Short stick? The essential skill all goalies need to have | Lax Goalie Rat

Short stick? The essential skill all goalies need to have

Lacrosse Short Stick Close Up

When I first started my lacrosse career, I actually wasn’t a goalie. I played middie. I was the Lax Middie Rat, if you will.

It wasn’t until mid-season of my freshman year that I converted to goalie when our backup tore his ACL. There’s no doubt that starting at midfielder was tremendously valuable in helping me excel once I did make the transition to goalie.

Why?  Because I already knew how to use a short stick.

And having great stick skills is something that every goalie should have!

Midfielder First

Even if your very first position in the sport of lacrosse is goaltender, it is still essential that you learn to throw and catch with a short stick.

Youth (and experienced) players should not step into the goal without having thrown and become comfortable using a short stick. It’s really hard to get in goal and save a shot that is moving 70-90 mph when you don’t even know how to catch a pass with a lacrosse short stick. It’s starts with basic fundamentals.

The first thing I make my goalie students do is to grab a short stick and thrown against a wall or with a friend. And practice, practice, practice! Throw against the wall everyday for at least a 1/2 hour until throwing left handed and right handed feels with a short stick feels comfortable.

In the dorms in college when I was learning the position, I drove my roommates nuts because I always had my stick in hand. Throwing fakes at their faces and having an occasional ball squirt loose and crash into their computers. Hey, I did bring some other positive qualities to the room.

If you love the sport of lacrosse like I do, this part should be easy. I’d bring my stick everywhere with me. When you’re studying, take a 20 minute break and play catch on the wall. When you’re the grocery store, bring your stick and practice ball handling. Always working, always getting better with the stick and as a lacrosse player.

Learning to use a short stick is essential skill that all goalies needs to have. How do you developer short stick skills?

Wall Ball Routine For Lacrosse Goalies

The greatest thing about it is that you can learn with just a stick, a ball, and a wall. Oh, and hours and hours of practice.

You have to fall in love with the process of becoming great.

Playing wall ball for hours is apart of the process and there’s no better way to build your stick skills. Here’s a specific wall ball routine that you can use to get comfortable with a short stick.

Standing about 7-10 feet away from a concrete wall perform 30 throws of each of the following. Try to limit yourself to a single cradle between each throw. You should attempt to throw the ball to the same spot on the wall or same exact brick every time so that the rebound comes to “the box” near your head.

50 throws of each of the following –

  • Right Hand Overhand
  • Left Hand Overhand
  • Right Hand Overhead, catch left side – Throw across your body so the rebound comes to the left side of your body. Keeping the right handed grip on the stick, make the catch and bring the stick back to the right side. Repeat.
  • Left Hand Overhead, catch right side – Same as above except reversed.
  • Right Hand Side Arm – Drop your release and catch point down to a sidearm arm
  • Left Hand Side Arm – Same as above except reversed.
  • Throw Right, Catch Left – Throw with your right, while the ball is in the air, switch to the left and make the catch. After making the catch, switch back to right with a split dodge and repeat 29 more times.
  • Throw Left, Catch Right – Same as above except reversed.
  • Throw Right, Catch Left One Arm – Similar to above however now just use a single hand when catching the rebound. So you throw right and then catch the rebound on the left side of your body with the stick only in your left hand.
  • Throw Left, Catch Right One Arm – Same as above except reversed.
  • Right Handed Quick Stick – Move closer to the wall (5 ft.) and move your hands up the shaft to the mid or 3/4 point. Now we use no cradle in between throws. Catch and throw in a single motion. Cushion the catch like you’re catching an egg and then throw in single fluid motion.
  • Left Hand Quick Stick – Same as above except reserved.
  • Right Handed Quick Stick, Catch and Throw “Canadian” style –  Throw with your right and catch the ball on the left side with the right handed grip. Now throw from the left of your body using that same grip and catch on the right side.
  • Left Handed Quick Stick, Catch and Throw “Canadian” style – Same as above except reserved.
  • Right Hand Overhand with a snap fake – In between each throw, after the catch now do a wrist fake (also called a quarter turn fake or a snap fake).
  • Left Hand Overhand with a snap fake – Same as above except reserved.
  • Run the Wall – If you have the space, run along the wall for 10-15 years while throwing and catching. When you reach the end wall is long enough, run along it for 10-12 yards while throwing against it and catching the rebound. When you reach the end of the wall, turn around and repeat using your opposite hand.
  • Behind the Back Throws – The more things you can do with your lacrosse stick, the better you’ll be.

If you do 50 repetitions of each of the following throws, that’s about 900 reps and it should take about 20 minutes. This wall ball routine will not only help you build your short stick skills but its also a cardiovascular exercise as you should have a sweat going and an increased heart rate when you’ve completed all the different drills.

This video from professional lacrosse player Kevin Crowley shows many of the throws above in motion:

Here’s another video from Trilogy lacrosse with a demonstration of various wall drills you can use to improve your short stick skills:

Here’s a final video from Marcus Holman outlining his wall ball routine:


Being good with a short stick is a necessary element of being a dominate lacrosse goalie. Before starting to learn the skills essential to making saves, you should learn to catch and throw with a short stick.

20-30 minutes a day using the wall ball program outlined above will get you good with a shortie in no time.

After that, it’s time to jump in goal.

Until next time! Coach Damon

Have you found that learning to use a short stick improved your goalie game? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Short stick? The essential skill all goalies need to have

  1. Hi! I was wondering if you would be ok with me using the image at the top of this article:

    It’s been pouring rain for more than a week and the weather isn’t supposed to improve anytime soon here in the Pacific NW, otherwise I would go out and take the shot myself since it’s not an action shot and would be fairly easy to imitate. I’ve been fiddling around with that image and would like to use it but don’t want to get in trouble if it’s copyrighted, or if you minded. However, if you don’t, I’d like to take it, tweak it some, and use it!

    Please let me know if that would be ok with you! Thank you,

    1. Hi Heidi –

      If you share my site on Twitter or Facebook, you can have my permission to use that image. Sounds like a fair deal as I did pay for that image so there’s no copyright restriction. Just started blogging a few months and I’m still trying to get the word out about my site. If you send me your email I’ll even send you a large version of that JPG. Thanks!

      Coach Damon

  2. Hi, Coach Damon! I would love to share your site and am in process (as in my Facebook page isn’t “live”) of making a FB page, but will definitely share your link once it is. When I initially posted here, I actually thought I was sending a private email because the site asked for my email. I don’t necessarily want that posted for all to see? And since my comment wasn’t about your blog necessarily, it probably could stand to be deleted? I’ve never posted anything anywhere before, so I got nervous when I saw that it was there under the comments. :-/
    How can I message you directly?

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