Every time you raise to the next level of competition the caliber of players you face becomes way better.
On your youth team there might be one kid who can shoot hard. By the time you get to junior high, there’s a handful of kids who can bring the goods. Even more when you reach high school. And when you reach the college ranks nearly every kid can ping corners with speed.
Couple that with the fact that at this very moment the engineers at Brine, Warrior, and STX are working to create revolutionary products that put more whip, zip, and accuracy on each shot.
All of that leads me to an email I got from a high school goalie:
Coach – I’m a freshman in high school and it is my third year playing lacrosse goalie. I don’t have trouble saving slow-medium speed shots but I just am not able to get in front of those extremely fastshots especially at the high school level during practice. Do you have any tips on what I can do? Thank you!
Whether that’s with a false step or dropping the hands before moving them to the shot – it’s a very common and innate thing for us goalies. Something I struggled with immensely as I was learning the position.
You might be able to get away with those mistakes when the shots are not fast.
In fact in that very video the young goalies saves every shot where she exhibits a wasted movement because the shots are not that hard and she can recover.
But high velocity shots are not forgiving!
Scotty Rodgers talks about having “one bullet in the chamber”.
You only get to fire it once and you’ve got to fire it directly at the shot. Or else those high velocity cranks are finding the back of the net.
A false step is firing twice and you can’t do that and be an elite goalie at the higher levels.
Check out this video clip:
This goalie ends up making the save, but notice the wasted movement? Top hand drops before moving to the ball.
He still makes the save, but if that shot is another 10MPH it’s in the back of the net.
If you don’t know if you have this problem, grab an iphone and tripod and film yourself making saves. Break down that video in slow motion. It will be extremely clear.
I remember when I was a young goalie we scrimmaged the Olympic Club which was loaded with D1 guys who’d just graduated college.
One dude fired a shot so hard I only heard it whizz by my ear.
As you get to the higher levels the players get better. So as goalies we’ve got to up own game accordingly!
While you might have been able to rely on pure athleticism as a youngster, if you want to save FAST shots you’ve got to dominate the fundamentals of making saves.
You got to pickup the release points right away. You’ve got to make no wasted movements. You’ve got to be an extreme shape to explode to the ball.
You might also try moving back on the arc just to give yourself that extra split second to see the shots.
Finally you’ve just got to get used to fast shots. They’re not going to shoot slower out of pity.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Anyone else got any tips for getting used to the higher velocity shots when you move up in the levels? Would love to heard about it down below in the comments.
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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.