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Learn from one of the lacrosse’s most renowned goaltenders as two-time NCAA Champion and former All-American Trevor Tierney dishes out tips, techniques, and drills surrounding proper goalie positioning. After discussing essential goaltending strategies, Tierney shows off an effective warm-up focusing on proper positioning that you can easily implement into your own practice plan.
During his college playing days, Tierney was known for being “back” in the goal along the goal line. This gave him the time needed to react to the ball. Today, many coaches believe you should be way out on an arc and playing the angle. But according to Tierney, that applies better for hockey goalies (who have lots of padding and play with smaller goals).
It’s easy for hockey goalies to come out and take that angle. Plus, they know where the puck is on the surface. But lacrosse shooters can change where their stick is positioned at any time. The release point can come from anywhere, so angles become less of a factor for lacrosse goalies.
Setting yourself back in the goal gives you the time and room to see the ball and make a quick reaction. And when it comes to reaction time, the difference between a yard or two is huge. Tierney likes to put his heels nearly on the goal line. This is called the “Flat Arc.”
Positioning becomes key for squaring up to the shooter. Many coaches teach you to play on an arc, moving your feet side to side in a small arc in front of the goal. While that’s perfectly fine, Tierney teaches goalies to be square to the shooter. Pretend you have two lines coming out of your shoulders and they are making a target to the shooter. That shooter should always be between those two lines and the goalie.
You’ll often notice that when a shooter moves from side-to-side up top, goalies will move all the way across the goal and their feet will be all the way on the pipe. Tierney prefers to teach goalies to stay in the middle of the goal.
Shooters like to shoot across their body and across your body, so if a dodger is sweeping top left to top right, bring your left foot up and stay in the middle of the goal. Few shooters can find the back of the net from that area. Meanwhile, you’ll be there to make the save easily. Plus, you don’t even have to step very far. It should also force shooters to miss the cage a lot because they think they see some open space to the side.
As a player comes further and further down the left side, look to slowly make your way over to the pipe with short steps, and bring the outside of the left foot to the inside of the pipe. This will take away that pipe area shot or any easy goals to the inside.
The same rules apply for the opposite side as well, with the right foot staying to the outside of the pipe. You should be able to get around the entire goal in very few steps — always remaining in a good position.
Meanwhile, with inside shots, the further back in the goal you are, the easier it can be for you. If you step out too far, good players will fake and shoot it around you. But if you stay home, you can make it harder on them. The closer players come to the crease area, the further back in the net you want to be.
When the ball is behind the net and to the side, keep your body forward and look behind. If the ball is directly behind you, that’s when you can turn around and face the feeder. But if it’s to the side, look behind and over your shoulder. If the feeder makes a good pass out in front, you’ll still be in good position to react and make the save.
Finally, let’s walk through different goalie positions based on where a shooter may be on the field. In this drill, the camera provides the vantage point of the shooter. You’ll also get to see how a goalie should move and adjust based on the shooter’s movements and shifts. The action starts with the top middle, gets lower and lower, and then arcs back around to the other side.
The previous clips can be seen on the DVD “Evolution in Goaltending: A New Perspective on Goalie Fundamentals” offered by Championship Productions. You can also check out more goaltending videos by visiting our lacrosse library.
Learn from one of the game’s greatest goaltenders as two-time NCAA Champion and former All-American Trevor Tierney dishes out tips and misconceptions concerning lateral stepping. First, Tierney discusses proper technique and footwork before demonstrating the concepts in action through live on-field simulations. Finally, watch a terrific goalie warm-up that you can easily implement into your practice plan.
Although sometimes controversial between coaches and goalies, lateral stepping is something that Tierney really believes in. Many coaches will say, “step to the ball.” But Tierney thinks it’s one of the worst habits to teach today. While Tierney believes in stepping, he doesn’t believe you should step at something that is moving 80-90 mph at you and hope to see it and save it. It makes things so much harder.
Instead, Tierney teaches players to step laterally. Try pressing off your back foot almost like you are skating. So if you’re going to step to the left, you will push off the right foot and get everything across. If stepping to the right, you’re going to push off the left. Often coaches will teach you to step and then drag your body across. But what happens is that you step and then the back foot stays put. When you push off your back foot, you can use more muscle strength and be able to skate across. It also keeps you square to the shooter. If you move laterally, you are always behind the ball.
The premise of stepping to the ball is that you take away the angle of the shooter. But often a goalie will step out to the ball and he will miss the trajectory of the ball and it ends up going by him. By going side to side, you can still see the ball well and you are able to keep your body behind it at all times. Also, you are taking up a lot of room in the goal.
Also, if a shooter shoots it right at you, you don’t have to step. Make it easier for yourself. It he shoots it behind your legs, don’t step if it is right at you. Drop down and get low and get it. There is no reason for you to step at something if its coming right at me.
Stillness is really a key ingredient to being a great goalie. If you are still, your eyes and brain are going to be able to react to the ball. If you are moving, it’s going to make it a lot harder for you to stop the ball. Work on staying home and work on staying laterally and it will help you become a better goalie.
1) Have a shooter walk around the arc from up top about 10-15 yards out and start with ONLY high shots. Go stick side and then non-stick side.
2) Now move the shots to the hips. Go stick side hip and off stick side hip. You should be always moving laterally.
3) Now move to feet shots. You won’t have to move as much with these shots and you can just get down low and catch it. ALWAYS keep your feet moving during your warm-ups.
4) Bouncers are next. Start with nice and easy bouncers and train yourself to move laterally and find the ball where it bounces. Sometimes you need to get your body behind it. If it’s a high bouncer, stay home and keep the stick up. One common error that youngsters make on bouncers is bringing the stick in close to the body. Here, you can’t move it around very freely.
5) Now mix it up. You can start to bring the heat a little bit. Of course, only if the goalie is ready.
The previous clips can be seen on the DVD “Evolution in Goaltending” with Trevor Tierney. Check out more goaltending videos in our extensive lacrosse library by clicking here.
New Lacrosse DVDs with Trevor Tierney and Josh Sims! Trevor Tierney was a 2x All-American at Princeton University; named All-World Goalie in the 2002 ILF World Championships in Perth, Australia, and Josh Sims was a 3x first team All-American and 2x midfielder of the year at Princeton University; 4x MLL All Star.
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