7 Drills to Improve Lacrosse Goalie Reaction Time

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A goalie is the backbone of any lacrosse team. A talented player on any team is obviously a great perk, but having a smart and well-conditioned goalie that makes big saves is what carries a team towards success. The following drills can be used to improve a lacrosse goalie’s reaction time and make a difference on the field.

Rabbit and Dog Agility Drill For Lacrosse Goalies

This drill will test the speed in which a goalie reacts to a game situation. The Rabbit and Dog Agility drill requires 2 cones placed 6 feet apart and two players standing face to face in the middle. The player as the “rabbit” will move back and forth in rapid lateral movements while the “dog” must imitate those exact motions as quick as possible without falling behind. “Monkey see, Monkey do” could be another suitable name for the drill.

Lacrosse Goalies Shuttle Drill

You’ll need 3 cones with 3 feet of space in-between to setup the Goalie Shuttle Drill. The goalie will begin at the center cone and shuffle to the left and right cones while only bending at the waist to touch the cone before continuing. You will end up back at the center cone in stance prepared to make saves, where then a player or coach will throw a shot. This drill incorporates the simulation of in-game lateral movement, footwork and the suitable position for a shot on goal all in one.

Lacrosse Goalie Footie Drill

The Foot Drill specifically focuses on the goalie’s speed to proper foot positioning. The goalie will stand with their hands behind their back as their partner shoots a low bouncing shot at the feet. The goalie must then drive their foot to the ball to block the shot and finish in a balanced stance. This drill conditions a player to subconsciously shift to the correct footing when an opponent’s shot is on its way towards the goal.

Colored Ball Drill

For this drill you’ll need at least 4 disc cones and 4 different colored tennis balls. Set the cones up in an arc formation around the goal and place a different color tennis ball on top of each cone. The goalie will get balls thrown on goal in any direction from a coach and must make the save with their top hand and lead foot out. The goalie will then toss the colored ball towards its respective cone. The goalie must react and process the information as fast as possible because there will be little time to rest. This drill will also test a goalie’s attitude when a mistake happens.

Off-Stick Hands Drill

The Off-Stick Hands Drill will work on a goalie’s hand movement and stick rotation during tough off-stick saves from the hip and below. The player will be kneeling in the goal while a coach throws shots towards the off-stick side. The goalie will be forced to compensate for the save with just their arms without the use of their lower body. This prepares the goalie to make use of smart stick and arm positioning for difficult, in game, situations.

Tennis Racket Reaction Drill

The goalie will stand in the goal without a stick while their coach stands with a tennis racket a few yards away. No, the coach isn’t confused about what sport they’re playing; the Tennis Racket Reaction Drill actually tests a goalie’s reaction time and teaches them to drive their top hand to the ball during a save. A player will throw a tennis ball to their coach who will hit the ball directly at the goal in random directions. The ball off racket speed can be quite fast, just like the release speed from a lacrosse stick. The goalie will have to react in time to not only make the save, but will also have to use the correct technique to defend shots from close in.

Catching Cards Drill

The Catching Cards Drill focuses on a goalie’s hand-eye coordination and mental concentration. A coach will stand on an elevated platform and toss cards at the goalie. The angle at which the goalie sees the incoming card is similar to that of an overhand shot from an opposing stick. The player must catch as many cards as possible with their lead hand and foot forward. This drill will assist the goalie in coordinating all of the necessary movements to zero in on an incoming target.

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