new one for lack of effort. However, I think that maybe the attempted checks from those two midfielders would have warranted a good bit of a screaming from Drew Adams, Team USA keeper.
Show Some Emotion After Saves
After you make a save and successfully execute a clear, feel free to show some emotion.
I’m not talking about showboating or taunting the other team but rather a genuine display of excitement.
I think goalies who don’t show emotion after a save are missing out on a great opportunity to fire up their team.
When I think of goalies who always energized their team in this manner immediately John Galloway comes to mind.
After a goalie makes any kind of save, you’ve got a great opportunity to energize the team. Don’t spoil it.
I couldn’t go to sleep tonight knowing there was a category of big goalie hits that didn’t include a mention of Scotty Rodgers.
Fun fact: you are not technically a lacrosse goalie until you’ve watched some of Big Rig’s highlights. If you haven’t already, watch a few videos of him; it’s art.
At 6’4” and 265 pounds, Scott is able to be a physical presence on the field while still having some of the fastest hands and footwork in the game.
Every goalie has their own playing style, and some believe they have the best chance of making a save if they stay in between the pipes the entire game.
In many situations that may be the case. However, a big hit from the keeper may not only save a goal, but completely energize his or her team.
Frequently you can find Rodgers outside of the net, ready to lay someone out in case the opportunity arises.
When he makes that huge, clean hit, his team goes wild.
But even when he chooses not to make the big hit, Rodger’s footsteps are echoing in the back of the attack’s head since they know what he is capable of.
On the flip side of that coin, if I were to write a blog post titled “9 Ways a Lacrosse Goalie Can Absolutely Deflate a Team’s Energy,” you would see earning a two minute non-releasable penalty at the top of that list.
Big hits are risky at any level of the game, and often lead to penalties when executed by goalies, since many are not taught the proper way to body check someone.
Big hits are a bit of a gamble when it comes to rallying a team. Execute it perfectly, and the sidelines will go crazy.
Execute a big hit incorrectly, and you’ll have plenty of time to think about your backup keeper taking your position as you kneel in the box.
No goalie wants to give up a rebound after a save, but it is inevitable sometimes. So many attackmen make a living on garbage goals from catching or scooping up a rebound from a sweet save.
However, when a keeper manages to make a great save, give up a rebound, AND stuff the ensuing garbage shot right on the crease, a huge surge of energy can flow through a team.
Obviously goalies should avoid giving up rebounds, but nobody’s perfect. They’re gonna happen sometimes.
This is why goalie coaches place so much emphasis on bringing your trail leg every time you step to the ball, keeping your hips square to the shot, and having soft hands during the save.
By using proper technique and following that advice, rebounds should bounce directly in front of the keeper, where he or she is in the perfect position to make the next save.
Making 2, or maybe even 3 or 4 save saves in a matter of seconds is a major statement, and definitely warrants the electrification of the rest of the team that is sure to follow.
Why does a save like this energize the keeper and the team so much? The tremendous difficulty of having so little time to react.
How long does a keeper have to react to a door step save? Well, a 5 yard shot at 50 mph leaves a goalie with .2045 seconds to react and save the ball.
To put that into perspective, imagine Paul Rabil getting free for a 12 yard step down time-and-room shot at you. Scary thought, right?
Rabil’s 111 mph rocket actually leaves you with more time to react than that doorstep save.
How about playing baseball against the Houston Astros in the 80’s, and trying to hit Nolan Ryan’s record 108.1 mph fastball?
Well, you would have almost twice as much reaction time as that 5 yard, 50mph door stop save on the lacrosse field.
Whoever says lacrosse goalie is not one of the hardest positions in all of sports has clearly not done the math!
Scoring a Goal
The most electrifying single action a keeper can do is scoring a goal against the other team. Many have tried, few have succeeded.
Goalie sticks are tougher to shoot with than a short stick, few will argue this.
Goalies don’t spend much time practicing shooting, dodging, or getting open on the offensive half of the field.
In addition to that, a goalie has to avoid 3 riding attackmen and 3 riding midfielders just to take a chance at getting close enough to the defense and taking a shot. The odds are definitely not in the goalie’s favor.
Seeing a goalie score is like finding a leprechaun. Or a Unicorn. But when it happens it causes coaches and players alike to have this reaction (especially when that coach is a world class goalie himself):
So when you do get to see a goalie score, hold on to that moment. Cherish it. You never know when you’ll see that anomaly again.
And if you are in fact the lucky keeper who managed to score, make sure you tell everyone at school about it, it’s no small feat.
Never seen a goalie hum a high hard one bar-south? That’s okay, that’s what the internet is for.
Do your millennial self a favor and check out Blaze Riordan blast one top shelf against Cornell in the 2015 playoffs. It’s an absolute beauty.
Don’t forget about sportsmanship, though. As awesome as scoring as a goalie looks and feels, please don’t be that person who runs it down the field every time against a team you’re beating by 15 goals.
Being on the receiving end of a beat down like that is frustrating, and we all have been or will be at one time or another. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Wrapping It Up
Like I mentioned previously, goalies are really in a position to electrify a team and change the game’s momentum with a single play. Execute any of the 9 things I listed, and you are sure to have the whole sideline jumping up and down.
We play a high stakes position. We’re the last line of defense, so messing just one thing up can lead to getting scored on.
Us goalies do not like getting scored on. That gives the other team more points. You need to score more points than the other team to win. People forget that.
This is ultimately what makes that door step save or swim dodge from a goalie just that much more special. Do it successfully, and even the other team’s moms are cheering for you. Mess it up, and get scored on.
Back to Coach Damon – Conclusion
Thanks again Connor for that awesome post!
My favorite sport athletes are always the ones that bring a lot of energy to the game. Same goes with my favorite lacrosse goalies.
I think every lacrosse player on the field can bring energy but a goalie has to bring energy onto the field because everyone else can sense a goalie’s vibe and feed off of that.
If I’m in the cage, I’m going to make my presence known to everyone on the field and anyone watching the game.
Use the 9 methods in this post to help bring energy to your own team.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Any other methods you use to bring energy to your lacrosse team? Leave me a comment down below.
Plus get free access to my entire lacrosse goalie toolkit!
About Coach Damon
About Coach Damon
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.