The LA Lacrosse Leagues mission is to help teach life lessons to school aged children throughout Southern California via lacrosse and to promote and advance amateur youth lacrosse in a safe and sportsmanlike manner and to create a culture where leaders, c
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Lacrosse Goalie


Essential to every team is a good goalie.  A goalie needs to be a leader with very good  knowledge of the game, its rules and understanding of the needs of the team.  The following covers the FUNdamental technique of playing lacrosse goalie.


Goalie 101

Goalie, Goal tender; Goal Keeper, Keep, Stopper:
The goalie¹s responsibility is to protect the goal and stop the opposing team from scoring. It is that simple. A good goalie also leads the defense by reading the situation and directing the defensemen to react. A good goalie should have excellent hand/eye coordination and a strong voice. Quickness, agility, confidence and the ability to concentrate are also essential; not to mention being the best looking, smartest and most athletic player on the team.  Each team has one goalie in the goal during play. 



  • Simple Concept: intercept the ball in its path with your stick or body before it goes in the goal.
  • Musts: Cup, Helmet, Goalie Stick, Chest protector, throat guard, and gloves.  Anything else is up to you. 


  • Fingers, hands, arms, feet head
    • Fingers should hold the stick, but not choke it.  Handle should be in fingers not palms.
    • Hands should be about 12” apart in a comfortable relaxed position.
    • Arms should be away from your body, but you should not have flying wings, far enough so you can easily maneuver the stick in a clock and counter clock- wise fashion (like a baseball player). Far enough away from your head so you don’t hit your mask when you move it from stick side high to off stick side high.
    • Feet should be shoulder distance apart and weight should be forward.  Not necessarily on your toes but definitely not back on your heals.
    • Body position should be similar to a linebacker, a tennis player: an athlete.
  • Stick
    • Goalie Stick should be positioned just off your shoulder covering the “Box Area”.  If you are right handed, you hold the top of the stick (toward the stick head) with your right hand and the bottom hand (left hand for righties) should be about 12” away.  Arms bend at elbows and away from your body.  Head of stick should be slightly forward and you should be ready to step toward the ball in an easy fluid motion. 
  • Goalie Position in the Goal
    • When the ball is in front of the opening of the Goal, you should be in the goalie position on the imaginary “half moon” between the pipes and move as the ball moves.  As the ball moves from pipes, side, front (top) right and left, you should be moving on the half moon to be in position to attack any shot that comes near the goal.
    • When the ball is behind at X (directly behind the goal) or off pipes right and left, you should be positioned at the center of the moon, waiting in goalie position except with your bottom hand at the end of the handle so that you are in position to “steal the ball”.  Only make the attempt if you can be successful.  Do not be over anxious so as to be out of position for the next opportunity to make a save.

When the ball is thrown from back to front, you move with the side the ball went to first.  If I am standing at the x of the moon, and the ball is thrown from back right to side left, I turn (clockwise) with my right side moving first to get my stick to the ball side as fast as I can the rest of my body follows my head.  If the ball is thrown from back right to side right I move (counter clockwise) my right side to the ball first followed by stepping with my right foot to the right side of the goal. 


