There is an increasing trend in women's lacrosse for goalies to become more active. Disclaimer: I AM A HUGE FAN OF THIS. However, I know that it's not for everyone. In this post, I hope to encourage some goalies if you're nervous or not sure where to start small steps you can try.
So first let's go over the why. Why, Lyndsey, should I even try to come out? Coming out began to be more popular with Devon Wills, and now there is an increased desire among college coaches for goalies that can "do more than play goalie". Personally, I know this was a huge highlight for me being recruited. My athletic abilities and desire to take risks was impressive to coaches looking to provide more offensive opportunities to their teams. Think of it like this, if you can disrupt a play it's one less shot you have to face and one more opportunity for your team to score. Also, I personally love to see goalies coming out because of proving one of the many stereotypes that are out there about goalies wrong. Yep, you know the one, where people say goalies are lazy and unathletic. I have always enjoyed proving people wrong, and there's no exception with lacrosse. You don't know how many times I've gotten "you don't look like a goalie," and then proceed to ask me why I look confused or upset because it's supposed to be a "compliment". Everyone comes in all shapes and sizes and let me tell you even though I'm small, it didn't mean I was always in shape. We'll have to get to that another time ... back to how to be more active.
Step 1: When the ball is behind, try to throw your stick up for interceptions. Don't simply leave your stick way above the goal, it's too easy for attackers to avoid. What I do is hold my top hand at the top, and bottom hand all the way at the bottom but the head positioned where it would be in my stance. If a pass goes over the crossbar, I'll use my bottom hand to shoot my stick up to block. You can also play with the distance and positioning when the ball is behind, like trying to be more in the passing lane (I can demonstrate in video later).
Step 2: What do you hear most coaches say during fast breaks? "If the fast break isn't there, take it to X." Attackers get this in their head and automatically look to feed behind and don't even think the goalie will move. This is another easy opportunity to come out by either throwing your stick out or physically moving for the interception. The great thing about an interception here is that you're really close to the crease and can roll the ball back in with 10 seconds to clear. I'd consider this another low-risk option to try.
Step 3: The crease pop out option. When a defender gets beat behind (we all know it happens), you can try to pop out at the attacker. Again, this is something that not many attackers expect and therefore slows them just enough for another defender to recover in. This is a little bit of a higher risk because you have to be careful where you're putting your stick and you must be quick to recover back to the cage. Again, I can demonstrate this via video!
Step 4: Coming out for loose ground balls. Depending on where the ball is, it can be tricky. If you can, always try to roll the ball back into the crease so you have protected time to throw. If that's not an option, you should run and keep running up the field (stick side is preferable). While you're running make sure to keep your head up. This is the exact reason that I tell goalies to get involved with as many stick work drills as possible. Contrary to popular belief, goalies need stick skills too! If you're able to accurately pass on the move, especially with BOTH hands you will be in great shape!
Step 5: Final step here -- try to come out during live game play in the 8m. This one is very tricky, and you have to go immediately. If you hesitate or have any doubt, you won't make the play. As you develop as a player and learn more about the game, you'll begin to notice tendencies in plays and systems that other teams run. You can also see this by watching game film of your opponents and anticipate where the ball will go.
I hope you found this helpful, feel free to shoot me any questions you may have. The main thing is to just keep practicing coming out because the more you do it the more comfortable and natural it will be!
As always, thanks for reading!