Championship Productions Blog

Archives by Tag 'Goaltending'

Stop Low Shots Using This Wall Ball Drill!

By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lehigh University assistant coach Errol Wilson provides a drill that goalies can use both indoors and outdoors to work on defending against low shots. Wilson’s innovative drills give coaches a way to train their goalies despite weather or field availability. Lehigh goalies used techniques like this to help the Mountain Hawks hold their opponents to an average of three fewer goals scored per game in 2014.

Heels Up

Drill Summary: For this drill, you will need to mark off a “goal” on the wall (if you’re using one) to defend prior to beginning. To start, the goalie raises their heels off the ground so they are standing on the balls of their feet. If you are using a wall, have the goalie put their heels against the wall. The coach fires low shots toward the goal, and the goalie must use a “squat to lunge” technique to make the save. After making the save, the goalie passes back to the coach and the drill continues. Gradually increase shot speed as the goalie warms up.

Keys to the Drill:

1) Rebounds aren’t as important, just focus on using the right technique.
2) Stickhead touches the ground if the ball hits the ground.
3) Avoid burying your head into your chest.
4) Watch the ball into your stick.

This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Innovative Wall Ball Drills for Goalies.” View other world class Lacrosse videos!

Developing a Dominant Goalie: Proper Save Techniques

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In this month’s player development feature, pick up a variety of essential save techniques that will go a long way towards boosting the back end of your defense. With Syracuse coach Kevin Donahue as your guide, learn about goaltender tips and tricks that you can start implementing immediately with your own netminders.

Tips & Tricks: Goalie Save Techniques

Soft Top Hands – For effective goaltending, the overall emphasis should be placed on the top hand and having soft top hands. Don’t grab the stick with a death grip. This could come back to haunt goalies on rebounds. Therefore, your hands must be out and away from the body.

Hands Together – Another key is to use the bottom hand together WITH the top hand (versus having a dominant bottom hand). For example, if you go for saves using a dominant bottom hand, you may have a slower save reaction time or place too much emphasis in one area. Your hands also must be comfortable and relaxed.

Follow with the Feet – As for your feet, the key here is to make sure they are following the hands. Coach Donahue always tells his players that the hands move first but the feet follow. It’s essential that you follow with the feet.

Lateral Movement – In the past, coaches used to teach attacking the ball. However, this tactic stopped about 10 years ago. Quite simply, shooters are more accurate and faster, and we realized that most goalies weren’t getting to the corner pipe as much. This is why most feet movements now are lateral (or sideways).

Trail Leg Tips – In the video below, you will notice how the goalie brings his trail leg in right away. Young goalies might leave their trail leg behind. However, this opens up the five-hole and can make them off balance, especially on low shots. By bringing that trail leg, you create a “leg, stick, leg” wall.

Tips for Making Saves Down Low

When it comes to making saves down low, one of the biggest things that goaltenders do wrong is trying to catch the ball. This is not a habit you want your goalies to get accustomed to as a lot of bad things can happen.

For instance, the bottom hand often moves back behind the player and forces the shoulders to turn. Since the goalie is now sideways, it’s really easy for the ball to go in the goal in this position. Plus, if you try to “catch” the ball high, the stick gets particularly small. The biggest surface area is when the hands are out front and the shoulders are back.

On low saves, make sure the feet follow and be in the biggest possible position. It’s also important to get a proper angle with the stick on low shots so that the ball hits the stick and comes right back down. A bad angle could lead to shots rolling up on you and ultimately into the cage.

The previous video clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Building a Championship Goalie” with Kevin Donahue. To check out more videos highlighting the lacrosse goaltender, click here

3 Key Goalie Drills That Focus on Game Situations

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Whether it’s a fast break, traffic on the crease, or making crisp outlets against aggressive rides, a goaltender needs to be ready for every type of game situation. In this week’s player development feature, Haverford coach Travis Loving  breaks down three key drills that practice tough scenarios goaltenders often face in a game. In addition to reinforcing proper technique and fundamentals, these game-saving drills will have your players able to cover every angle.

Defending the Fast Break

We’ll begin by mocking a fast break in a game. The ball will come down to the middie, then move to the point guy, and then he would throw to the player nearest to the GLE. From here, this player will often throw a cross-crease pass to the backside player for a shot. This is the evolution of a typical fast break and a goaltender needs to be prepared to defend that GLE pass and shot.

First, it’s essential that the goalie “steps down the line.” So with his left foot, the goalie will step on the goalline and get across as quickly as possible. Remember, try not to go the long way (like an arc). Try to stay on the line. Also, when the goalie comes across, have them keep their stick in the ready position at all times. Often, goalies will dip down with the stick and come back up.

Meanwhile, when the ball is in tight, have the goalie move up and down with their body, so they don’t get out of position. To help with this movement, place your feet like a “V” and get them a little wider rather than right next to each other.

This fast break drill basically involves two offensive players and the goalie and mimics the cross-crease pass on the fast break near the GLE. Have your offensive players try shots high, low, bouncing, etc. Mix it up. Then switch sides with the passing/shooting.



