I think every lax goalie rat out there has had a practice where they simply didn’t feel like playing.
It’s not a good feeling. It leads to a bad practice and if you have enough bad practices, your game performance suffers.
While many goalies have no problems getting hyped and motivated for the games, lots of goalies struggle to find that same motivation for a practice.
In the immortal words of Allen Iverson – y’all talking ’bout practice?
For goalies who struggle to get into the right mindset pre-practice here are some methods you can use to hype yourself up and have a great training session even when you’re feeling down.
Crank Up the Music
Listening to music is by far the most popular method to get hyped and deserves to be number one on this list.
Tons of athletes, professional and amateur alike, use tunes to change their mood and gain some focus and concentration prior to practice. If you haven’t incorporated music into a pre-practice routine, I definitely recommend you start.
Whether it’s some old-school rock ‘n’ roll like The Rolling Stones or something like Eminem or Jay Z, the type of music is a pure personal choice.
Your type of music may change depending on what kind of day you’ve had. Sometimes its louder, faster music other times its the slow tasteful jams.
The important thing is scientific studies have proven that music has been shown to divert attention away from feelings of fatigue, stimulate enhanced performance, lower feelings of anger and depression, and quicken movements (when there’s a speedy beat).
So load up your favorite playlist and indulge prior to practice to get in the mood.
My second recommendation for getting hyped or at least in the right mindset for practice is meditation.
There’s a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes that surround meditation but with all the scientific evidence coming out in the past several years, meditation is becoming something that can’t be overlooked.
As anyone who’s ever played goalie knows, the biggest opponent is always inside. Meditation gives you ways to come to terms with this opponent.
You don’t need a mat, graceful music, or sitting in a forest surrounded by luscious greens and majestical trees. All you need is your mind and body.
Using this guided meditation you can learn to make the most of every moment by setting clear intentions for every training session. It also helps you set a healthy sense of perspective as you set clear intentions to pursue your goals.
If you haven’t tried meditation as a form of getting hyped and focused for practice, I suggest you give it a try because a mind that is not under control is a mind that makes mistakes.
Another method of getting excited for a practice is watching epic lacrosse plays.
I originally started editing together goalie save videos so that I could demonstrate great save technique. However several goalies have commented that they use these videos to get hyped. I love that!
My favorite goalie save edit is probably the 2016 NCAA championship game:
You can find a bunch more videos on the LGR YouTube channel that will get you in the mood to practice if you need a quick hype.
Another really awesome option is motivational sports videos.
Perhaps the best motivational speech giver in the sports realm is Ray Lewis. Every time I listen to one of his speeches I get goose bumps followed by a wave of motivation to give it my all.
Listen to this and let me know if you feel the same thing:
Wow, that’s awesome.
You may be asking yourself, what in the world is self-hype? Well, don’t worry because its exactly what it sounds like.
I sometimes like to use this method if I’m feeling down or not quite mentally prepared to stand between the pipes.
Self-hype is about telling yourself positive mental notes to keep with yourself throughout the practice or game.
No, you don’t just mentally tell yourself, you look for a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and tell yourself that you are ready and you will do anything to stop that shot.
This method is popular amongst fighters as well. I learned this from former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans, who always told himself “I don’t care what happens in the cage”, but with a little bit of harsh language here and there.
Just remember, whatever you need to tell yourself to be fearless and calm is what you should say. So whether its screaming in the mirror repeating how much of an animal or getting close as possible and saying you got this, this method will do the trick.
Of course, if your friends or family see you doing this, just keep in mind, us goalies are known to have a few screws loose upstairs.
The wall is a multi-functional tool and should be a best friend among us goalies.
Wall ball can be used to practice just about anything in lacrosse, including getting hyped to be in the cage.
No, you just don’t sit there and play catch with the wall. What I like to do is get down in my stance and react to placed shots on the wall.
This will not only get you in the zone of tracking the shot, but also build your confidence as make sure you are at a pace to where you’ll make every save. Remember, this isn’t necessarily for practice as it is to get hyped.
Also, if you aren’t comfortable going into practice with a new technique, don’t just give up on trying it. The wall always comes in handy, and is the easiest way to perfect your technique, so take advantage of it.
If you’re not feeling it for a particular practice session, don’t be afraid to ask for some help.
That’s what your teammates are for. As goalies we’re on an island enough of the time, but we don’t always have to approach our struggles alone.
Every goalie should have a teammate (most likely one of your defenseman) that they can rely on. Pull them aside real quick and say – “Yo I’m not feeling it today. Can you give a pep talk?”
Don’t be a goalie who feels like they need to handle all their problems alone. That’s what the team is for. To get your back and lift you up on those days when you’re down. As a goalie, be prepared to do the same for your teammates too.
If you don’t have a teammate that can serve this role for you, a coach, parent, or trusted friend not on the lacrosse team can certainly help you out with a pep talk when you’re not feeling up to practice.
Of course, a great lacrosse goalie coach should be able to spot when his keeper is not in the mood and provide that perfect dose of motivation.
The final method for getting hyped for practice is a mental adjustment towards practice.
Many lacrosse players and goalies treat practice as something with little value. Why give it my all when it’s only the games that matter?
The truth is, how you practice is how you play.
You cannot be low energy and slow during your practice sessions and then all of a sudden turn it on for games. This position, this sport, doesn’t work like that.
So if you consistently find yourself doubting the value the practice and thus not getting excited, it’s time for a mental adjustment as to what practice really is.
Every player sometimes dreads a practice. But for goalies that’s a tough position to be in due to the nature of being a lacrosse goalie and seeing so much action.
I hope this list has helped you learn a few methods to really change your attitude when you’re feeling down before a practice.
Remember your time on the lacrosse field is limited and each moment should be enjoyed and cherished as you work hard to become a better goalie.
If you find yourself down before a practice give one of these methods a try:
Self-Hype / Self-Talk
Pep Talk from teammate
Hopefully then you feel great and have a great practice session.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Anyone have different methods that they use when you just don’t feel like practicing? Let me hear them in the comments. Thanks!
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.