The Science of Being a Lacrosse Goalie | Lax Goalie Rat

The Science of Being a Lacrosse Goalie

I hope everyone is enjoying the Men’s NCAA tournament as much as I am. We’re down to the final four – Maryland v Brown and UNC v Loyola. Can’t wait for the championship – 1 week from today. My pick to win it all is Loyola.

For this week’s post I wanted to share a video ESPN just released with one of their Sport Science series dedicated to our beloved position – lacrosse goalie.

Very interesting video that I wanted to share with all of you!

Now here’s a couple of takeaways I had from this Sport Science breakdown.

Lacrosse goalie is a tough position

If you’re like me, you have the mentality that you can save every shot. And that’s great, that’s how I want all goalies to think.

But some shots are literally impossible to defend because of the physical limits of the human body.

According to the video the fastest a human can react to visual stimuli is roughly 200 milliseconds. But a 105MPH shot from 30 feet reaches the goal in 190 milliseconds. Not enough time for the goalie to react.

Same as a 80MPH shot from 20 feet away – that reaches the goal in just 171 milliseconds.

The equivalent in baseball is a batter facing a 200 MPH pitch! A fully ‘roided Barry Bonds couldn’t handle a 200 MPH heater.

Just something to keep in mind the next time you’re struggling with your confidence.

Fixate on the Shooter’s Head

At the 1:28 mark notice how MLL goalie Drew Adam’s eyes fixate on the shooter stick head to pickup the release point.

This is really an awesome part of the video for demonstrating where you should be looking when a shooter rips one at you.

I think too often lacrosse goalies don’t realize how far away from a shooter’s body the release actually is. Instead they’re focused on a point closer to the body and it adds that extra millisecond to pickup the shot.

This is especially true when goalies face the inevitable shot from a long-stick defender. Most goalies don’t pickup the release point from long sticks very well due to the 6 foot pole.

Instead of focusing on the shooter’s shoulder or body, focus on the shooter’s stick head and even anticipate a little where that shot will be released from so you can pickup the ball coming right out of the stick and react accordingly.

In the firing squad drill you notice how much slower Adam’s reaction time is. That example is a little extreme but our reaction time is certainly slower if we’re not seeing the ball right out of the shooter’s stick.

Rattlesnake Strike

I love this metaphor of a rattlesnake strike for quick hands.

Adams moves his stick from 0 to 20MPH in 125 milliseconds which is actually just slightly faster than a rattlesnake strike.

In order to build up that level of hand quickness, make sure your practice routine includes plenty of reaction drills, and heavy bar drills.

A rattlesnake strike is a good metaphor for quick hands and attacking the ball. Going to work that into my coaching lexicon.

ESPN also did a similar video on Paul Rabil’s crankshot that doesn’t have anything to do with lacrosse goalies but is definitely an interesting watch for the lax fan.

That’s all for this week.

Until next time! Coach Damon

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