Why Lacrosse Goalies Wear Sweatpants and Why You Should Too
By Coach Damon on February 14, 2016
You’ve seen it before. It’s a scorching hot day as two teams get set to battle it out on the lacrosse field.
As the goalie takes the field, he’s wearing….sweatpants!
Lax goalies have one of the few jobs in the world where sweatpants are appropriate business attire.
In fact, I completely recommend every goalie wear sweatpants. And the baggier they are, the better.
So why do some lacrosse goalies always wear sweatpants in the cage? And should you start doing it?
Most lacrosse goalies don’t wear any pads on their legs. So as weird as it may sound, the extra fabric of sweatpants helps to take some of the sting out of getting hit directly in the thigh with a shot.
Make sure you’re using the heavy duty sweatpants, like these Heavy Weight Sweatpants from Champion. You don’t want the lightweight sweats as that defeats the purpose of getting extra protection on the legs.
Many lacrosse goalies pull up the sweats so they expose the shins, letting the world know you’re not committing the sin of wearing shin guards.
When pulled up to the knee the sweats also provide some nice padding for shots taken directly to the knee.
Many lacrosse goalies swear by baggy sweatpants for the additional surface area they provide to protect the net.
This extra surface area can translate into an additional save every couple of games.
Even if the sweats don’t result in saves they definitely take up more surface area and reduce the amount of open cage an attacking player sees. This often results in them firing an errant shot which doesn’t count as a save but is better than a goal.
I remember several saves very specifically where the ball hit my sweats under the crotch or grazed the side of my sweats just enough to deflect it from going into the goal.
Lacrosse goalies are a crazy breed. We’d probably shave off our eyebrows if it meant an additional save per game!
Instead we wear sweatpants and get a few extra saves every season because of that.
In my example in the intro of this post, the game was on a hot day but the lacrosse season starts in February when there’s still snow on the ground in the North East.
Because goalies are not active while the ball is on the other side of the field, it tends to get a little chilly.
Therefore, most goalies will wear the sweatpants to also keep their legs warm.
It’s important to stay loose and warm while the ball is on your own offensive side so that when its time to play defense you’re reaction time doesn’t suffer one bit.
Sweatpants will keep you warmer than shorts.
Many lacrosse goalies have superstitions that they follow to maintain their dominance in the cage. If they’re doing a certain thing or even eating a certain thing, they won’t switch up during a hot streak.
Some goalies like ex-Syracuse star John Galloway rub dirt on their face and re-tape their goalie stick before every game.
“Part of being goalie is getting on a hot streak,” says ESPN Analyst Quint Kessenich. “So you stay with whatever is working.”
For many goalies, whatever is working means sweatpants.
And Kessenich is right, if something is working there’s no reason to stop doing it.
There is a certain machismo amongst the male lacrosse goalies that explains why many ridicule goalies who use additional pads on their legs.
With how fast today’s shooter can rip the ball I encourage goalie’s (especially during practice) to be as protected as possible.
Goalies have a full range of lacrosse goalie gear at their disposal and I encourage all goalies to get protected.
If you find yourself being scared of the ball, try strapping on some additional padding and you’ll feel more confident in the cage.
If you’re going to use shin guards or lacrosse goalie pants, you can cover them up with a pair of sweatpants so nobody will know what kind of extra leg protection you’re using.
I saved the most trivial reason for last. I liked the way they look.
I think a lacrosse goalie with a pair of thick sweats rolled up to the knee looks like a bads$$ goalie.
And as Deion Sanders once said, “When you look good, you feel good, when you feel good, you play good”.
Wearing sweatpants while playing goalie is entirely a preference thing. Some goalies like them while others prefer to stick with shorts.
For those that wear sweatpants while in goal they typically do so because:
- Sweatpants provide additional protection
- Sweatpants provide additional saves
- Sweatpants provide additional warmth
- Sweatpants are a superstition
- Sweatpants look good
- Sweatpants can cover up extra leg padding
I encourage all goalies to get a pair of sweatpants about 2 sizes too big and use them while in goal.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Anyone out there use sweatpants in the cage? Let me know in the comments below.