The following drill practices those frequent situations when there’s a crowd in front of the goalie or a screen low and the goalie must look around these distractions as best as he/she can. Start by getting a player to set up right in front of the crease. Next, have another player or coach shoot from about 10-15 yards out.

In screen situations, it’s preferred that the goalie looks toward his off-stick-side as opposed to his stick-side. Remember, you’re more likely to get scored on this side. But keep in mind, depending on how the screens are set up, sometimes you may not have a choice. The best remedy is to practice for these situations and be ready for anything that comes your way.


Outlet Pass

Finally, it’s time to practice making crisp outlet passes with attackers in your face. Start out having a coach shoot on net. After each save, have the goalie immediately clear the ball to a teammate down the field with an opponent right in his face. Be sure to get your goalies to follow through on each outlet pass. This will also pave the way for potential interference calls on opposing attackmen and a free clear for your side.


The previous clips can all be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “High School Coaching Academy: Training the Lacrosse Goalie.” To check out more goalie-oriented videos, visit our lacrosse library today. 

Essential Goaltending Tips and Effective Stepping Drills

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A major part of a goaltender’s success stems from the first step. Developing that initial step will enable you to get to balls quicker, develop better range, and ultimately contribute towards improved performances.

This week, North Carolina women’s lacrosse coach Phil Barnes reveals his top overall goaltending keys before leading you through effective stepping drills for warm-ups and practice. These easy-to-implement drills will train the stick and the feet to get to the seven defensive areas of the cage and go a long way towards developing overall goaltending skills.

Goalkeeping Keys

1) Technique — Your number one priority as a goalie is to stop the ball. If a goalie has has good technique, they will be able to do that. Remember, there’s only so many movements to make, so the variables are not the same as a defender or attacker. In the end, technique is what will put a goalie over the top.

2) Hand-eye Coordination and Intelligence — If a goalie has above average hand-eye coordination, they can probably do everything you want them to do from a technique standpoint.

3) Mental Toughness — Goalies will see a lot of shots and the ball will go in. There is responsibility around this. If a goalie isn’t mentally tough, you may want to find a different one. You may end up working more on the mental side than the physical side of things.


We’re looking to improve that first step to the ball so you can get there quicker. The following stepping warm-up drills train the stick and feet to get to the seven defensive save areas. It also focuses on a quick and clean stick turnover.

There are tons of different theories on how you should lead warm-up drills for stepping. For Coach Barnes, it starts with the first step/lead step/attack step. The second step is something that occurs naturally. Therefore, our first concern is how quick is that first step to the ball. If the first step is slow, you will never get to the ball regardless of how quick you get your second step there.

7 Save Areas: High right, high left, middle right, middle left, low right, low left, and between the legs.


Stick Side Low — Players should assume ready positioning and then repeatedly make stick-side low movements using their first step. No saves or balls are used in these drills. Every fourth rep, have the players step with two steps (so they keep that habit of bringing the second foot).

Key: Look for quick and clean turnover here. Also, remember the stick and first step hit the ground at the same time.

Non-Stick Side Low — Put an emphasis on the stick and first step getting there at the same exact time. Notice players hold the save positioning for a few seconds so they can get that muscle memory in there (about three seconds). Mix up the reps every time you run this drill (anywhere between 6 and 20 reps).

Going High — Keep in mind that the first step is always the same for any save. Nothing changes.


Stick Side High — Concentrate on raising the stick up high. If you tilt the stick back, the ball may go over your stick.

Non-Stick Side High — Here, we’ll implement the “Windshield Wiper” technique. Using the wrists, arms, and shoulders, drive them all together. Keep the stick straight so you don’t lose your angle to the ball. On every fourth rep, continue to step with two feet.

Stick Side Mid — We’re using the exact same motion here as we do going for low saves. We’re looking for a complete stick turnover in order to translate to a low save technique.

Non Stick Side Mid – Don’t forget to keep that same distance between your chest and the stick.

Typically, this warm-up drill will go for five minutes. Look to go for about 8-15 reps, maybe 21 per practice. Remember, technique is what separates good keepers from average ones and you can fall back on it time and time again.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Progressive Skill Development Warm-Up for Goalies” featuring Phil Barnes. To check out more videos highlighting goalie skills and drills, click here.

New Hockey DVD Featuring Joe Bertagna!

By nate.landas - Last updated: Friday, November 18, 2011

We have recently released a new Hockey DVD featuring Joe Bertagna.  He is the goaltending coach for the U.S. Olympic Team.  The name of this Hockey DVD is:

Goaltending Today: Traditional Values Through New Techniques 

  • Learn the latest cutting edge trends for today’s goaltending
  • Learn the toughest shots for goaltenders and how to defend them
  • Learn when to make blocking saves versus reacting saves
  • Learn tips for stopping shooters on breakaways

Check out other Joe Bertagna, Hockey DVDs below:

Bertagna Goaltending Series: Fundamentals of Goaltending
Bertagna Goaltending Series: On-Ice Drills for Goaltenders
Bertagna Goaltending Series: The Advanced Goaltender


Drake University Continuing Education Gold Medal Guarantee Sign Up for our Newsletter Request a Catalog Testimonials Career Opportunities
SecurityWorry-Free Shopping
Championship Productions, Inc. Follow danbergan on Twitter