Lacrosse goalie’s have one of the most difficult tasks in sports. Not only do we have to prevent a high velocity shot from entering the goal but we also have to control the rebound and lead the clear so we can get our team back on offense.
Every rebound you give up is another opportunity for the opposing team to score.
Therefore lax goalies must work hard to ensure they’re eliminating rebounds on every save.
In this post I want cover tips that I teach young goalies to help them control rebounds.
Soft Hands Eliminate Rebounds
Not giving up rebounds starts with having “soft hands”.
If a hard shot hits the pocket of your stick and your hands and arms are firm like bricks there’s a good chance that shot is going to pop out for a rebound.
Before I played lacrosse, I played infield in baseball and you’d always hear the concept of soft hands here too so that a grounder wouldn’t hit your glove and pop out.
When you’re learning how to field a grounder as an infielder they talk about staying loose, not tensing up your body and then timing the grounder with your footwork. Same thing applies to saves as a lacrosse goalie if we want to prevent rebounds.
Having “soft hands” in lacrosse starts with a light grip on the stick.
When the ball hits the mesh of your stick, your loose grip will give a little and help reduce rebounds.
Your bottom hand grip can be a little tighter to ensure the stick doesn’t rotate when hit with a shot. However the top hand should be very relaxed.
If your top hand is too tight when the ball contacts the mesh the force could pop it out and create a rebound.
To train your goalie to have soft hands there are a few goalie drills that you can do.
The lighter tennis balls are harder to keep in the stick’s mesh during a save. So practice not giving up rebounds in practice with tennis balls.
You’ll really need to ensure your grip is relaxed to not give up a rebound with a tennis ball.
An interesting idea, especially if you’re practicing solo, is to use a tennis ball machine like those found at Tennis Racquet Central to fire shots at you.
Shots With a Shallow Stick
Later in this post we’ll discuss how your stick’s mesh and pocket depth impact rebounds. The quick summary is a shallow goalie pocket will give up more rebounds.
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.