Lacrosse Goalie In Real Life: That Time I Went White Water Rafting | Lax Goalie Rat

Lacrosse Goalie In Real Life: That Time I Went White Water Rafting

On the homepage of this site I have a message where I say my goal for Lax Goalie Rat is to transform beginners into better goalies and better leaders in life.

I honestly believe that by learning the skills necessary to be a great goalie you’re also gaining the necessary skills to be a great leader in life.

That was the case for me and that’s been the case for every goalie I’ve coached so far.

After graduating college and entering the working world I honestly think I use more learned from days in the crease then my time spent in the classroom. And I’m not discounting a college degree, I just feel that the skills gained as a lacrosse goalie are amazing.

Some of you may know that in July of this year I got married.

When a lacrosse goalie gets married. #lacrossegoalie

A post shared by Coach Damon (@laxgoalierat) on

Before that day my friends and I spent a few nights on the American River in Sacramento to celebrate my final days of singledom.

We went white water rafting navigating rapids on minimal sleep. California received record amounts of rain and snowfall in the winter so the river was intense – topping out at stage 4+ in lots of parts according to our guides.

I want to share a few examples of skills that I learned or refined in the lacrosse world that served me well that day on the river.

Consider this post examples of how you can use lacrosse leadership in my day-to-day life.

Clear Communication

As a lacrosse goalie communication with the defense is vital.

You must ensure everyone knows their role which is ever changing depending on the offense’s moves. You must recognize your opponent’s plays and players and communicate

You must do all this while still being ridiculously focused on the ball in a hectic environment.

Intense white water rafting is a good replica of the chaos us lacrosse goalies sometimes face.

During our trip the guide gives the orders. Every boat can row forward 3 times in complete unison when you’re in calm water. But when you hit a 4+ rapid, you’ve got a face full of water, some teammates are nearly out of the boat and the guide wants an urgent 3 strokes forward, that’s another story. Things get extremely chaotic.

Our guide was good but he was too soft spoken. People in the front we’re having trouble hearing the guide positioned at the back of the boat. He wasn’t very loud plus there’s a lot of other noise from the rapids.

So every time I heard a command from the guide I repeated it at full volume to ensure everyone in the boat heard the order and knew what to do.



You can see me in the picture below yelling as loud as I can. I forget the difficulty of this rapid but based on my buddy’s expression behind me I’m going to say it was a big one.


Bring the Energy

Other people feed off of your energy. So what are you feeding them?

On the lacrosse field if your energy is crap, you’re feeding your team crap.

I’ve always considering myself an energetic person but when I’m in a team setting, the energy goes to the next level.

I want my defensive teammates to feed off my good energy and feel hyped for the game or for a practice.

Just like I want other members of my raft to be pumped and full of energy. Just like I want my coworkers to enjoy the energetic vibe I bring to the workplace.

Mid-way through the trip we stopped for lunch and I switched rafts – we had two rafts of 5 dudes – to spend time with the other group of friends. One of my friends made a comment that he loved the energy I brought to their raft. Something that was lacking on the 1st leg of the trip.

Everyone was more enthusiastic and perhaps not uncoincidentally we never got tipped or lost a teammate overboard despite the fact that literally every other raft in our convoy spilled at least once.

Elite goalies who know how to be great leaders understand that their team feeds of the energy they bring. So they bring the heat.

If you have trouble getting hyped for a game or practice, read that linked post.


Focus and Concentration

Nothing compares to the amount of pressure that comes with being a goalie.

You’re the last line of defense and any mistake is amplified as it results directly in a goal for the other team.

Playing goalie in the sport of lacrosse teaches you how to how handle intense pressure.

As our group approached the most dangerous rapid of the trip we knew things might take a turn for the worse.

We attacked the rapid perfectly, hit it square on and sailed through the danger zone. We turn around to see a in our convoy raft full of high school kids do a flip sending all the riders into the dangerous rapid.

Cooly and calmly our group back paddled hard to get into position to lift the frightening kids out of the water and save them. Will never forget the freaked out look on their faces as we pulled them out of an intense rapid and onto our boat.

My lacrosse goalie background and the ability to handle that pressure allowed me to perform at a high level despite the nerves that come with the guide explaining all the disaster scenarios of the upcoming rapid.


To be a great lacrosse goalie you must learn skills that will stay will you when you hang up the pads for the final time and enter the workforce.

Skills like communication in chaos, bringing the energy and positive vibes, and remain focused and concentrated despite your nerves.

Those are skills you either have or develop as you learn to play this amazing position that is lacrosse goalie.

And finally, here is one of my favorite pics of the trip. Remember how I said we were the only boat not to lose anyone? Well, we came damn close. That’s my good friend, an ex-teammate and a middie, hanging in by the tip of his toes as our raft almost took a spill after hitting a rock.

I think lacrosse goalie skills present themselves all the time in the real world. Or perhaps I’m just overanalyzing a bachelor party, but hey it’s still the offseason.

Until next time! Coach Damon

Anyone else have a story of using skills learned as a lacrosse goalie in real life? Would love to hear about it in the comments. 

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2 thoughts on “Lacrosse Goalie In Real Life: That Time I Went White Water Rafting

  1. What a great analogy! I appreciate the real-life tie-ins. It looks like you had an awesome time, to boot!

    Congratulations on the wedding – love the pic!

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