Making a Stop

  • Step to the ball – Legs come together
    1. Attack the ball.  Get your whole body in the path of the ball.  Your stick gets there first while starting to step to the path of the ball. 
    2. You should step to the ball beginning with the foot and leg from the side the ball came from.  If the ball (bounce, high, or low) came toward you from the right of your body, you should step with your right foot and leg followed by your left foot and leg coming together with your right foot and leg.  If the ball came from toward you from the left side of your body, you should step to the path with your left foot and leg followed by your right foot and leg coming together with your left foot and leg.
    3. If the ball is a bounce shot position your chin at the point of the bounce whiling stepping to get in the path of the ball.  Your stick gets to the ball first with your whole body following.
    4. This is true for any shot.  Every time.  Practice, Practice, Practice!  Attack, attack, attack
  •  Save (catch/cradle) the ballCradle it into your stick like other players do.  Don’t stab or pop it.  Catch it.  Make sure your pocket is broken in.
  • Make sure your stick is in good repair.  Fixing any loose or broken strings prior to game. 
  • Throw the ball
    • You must be able to cradle and throw just like any of your teammates.  They must be able to rely on you to control the ball, catch the ball, cradle the ball, and throw the ball with consistency and accuracy. Half field accurate and consistent throws at a minimum.
    • To throw the ball you position your hands in a throwing position.  Bottom hand at the end of the handle and top hand about 12 to 18 inches away as to allow the “levered” throwing of the ball.  Always step toward your target and lead the runner just like a quarter back would lead a wide receiver.  Don’t throw buddy passes.
    • After you pass the ball, look to get back in the cage. 
  • Crease
    • The crease is yours; it is your domain; it is your protection.  Your sole responsibility is to keep the ball from going into the goal.  You can use the crease to help you do that.
    • Remember to always clamp on the ball with your stick when it is near the crease.  Rake it back to you but be careful not to allow it to pop out.  Get your defensemen to know what “clear the crease” means.
    • After you have possession of the ball, you have a four count to get the ball out of your crease (pass it or walk/run it out).
    • Look out for the attack man standing in front of your crease while you are attempting to make a clear.
    • If there is no fast break or out let pass, take the ball behind.
    • You cannot go back into the crease after you have left it with the ball.  You can enter the crease at any time without the ball.  Remember the ball in the back of the net trick.


  • Talk to your coach about the proper calls he wants you to make.  You need to use an authoritative voice without yelling.  Know everyone’s name, nick name.  Talk to provide information not just to talk.
  • Some of the calls covered:
    • Front (top) left, center right
    • Side left, Red Zone, Side right
    • Pipe (post) side left, Pipe (post) side right
    • Back left, X (back Center) and Back right
    • Fire
    • Check sticks
    • Square right or left
    • Stick on Stick
    • Clear the crease
    • Clear
    • Redirect
    • Who has man, Numbers?
    • The hole and who has got the hole?
    • Fast Break
    • Who’s backing up
    • Ball, ball down
    • Watch the pick, who has his back.
    • Stick save and a beauty!


  • Stay Positive – Fill the emotional tank
  • Remember your body language
  • Yes, goalies are the best looking, most athletic and smartest people on the team.
  • Have Fun!

Your warm-up should be a warm-up, not target practice for the best shooters on your team. Find someone you trust to give you a proper warm-up. Tell the shooter what you want. I recommend:


  • Classic Warm Up
    • 8-10 shots stickside high
      8-10 shots off-stick high
      8-10 shots stickside hip
      8-10 shots offstick hip
      8-10 stickside bounce
      8-10 off-stickside bounce
      10-15 shots "mix it up"
  • No stick drill
  • Glove drill
  • Inverted/bottom of handle stick drill
  • Skip rope
  • Jump over stick
  • Turn on call
  • Alternating Shot Arc drill
  • Target passing
  • Bucket Passing
  • Keep away Clearing – teach how to develop a 2-on-1

Goalie Tips Billy Daye
Former North Carolina All-ACC Goaltender and USCLA Player of the Year
(from a recent interview by Great Atlantic Lacrosse)
Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your hands should be way from your body to prevent being handcuffed on offside shots. Your hands should be 12-18" apart. Most importantly, you need to find a comfort zone where you are ready to attack the ball and make the save. Practice your outlets just as much as you practice making saves. There is nothing worse than making a great save and then giving the ball back to the other team because of a bad pass.
Talk to your defense and let them know where the ball is on the field. As the quarterback of the defense, you must recognize situations such as fast breaks and direct your defensemen to the correct positions. The tone of your voice says a lot; if you are not a vocal person, you better start being one. Stay positive even after a goal is scored. A goalie who has control of his defense will have the respect of the team.
If you give up a goal do not get down on yourself or your defense. You can't take the goal off the scoreboard but you can recognize what you did wrong, practice that step or specific movement, AND GET THE NEXT ONE. Have confidence in your abilities to stop the ball. If you lose your confidence, your defense will soon follow. Always believe you can save every shot.
Watch and listen to the great goaltenders and notice their different styles. Take what works best for them and adapt it to your specific style of play. Good luck this season!