Presented by Bill Pilat, Camp Director
Bill Pilat’s The Goalie School in Massachusetts For Boys
The Goalie School Tip: Stay Still To Make More Saves
Many times players hear coaches and fans say “that goalie is seeing the ball really well”. What does this mean? Don’t all goalies see the ball when it is shot? Not necessarily. One of the most fundamental aspects of being a top flight lacrosse goalie is seeing the ball once it is shot. This requires intense concentration, practice and the ability to stay still when the shot is being released. The third aspect of this formula, staying still, is often overlooked but it is a critical component of successful goalies.
What does staying still mean for a lacrosse goalie? It means being perfectly motionless prior to a shot being released and then springing to the ball once the goalie sees where it is going. If a goalie moves too early, he may be moving the wrong way or moving too far and actually getting out of the way of the ball! If he waits and then reacts to the flight of the ball he has a much better chance of seeing the ball the entire way into his stick and making the save.
Seeing the ball into your stick requires goalies to possess keen visual acuity or tracking ability. Dynamic visual acuity refers to the skill of tracking an object while the object (the ball) and the person tracking the object (the goalie) are moving. Add into this equation a shooter sweeping with the ball, cutters in front of the goal screening the goalie and it is easy to see why staying still is so important for the goalie. There is already enough movement in front of the goalie to distract him from “seeing” the ball! Goalies must stay still and not add more motion to the constantly moving game in front of him.
How does a goalie work on staying still? This is one of the most difficult skills for any goalie to acquire and one we work on daily with my goalies at Roanoke College. A drill that I particularly like is to have another coach (or goalie) feed the shooter while warming up the goalie. The shooter stands about 10-12 yards away from the crease. As the feed is made from the side of the goal to the shooter out front, the goalie calls “check” turns and gets into position to make the save. The coach watches the goalie movements and makes sure the goalie is set and absolutely still just prior to the shot being released. The shooter is looking to place the ball to certain parts of the goal, not for power. This way, the coach can make sure that the goalie is still just before the shot and not “guessing” before the shot is released. Goalies must be still and then explode to the ball when it is released.
At first this drill will seem difficult and goalies will feel themselves moving when the shooter catches the ball. Stay Still!! Even if you let in the first 10 shots, keep working at it and soon you will be still and make more saves and even feel like you have more time to “see the ball” right into your pocket!
Have a great season!
Bill Pilat's The Goalie School
Coach Pilat has put together the most innovative curriculum for goalies wishing to improve their skills. Individual analysis, extensive videotaping of each goalie and new methods of teaching techniques and footwork are all elements of the Goalie School.