The Importance of Confidence and Support

     In working with keepers there are in-game actions that surprise coaches as we look at game tapes.  Goalies that are moving well and making saves in warm-ups stop stepping, are on their heels, hands are down/in toward the body.  Worse, they seem very late to shots. This is very frustrating to the coach who can see great play occasionally but more than occasionally sees less than great goalie performance.

     Most of this game/scrimmage lockup by the keeper involves fear.  Our instincts are to duck or run from stuff that is thrown hard at us.  During warm-ups the fear of being scored upon is less, since most coaches encouraging correct stance and movement to the ball and re-enforcing good fundamentals, as they should.  Plus, the whole team isn't dependant on the outcome of warm-up shots - they are in the game.  Therein lies the difference between workouts and games - tension and uncertainty.  Many times warm-ups and workouts are not very game like.

     To counter this low productivity, I use a set of game like drills that put a lot of distractions into the workout (passes, drives, fakes), less predictable shots (quicksticks, lefty shots) and shots that are harder to save than most game shots (closer and faster) that force concentration on the ball, full readiness and movement to the shot (they need to focus on "watch, ready, go"). 
     Tension is a form of worry or fear so I rely on the phase "Action overcome Fear" by working on tougher and tougher shot combinations in workouts.  As the keeper progresses through these combinations, he/she struggles to get saves at that level, but with encouragement and some technique coaching he/she makes a couple of saves and then more and then the tension subsides.; Eventually that save, smoothly accomplished shows up in games.  I use a progression including;

  • Stick side high from 10 yards
  • Off side high from 10 yards
  • Stick side high from 6 yards
    • Right to right, left to right
  • Off side high from 6 yards
    • Right to left, left to left
  • Cross-crease feed to shot 6 yards
    • Goalies left to right - hi-hi
    • Goalies right to left
    • Add quarter turn fake
    • Add hi-lo
  • Low to low bouncers at the feet 10 yd
    • Between the feet
    • Outside stick side foot
    • Outside off-stick side foot
  • Hi to low bouncers at the feet
    • Between then outside the feet
  • Behind to crease feed - 6 yd

    • Left behind to crease left

    • Right behind to crease right

    • Add quarter turn fake

    • High post with step down

  • Middie to weak side attack

    • Static, then sneaking w/wo fake

    • Goalies left to right attack

    • Goalies right to left attack

  • Drives from up top (outlet from goalie)
    • Alley drive right h-h, h-l
    • Alley drive left h-h, h-l
    • Split dodge-alley to middle h-h,h-l
    • Alley drive, roll dodge h-h,h-l
    • Drive with face dodge h-h, h-l
  • Drives from behind (left and right)
    • To the island h-h, h-l
    • Question mark dodge h-h,h-l
Use these left to right.  Always warm up with high shots 10 yards then 6 yards and then choose what to do more of that day.  The goalies confidence will rise as he/she makes one, then two, then three and then most of these difficult saves and he/she wont be surprised by what the shooters are doing.  Remember also, having your shooters pound on the goalie during workouts is not productive, they get to shoot their best during your scrimmage.  If you can't shoot these shots, learn them, or instruct your shooter as to what to do on almost every shot.


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Copyright Weston Lacrosse 2-2011