What Lacrosse Goalie Camp Should I Attend This Summer?
By Coach Damon on June 12, 2017
The 2017 NCAA National Championships ended last week (congrats Maryland men and women!) and that means another lacrosse season is winding down. Perhaps you have a little more remaining in your season, but summer is right around corner.
For some lacrosse players, summer doesn’t mean cat naps in the sun, it means lacrosse camp.
If you’re really dedicated to improving for next year, improving your lax game in the summer is a must.
While lacrosse camps can take your game to a new level they are also very expensive. Camp fees, plane flight, hotel, it all adds and up many goalies can only afford to attend only 1 of these events per summer.
So this post is to help you determine which lacrosse camp you should attend this summer?
My Online Camp
Lots of parents send me emails asking if I will be coaching a camp in their area. And I’ll while would love to do it – I actually have a full time job that isn’t ‘lacrosse goalie coach’.
But last Spring I spent hours and hours out on the field and in the classroom putting together an online lacrosse goalie camp.
In many ways this is better than a live camp because the videos are yours for life. Want to review a drill a month later? No problem. Want to get a little inspiration before a practice? No problem.
The responsibility does lie with the goalie to actually execute the drills and exercises that I demo in the camp. But if you go through all the material, I guarantee you’ll be a better goalie.
Live Camp Options
Before deciding on what the best camp is for you, let’s explore all the different camp options.
The first two options fall under the category of “teaching camps” while the third option falls into the category of “recruiting camp”. The final option is one-on-one instruction.
Lacrosse Goalie Camps
Lacrosse goalie camps are specific to only lacrosse goalies.
These camps are loaded with lacrosse goalie coaches who will put you through drills, exercises, video review, and intensely scrutinize your save technique and provide feedback.
If you’ve never had a lacrosse goalie coach before, these camps can take your game to a new level as you’ll learn things that you can take back to practice with you when you rejoin your team next year.
While you won’t see as many shots as the other camp options, the lacrosse goalie camp will definitely increase your skills and usually give to at least one “ah-ha” idea on how to improve your goalie game.
These camps can either be 1-day events or they can be multiple day overnight camps.
General Lacrosse Camps
Whereas the lacrosse goalie camps will only have goalies, the general lacrosse camps have all positions including goalies.
These types of camps will typically have breakout sessions where the groups will divide into positions and get specific positional training. Then they’ll also have team sessions where the group works on team concepts. Finally they will have plenty of scrimmages.
The one thing to be careful of is that in some general lacrosse camps the goalies receive little attention. They are merely target practice for the other players.
Before attending a general lacrosse camp be sure to confirm there will be goalie specific coaches attending the camp. The number of goalie coaches will depend on the size of the camp but its sure to be less than a lacrosse goalie specific camp.
Like goalie camps, general lacrosse camps can either be 1-day events or multiple day overnight camps.
Here is a pretty good list of upcoming lacrosse camps.
Showcase Event / Prospect Camps
Showcase events are essentially dog and pony shows that lacrosse coaches attend to scout players.
They consist of mostly scrimmages with all members of the showcase – goalies, attack, middies, and defenseman.
In the showcase events you’re not going to get any feedback. The coaches may see some flaw in your game but they have no interaction with you. The coaches are there to scout you, not to provide you feedback and coaching on your goalie game.
Prospect camps are almost always 1-day events.
Here’s a pretty good list of all prospect camps this summer.
1×1 Coaching in Your Area
The final option is to get some private tutoring for your lacrosse goalie game.
Often these sessions can be the most beneficial to a developing goalie as they get focused, one-on-one time with a coach who teach them drills / techniques and critique their performance.
Obviously this option is only available if you find a goalie coach in your area to work with. In lacrosse hotbeds this shouldn’t be a problem as plenty of college goalies are free for the summer and probably wouldn’t mind working one-on-one with your kid.
While this technically isn’t a ‘camp’, working individually with a goalie coach is a great option to up your goalie game this summer.
What Camp to Attend this Summer?
Now that you understand the different types of camps that a goalie could attend, let’s determine which would be the best for you.
The first question to ask yourself is where are you at with your goalie game?
If you’ve just started your path to dominating all 3 elements of the lacrosse goalie triad – physical, technical, and mental, you’ll be best served attending a teaching lacrosse camp or getting 1×1 training.
Here you’ll have your technique scrutinized, you’ll learn lacrosse goalie drills, and you’ll learn exercises to develop your body into a save machine. You’ll learn and improve upon the basics of what it takes to be an elite lacrosse goalie.
Now if you feel like your goalie skills are pretty good and you just need to get more reps in a team environment, the general lacrosse camp is a great choice.
While there will be instruction similar to the lacrosse goalie camp, you won’t be getting as much individualized goalie training at these camps. However you will see a LOT more shots and get more experience playing against top talent.
You’ll get more experience in the team game. The more experience you get and shots you see (especially from better competition) the better you will become. So these camps do improve your game as well.
And depending on the lacrosse camp you may even have some specialized goalie coaching there.
Finally if you feel like your goalie game is at a really high level and you want to show off your skills to college coaches, that’s when I recommend you attend a showcase or a prospect camp. Some of the more popular showcase have upwards of 100 lacrosse coaches in attendance so it can be a great way to jumpstart the recruiting process.
Unfortunately some of these showcase events are nothing but money makers for the organizers, charging an arm and a leg for the kids (and sometimes even coaches) to attend. So do your research before signing up for a showcase.
Be sure to contact the coach beforehand as I mention in my post on lacrosse goalie recruiting.
Again, I would only recommend the showcase/prospect camp if you’re a top goalie.
If your goalie game needs work, its pointless to attend a showcase camp. You won’t get any feedback on your game and there will be little interest from college coaches as they see how much development you need as a goalie and will not be interested.
Don’t waste your money – you’ll be much better served attending a goalie camp or general lacrosse camp in this situation.
Enjoy Some Off Time
Before jumping right into lacrosse activities this summer, I think its important that all goalies take a little time off.
Most lacrosse players but especially goalies tend to get a little burnt out towards the end of a season of taking shots. A little time away from the game will help refuel your passion for lacrosse once you restart.
Like any physical activity a little rest and recovery will help you in the long run.
Lacrosse camps are pricey. A 3 or 4-day overnight camp can cost well over $700. And if you don’t live in the area, factor in another 400 or so for a plane flight and perhaps a hotel.
If you and your family are in a position to attend multiple summer camps, that’s great. But if you can only afford to attend one camp, it better be the right one.
There 3 types of camps – lacrosse goalie camps, general lacrosse camps, and showcase / prospect camp.
There is also the option to work 1-on-1 with a private goalie coach if you can find one and can afford it.
The important thing is to do an accurate self assessment of where you’re at in your goalie game. If you need to improve you’ll be better attending a goalie camp or a general lacrosse camp.
If you think you’re ready to play at the college level and want to get some exposure, try the showcase.
And don’t forget to take a break from lacrosse if you’re burnt out.
Regardless of which camp you choose to attend this summer, I’m happy you’re devoting time to improving as a goalie. That’s the important thing.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Anything I missed on lacrosse goalie camps? Any other questions? Leave me a comment down below.
Main photo by Travis Warren.