Whether it’s a big game or a big practice, we know one thing is for sure: Your warm-up is important to your performance. Check out 8 tips below to make sure you have the most effective warm up!
Timing is Everything- Some goalies need more time than their teammates, some goalies need less. The key here is hitting it just right. Mess around with your timing, do you do better with a shorter warm-up, longer? Do a test drive throughout a week of practices and really challenge yourself to be aware of what feels just right. When it comes time for the game, do YOUR thing. If you need an extra 5min, take the extra 5min. If you need less, don’t force yourself to be out there any longer than you need to be. Remember, this is YOUR time, so talk it over with your coach and set up a timeline for what you want to do.
Get your muscles warm- It seems obvious, but sometimes you just want to hop in cage and start taking shots right away. Not only could this lead to injury, it’s also a good idea to get your body shifted into game mode and get those pregame jitters out. We recommend a quick build up warm up consisting of some jogging, plyometrics and stretching any sore muscle groups out. Feel free to hop out of your team’s warm-up and get an expedited one for just what your body needs.
Arc Work- What’s the point of being a goalie if you’re not in the right spot to make the save? A simple yet great go to before games we like to use is walking our arc. Start on one pipe, close your eyes, and get to the other pipe. Repeats a few times and just feel your body and the steps its making. Do a run with your eyes open and find some landmarks in the distance just in case!
Focused Eyes- So you’ve got your muscles warmed up, you’re in the right spot, and so the next step is to make sure your tracking game is strong. A few ways to get this going? Use a smaller stick (men’s field stick) or a smaller ball (practice wiffle baseballs). We actually recommend using your hand and just having a coach or teammate toss you the lacrosse ball. The idea here isn’t about the speed, it’s about truly focusing on the ball the entire flight- from release to catch. Don’t just watch it. Stare it down. Zone in and challenge your eyes to be laser beamed into that ball.
Hands to the Ball, Body to Ball- You’re warm, you’re locked in, now it’s time to make sure your arms and legs are ready to go. Progressing from your hands, switch over to the men’s stick. Or better yet? Use a weight shaft like thePower Shaftor using two goalie sticks at once (just layer them so both heads are resting on one another) and walk the line or take a few shots. This is the same idea as using a weight baseball bat before your swings at the plate. Get the blood going and you’ll also be amazed at how much quicker you feel. Using a smaller or heavier stick will also force your body to get to the ball. Something often overlooked but incredibly important to your success.
Shots, Shots, Shots- When you’re ready, have your coach start taking live shots on you. Remember, this is YOUR warm up, so they shouldn’t be trying to rip top cheddar. 75-80% speed and have they aim for the pipes or wider. The goal here is to get you warmed up, so you want to over exaggerate the movement, then bring it in and faster as you get further into your warm up. We recommend starting high, and then working your way low.
Rhythm Can Kill- Just because it’s a warm-up doesn’t mean we want you getting into a rhythm. Yes, want you focused on only stopping high, mid or low shots, but that doesn’t mean the shooter and you are playing a game of catch. Have them hold on a shot or throw a fake in every once in awhile. This will keep you honest and force your to work on your balance.
Throw it up- What’s worse than an inside thigh shot? Throwing the ball right to the other team and having them jam it down your throat. Prevent this awful experience by making sure your throws are on point before you get in the game. Warm-ups are focused on saves, but your clearing game is just as important to your team. Make sure you get some reps with a player on the run as well as some where you’re on the run.
Last but not least, some advice we were always given but find comical, “Just stop the little ball from going in the big orange and white net.” At the end of the day, that’s all there is to it. You’re ready to go, warm. ENJOY the game, and remember, keep it simple! It truly is as easy as stopping the little ball from going past you!
Our mission is to use mental and physical training to help our athletes succeed not only as players, but as people off of the field as well. We live by 2 basic principles: Be Fearless, Never Stop Learning.