What To Watch For- Five for Friday

We had a great question submitted to us by Lindsey in our Question Bin this past week!

Question: What should a goalie look for in game film? What should they look for in their own play and what should they look for in a shooter’s play.

Answer: What a great question! Often times it seems like players are either blindly watching film or are intimidated by it. Film is a great learning tool, if you use it properly. It’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  1. No one is perfect, to make a mistake is OK! To take your mistakes personally is not the point of film, it’s to learn so you can grow as a player and prevent making the same mistakes over and over again. Don’t let the risk of embarrassment stop you from becoming a better player. The best of the best put this aside and let their passion for being the best overtake their fear of failure on and off of the field.
  2. Watch your stance, patience and angles. If you want to make a save, your best bet is to have your body ready to go in the most efficient stance and on angle. What to watch for:
    • Your stance, are you always ready, feet shoulder width apart, knees and hips slightly bent, elbows relaxed and hands in ready position? Or are you going in and out of your stance, standing at times, getting too wide or too narrow?
    • Furthermore, how is your patience? When someone fakes or pulls a move, do you bite the move or do you remain balanced and patient in your stance, ready for when the shot is actually released?
    • As the ball moves, are you moving? Try to notice if you’re on angle, in front or behind the ball. Is there a certain spot on the field or certain dodge that you notice yourself more out of position than the other? Some goalies struggle when the ball moves laterally across the field, while other struggle with top to bottom dodges. Same with crease play. Watch the ball, and watch your movement.
  3. Watch the actual save, and don’t forget those goals against, too. There’s a lot that goes into a save, so here are some things to look for:
    • Hands- are they moving in a direct line to the ball, or do you keep them flat to your body?
    • Head- is your head behind the ball with your hands? Most goalies struggle with this, particularly on low shots (guilty, as charged!).
    • Legs- do you drive off of your back leg for the most efficient move to the ball, or are you trying to pick up your front leg to get there? You’re in your stance so that your leg muscles are loaded and ready to get you to the ball, not to have to shift your weight back to move forward.
    • Saves you struggle with- make a chart and make note of where your saves and goals are coming from. Is there are particular save that you excel or need to work on? Sometimes you need to plot a few games/practices to notice a tendency to become clear.
  4. Decision making and clears. How you react after a goal or a save is crucial.
    • What is your reaction and emotion after a goal? Are you calm, cool and collected, working with your defense to stop the next one, or are you in rage, acting out? Do you keep to yourself? You can’t take a goal off of the scoreboard, so how you react only effects the future. Are you doing most by yourself and your team, or are you hurting them unknowingly? Watch. Be honest.
    • Making the save is a thrill, but there’s nothing more frustrating than having the ball come right back down your throat. After you’ve made the save, look and see if you’re making the first look or if you miss some open defenders. Are you making the best decisions? Are you making the correct passes for those situations (flat pass vs. arcing pass)? Check your technique and your mental game, here.
  5. Enough about goalies… have some scout film you can watch of your upcoming opponent? Here’s some things to look for in shooters-
    • Their go to move. Most attackers have a go to move or two at most. Figure out what they like to do to get free and make note of it.
    • Their go to shot placement. Almost every attacker has a shot they love to do. While they might not take it every time, if you have a couple of games, much like your saves/goals against, you’ll most likely notice a trend forming.
    • What makes them tick. Notice them get off of their game? Is a particular defender giving them a hard time? Find each player’s kryptonite if you can so you can be prepared to throw them off.

We hope these 5 tips give you some insight in what to watch for! It’s important to note all of this is hard to accomplish in one sitting, so feel free to break it up. Look at one specific aspect at a time so you don’t overwhelm yourself or try to make too many adjustments at once. At the end of the day, goalies (and players a like) are best when they let their body just be and react. Take some notes, try to keep mental tabs on one to two things, but always remember to just play. The less you think, the better you play!

Want your question answered? Submit one here to the Question Bin!

Happy Laxing!


About the Author


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.

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