So we had an excellent question submitted to us by Phil, from the UK:
I have been training with a lacrosse club in England which has four goalies between four teams. I have to train as defender/attacker etc but I feel like I would be a good goalie. I’ve always played in goal as a footballer (soccer player) and I excelled. Admittedly I’ve not played in goal at lacrosse yet. How should I approach it?
First off, CONGRATS on having the desire to play lacrosse goalie. It is a rare quality for someone to actually want to have rubber balls pelted at them at speeds in excess of 50 mph (80kph). To us, this is often the most basic yet overlooked quality when coaches are looking for goalies. Sure, ideally you need to be athletic and have certain qualities that will set you up for success in goal, but the first thing you need is to actually want to be there!
To get started, make sure you check out this blog post about proper equipment. Before you step in goal, you want to make sure that you have the right gear on!
Next, I would recommend you find a shooting friend who is willing to take shots on you. This should NOT be that stereotypical attacker who cranks from 5 yards away and thinks that they are the next Paul Rabil. Find someone who is willing to work WITH you, and do what is necessary to get you comfortable in the goal. If you have access to them, I would recommend that you actually start with tennis balls. These will allow the same shot velocity, but you’ll avoid the likely bruises as you adjust to the new position.
I would also HIGHLY recommend you check out some youtube videos on the best goalies out there. You’ll start to understand the demands but also the technique behind the position, which does vary from football (soccer) in some ways. If you can, try some of these drills out to get you going:
Last, let your coach know you’ve put the work in. There is nothing more appealing to a coach than a player who wants to be there, and also demonstrates on his own that he is willing to do the work to stay there. If you’ve already taken some shots, he’ll probably feel more comfortable with you trying it in goal, as well. Remember to take everything in stride. As a lacrosse goalie you WILL be scored on. Probably more often than in football. Enjoy it and hopefully we’ll catch you in cage, soon!