Inside the Lacrosse Goalie Warm Up

Warning: Lots of Information Ahead

I’m going to preface this post by saying two things. First, all my content, although sometimes will be applicable to boys, will be targeted solely towards girl’s lacrosse goalies. Second, although I’ll be giving what has worked best in my experience, there will always be the few that this doesn’t work for. In that case, coaches listen to your goalie for what gets her ready for practices and/or games.


So let’s get into it! The problem as I described in “My Services” has come up so much with the goalies that I work with and talk to, but also having coached for a club team before I saw this problem arise. This problem being that first there aren’t a ton of goalie coaches out there, and some clubs don’t have a designated “goalie coordinator” at all. Even if clubs do have goalie coaches, there aren’t nearly enough coaches to get to everyone before and in between games. Let’s be honest, there’s no way you’re still ready for that second game after sitting down and eating for the last hour waiting for the next game.

There are two parts that need to happen to solve this problem:

1.     All coaches need to learn how to properly warm up their goalie.

2.     Goalies need to develop their voice. If there is a certain way you like to be warmed up, take initiative and grab a teammate and tell her or tell your coach exactly what you need. I understand what you're thinking and I too was one of those shy kids, it’s hard. But guess what, you’re the goalie and you have to start being comfortable in these positions because it’s just going to get harder (like when you have to direct your entire defense).

So here we go, everything you need to know to make sure your goalie is warmed up. First of all, if we’re talking game warm up, as a goalie she needs to have the same game warm up before each game. The process through the warm up will vary by goalie, however, if time allows there’s a progression you can go through.

  1. Ball toss: You will likely get immediate complaints about this one because she’s probably done it a million times at clinics and camps. I love it for getting my hand-eye coordination ready. The goalie doesn’t need a stick here and can have gloves on or off (up to the goalie). The goalie will stand in ready position, in a cage or out, with dominant hand held high in front (where it would be if she was holding her stick) and non-dominant hand goes behind her back. Coach or player stands about 5 feet in front and throws the ball UNDERHAND to the goalie (this should be soft tosses). She should attack the ball with her top hand and follow with feet just like she would for a normal save. Throw 5 tosses to each spot (top right/stick-side high, top left/opposite-stick-side high, mid right/stick side, mid left/opp-stick side, low right calf level, low left calf level). Some goalies may prefer to juggle to get their hand-eye coordination going, and that works too! Most times in club setting there isn’t enough time for this, but goalies if you like this you can always grab a family member and have them do this with you early!
  2. Small stick warm up: Coaches/players shoot on goalies with goalie using a field stick or boys stick. IMPORTANT—COACHES PLEASE WARM UP YOUR GOALIE WITH A WOMEN’S STICK! The release points are different between the sticks and it’s crucial that goalies are warmed up with the quick release they’ll see in the game. Also, coaches when warming up you need to MOVE! When your goalies are getting ready for games they need to warmed up for shots they will be seeing in a game. No one just stands and shoots. This gives goalies an opportunity to work on their positioning around the 8m. When you shoot you’ll want to move around the 8m on the arc, but about 2-3 feet inside the 8. Your speed of the shot will depend on the goalie, especially if the goalie has never done this before. (GOALIE TIP: Using a small stick is an awesome training tool. If you can save the ball with that, using your big stick will be a piece of cake. In college I’d hop in live drills with it to test myself) You’ll be able to tell once you start shooting if you’re shooting too hard or if it looks too easy for her. Also, ask for her feedback! You’ll go through the same progression you went through with the ball toss, but usually, it’s about 10 shots per spot or until the goalie tells you she’s ready to move on. For goalies first using this, I switch to the big stick for bounce shots until they’re ready for the challenge.
  3. Big stick warm up: Once you go through all the spots with the small stick, the goalie can grab the big stick for shooting anywhere. Still moving back and forth around the arc, you can increase your shot speed with the big stick (still not ripping it though).  Once your goalie tells you she’s good you can end.
  4. However, again if time allows, I like to end with a few game situation shots. I’ll stand facing the goal (my back to coach), the coach yells shot and I turn to react to the shot. Again, you’ll be able to tell if you’re shooting too soon/too hard if shots keep going in. I like to do 3-5 of these or until I feel “ready”.

Wow. That was a lot of info. If you don’t have time or a small stick, the key is to make sure you’re moving around the 8m and spot shooting. Once you go through the spots, then go to anywhere. There’s a ton of variations with this and you can find out what works best for your goalie. Goalies, PLEASE tell your coaches what you need and what works for you!! If there are any follow up questions don’t hesitate to ask!

ALSO, I’ll be filming this sequence this weekend so if you’re more of a visual learner, don’t worry, it’s on the way!


Thanks for reading!