Great Warm-up - Bad Game

We received a great question where a keeper asked, "I do real well during the warm-up but don't do well during the game, suggestions?"  This deserves some answers. Here are a few:

  • Too used to your warm-up - The keeper becomes too used to the person or persons that warm them up.  Unless they work to provide a diversity of shots and moves, the keeper will become proficient at stopping that person.  The cure is to change shooters. Rotate who is doing warm-ups.  One of the persons used a lot needs to be the coach that works with the keeper each day, but others can and should be used. Also, the shooters need to switch hands and shots to make the keeper watch different motions and shot locations.

  • Warm-up too static - Keepers can make saves that are from the same location with the shooter standing while the same shot from a different location with the shooter moving can't be made.  This is because there are a lot of distractions when a shooter is moving.  It is easy for the keeper to watch the shooter, his stick, his eyes or other things when watching the ball is paramount.  By varying the warm-up with a lot of sweeps and dodges (especially split dodges), the keeper is better prepared to face game conditions.

  • Warm-up without passes - A common mistake is having the shooter shoot and the goalie save and then pass back to the shooter.  After the initial warm-up, add a behind player.  This player feeds the shooter thus making the keeper do his setup facing the rear and turn as the ball is passed to the shooter, setting up again and making the save.  After a few of these outside, move the shooter in -- first close to the post and then directly in front of the goal, sometimes cutting and sometimes standing. One other warm-up is to put two shooters out front and have them pass to each other before shooting.  This makes the keeper change position and forces him to work on footwork and concentration.

  • Warm-up without screens - During some warm-ups we use a screen, either a crease attackman or a defender (on the shooter) so that the keeper can work on managing the ball through a screen.  This is usually done late in the warm-up.

  • Watching the shooter instead of the ball - Some keepers do not watch the ball, but try to watch other things.  This watching other things is not as effective as watching the ball (only). Combined with knowing the shooter, etc., this bad habit can be evidenced in good warm-ups with bad games where you know less of what's coming - watching the ball is more important.

This information was provided to a high school keeper via e-mail and he shared these points with his coach.  They changed his warm-up a lot for the next game.  He saw 45 shots that game, only allowed 6 goals and won the game 9-6.  His team awarded him a game ball.

Weston Lacrosse 10-29-08