Goalie Positioning

There are many conflicting theories on where a goalie should stand in the goal to be most effective. It is our position that goalies should play an extremely shallow arc or very close to the goal line. The lacrosse goal is six feet by six feet and lacrosse goalies do not wear many pads. Therefore, it is unlike hockey where a goalie can take away angle by coming far out of the goal.

Many goalies who play a high arc, or who play way far out of the goal, usually get lost when moving from pipe to pipe. This puts them in bad position and allows them to get beat on shots that should not go in. This also gives them less time to react to quick passes.

The other reason for playing far back in the goal is that lacrosse players are shooting extremely hard now with the new stick technology that is available. A lacrosse goalie needs as much time to be able to react as possible. By sitting back in the goal, it gives him enough time to react to any shot, no matter how hard or how close.

Playing back on the goal line makes it easy to move from pipe to pipe. The goalie only needs to take small steps and keep his hips square to the shooter. When the ball is directly at the top center of the field, then the goalie wants to have both his heels barely touching the goal line. As the ball moves to top left, the goalie takes tiny steps, keeping his left foot on the goal line and bringing his right foot up a few inches. The goalie should picture two lines coming out of his shoulders and pointing out towards the shooter, like a target. Both of these techniques allow the goalie to keep his body square to the shooter. The further down the left side of the field that the ball carrier gets, the further over the goalie should get his left foot to the pipe while keeping it on the goal line, and the higher his right foot should come off the goal line.

Many young goalies go to the pipe too soon. Right when the ball carrier starts sweeping to the left side of the field, the goalie gets his left foot on the pipe. This leaves the whole right side of the goal open. Goalies have to realize that when shooters sweep from the center to the left side of the field, with the stick in their right hand, that they want to shoot across their body and to the right side of the goal. Goalies can help themselves by staying more towards the middle of the goal until the shooter gets far to one side or the other. If he makes small movements and keeps the shooter between the two imaginary lines pointing out of his shoulders, then the goalie will most likely be in good position. If he feels like he has to take a huge step to save the ball, then he is probably out of position. If he feels like he could not get to a shot that went in, the same thing is probably true.

A goalie’s philosophy should be to make it as easy on him and as hard on the shooter as possible. Being in good position does both. It makes it easy for the goalie to get to all shots and it makes it hard on the shooter because there is not much net to shoot at. You will know that your goalie is in good position when the other team starts missing a lot of shots.

Some great tips to get you going:

Zigs and Zags

Zig your cuts, fake left - go right, fake right - go left. Don't always run at the same speed, change of pace is a very effective method of getting open.

Get it Off the Ground

After picking up a loose ball, turn and face the crease immediately. If nobody is open, move in fast until you are picked up.

Keep Proper Spacing

Never stand so close together that one defense can cover two offense.

Be an Outlet

If an attack man is being ridden hard and can't dodge or get away - the nearest man on each side goes to help him.

Pick a Corner

Place all shots, usually for a far corner, and shoot hard. When within five yards of the goal, the shot should be for a top corner.


Never try to dodge when men are in position to back up.

Circle Away From Pressure

Always move to meet every pass, and circle away from your defenseman.

Give and Go

After receiving a pass, as the ball moves around the outside, look first at the man who threw you the ball to see what he is doing, then at the crease.

Away From the Defense

In moving the ball around the circle, make all passes sharp, short, and to the outside, away from the defense man.

Back Up shots

Always have one, preferably two, men behind the goal to back up shots.

Don’t Rush at Him

Don't rush at a man when riding - particularly behind the goal. Force him to pass - force him in the direction where there is help. Talk all the time and run hard. The success of an attack depends on their riding ability and their desire to have the ball.

Take Quality Shots

Shoot plenty, but only if you feel you have a good shot. Shoot to get hot, shoot to stay hot.

Time Your Cuts

Time your cuts, don't cut if the man with the ball is not watching or not in position to pass.

After the Pass

If you receive a pass after cutting and haven't got a good shot, hold onto the ball.

Fake Passes

When you have the ball, be constantly faking passes - keep your defense man's stick moving. Go ahead, throw that sky-whammy.

Loose Ball on the Ground

When there is a loose ball on the ground, go after it fast and hard, you must have the ball!

Try Some Dodges

Every man on the attack should try at least two dodges every game. Learn at least three different types of dodges.

Make Good Passes

Take pains to make every pass a good pass.

Outside Shooting

On all long shots, a man must be on the crease.

Crease Play

On every screen shot the crease man should check-up on the defense man's stick, and immediately face the goalie, so that he is ready to bat in a rebound.