Goalie Drills - Hands

Drill Objectives - The focus of drills is to improve on technique/concentration so that when the chips are down and the shots are flying around the keeper can depend on that move.  Hand grip and positioning is vital to gaining the needed speed to make quick saves to all corners. Work on hand work.

Hand Grip Concept - Critical to great accuracy and speed is the hand grip coupled with the position of the top hand between the goalie eye and the ball (hands are faster when just to the side of the line of vision between the ball and the eye).  The grip needs to have the wrist to the back of the shaft (both wrists) for best rotation of the stick (keeping the stick face facing the shooter from beginning to end of the save).  The stick is gripped with the top two fingers and thumb (unlike most field players who grip with the bottom fingers).  During the off-side and low saves, the bottom fingers come off the shaft enhancing the rotation (instead of impeding it should the bottom fingers grip the shaft). If you analyze how the field players catch, they do it using the bottom hand for control and the top hand loose.  When the goalie's bottom hand grips the stick tight the tendency is to pull the stick in to the body thus keeping from getting to the tough corners of the goal. To be an effective goalie, especially to reach the corners of the goal, the keeper must drive that top hand to the ball with the top hand holding the stick tight using the top two fingers and thumb to keep the face of the stick facing the ball (covering the best area). 

Hand Work - In working even with high performance keepers (e.g. John Horrigan at Towson and Brian Carcaterra at JHU), for some shots they struggle (not watching the ball through the whole shot, not driving top hand to the ball, being late on make able saves).  To emphasis both hand work and concentration, use the Ball Toss drill until the goalie is stepping well and catching the ball with the thumb and top two fingers of the top hand.  Then switch to an attack stick and work on that top hand grip, ball watching and driving the hands to the ball.  This forces ball concentration and precise eye, hand and ball coordination and re-enforces how much the hand position and grip aids in making accurate saves.  (Note: those keepers that let the bottom hand be the lead/dominant hand have far less accuracy than those whose top hand grip is tight and who lead to the ball with the top hand).  Using and attack stick even works on bounce shots.  All the hand grip and hand drive techniques (pushing the hand out from the side of the eye to the on coming ball) apply and the keeper gains great confidence (unless he/she is blinking on the bounce - they must learn to watch it through the bounce).

Copyright Weston Lacrosse 2009