With a six-by-six foot cage, the game of lacrosse asks its goaltenders to cover a lot of territory. As middies and attackmen fire shots from all angles, a goalie’s reaction time is the real difference-maker. Since the fastest game on two feet is never in slow motion, any keeper can benefit from practicing these five simple lacrosse goalie drills.
Increase your Save Percentage with these 5 Lacrosse Goalie Drills
1) Agility Ladder
An agility ladder is the perfect tool for increasing a goaltender’s foot speed. These workout tools are constructed in the shape of a common household ladder. But instead of standing straight up, they are laid on the ground.
Lacrosse goalie drills that use an agility ladder are a great way to improve conditioning, foot speed, or even hand speed.
There are countless ways to approach this exercise, including:
- Single-leg forward hops
- Lateral jumps
- Horizontal jumps/diagonal sprints
- Forward and backward crabwalks
Or, you could add a medicine ball to these lacrosse goalie drills to increase the amount of resistance.
2) Jump Rope
Any serious athlete will tell you there’s a whole lot more to jump rope than Double Dutch. Boxers have long used it as a conditioning tool that also increases foot speed. While these two sports are very different, lacrosse goalies also benefit from improvement in those two areas.
Jumping rope is an activity athletes can perform on a daily basis or as pre-game warmup.
Even with a wider lacrosse stick, it’s a goalie’s hand-eye coordination that makes many of their saves possible. Sure hands, however, do not come naturally for everyone.
Every goalie should learn to juggle, because it improves hand-eye coordination and motor skills at the same time.
And, since juggling can be very difficult, it can also help youth lacrosse goalies get back on their feet after the next blown save.
4) Heavy Stick
Baseball fans might be familiar with the concept of the on-deck batter swinging two bats instead of one. This strategy is a way to improve swing speed in the batters’ box.
Lacrosse goalies who work out with a heavy stick experience the same thing: faster hands on the field.
To try this exercise, fill the shaft of your stick with sand. Since the heavier crosse is tougher to maneuver, a regular stick will feel like a feather by comparison.
5) Catch Cards
All-star goalies like Drew Adams also have impeccable hand-eye coordination. They have developed the ability to anticipate where the ball is going and place their hands in the proper position to make a save.
In this lacrosse goalie drill, a coach stands on an elevated surface with a deck of playing cards in their hand. The coach flicks the cards one at a time to the player who catches the fluttering card with one hand.
To best improve players’ reflexes, cards should be thrown in rapid succession.