5 Tips for the Young Goalie
By Brian Carcaterra
After hundreds and hundreds of hours playing at every level for some great coaches, working camps, coaching one college team, two high school teams and countless appointments for private instructions I think I have finally figured out how to play goalie. It is definitely one thing playing the position and another coaching it. However, there are certain "tricks of the trade" that I can pass on to the next generation of goalies.
1. YOU'RE NOT A MAGICIAN BUT FIND YOURSELF A WAND!
How many times, as a young keeper, do you make that oh so difficult save and watch it just bounce right out of your stick back into play? Or how about when you got some middie breaking upfield, you try to throw a pass and that damn goalie stick acts up on you once again? Well, it has happened to me too many times. Now I take all the necessary precautions to make sure I limit those very controllable mistakes. Spend a lot of time fine-tuning your magic wand to make it perfect for you.
2. DON'T BE SCARED, ITS NOT A TEEN MOVIE, ITS LACROSSE!
Hey look, I'm not going to lie to you. The ball hurts! But, I tell you what. It hurts a lot more when you step away from the ball and THEN to the ball. The muscles in your legs, when they reflex away from something, leave them very susceptible to agonizing pain if hit by that hunk of rubber. When stepping to the ball the muscles in your leg tend to flex and the motion towards the object presents a force of its own. I think it has something to do with that Newton guy.
3. YEAH, SO IM SHORT. WHATYAGONNA DO ABOUT IT!
So you're playing goalie right now because Coach thinks that you are out of shape? Or the other players didn't think your were good enough to play the field positions? Guess what? Have them call me and we can talk about being an athlete. I didn't have much of a choice in there either. My two older brothers started playing lacrosse at the same time and they needed someone to fetch the balls. I proved my valor to them and jumped in. I was short (still am) and underdeveloped. I compensated for these differences with a tenacious work ethic. I knew that I wouldn't be the strongest or the fastest out there so I became the quickest and the sharpest. Work, drill after drill, till you make those hard shots look easy.
4. WHY SHUT-UP! LET THOSE LIPS FLAP
Anybody ever tell you that you talk too much? Well, get in the crease and let loose. The best way to keep those balls from coming at you is to let those defenseman know whats up! Understand that you are not out there alone. The more help that you can get by talking to people the better. That's what those guys are there for. Remember what they call themselves, Defenseman. They defend the goal and you are their leader. Get on the same page with those guys and be the eyes in the backs of their heads and the voice in their minds.
5. LIKE JOE PESCI SAYS "FORGEDDABOUTIT!"
OK, you just let the game-winning goal in from forty yards out. Later you find out that it wasn't even a shot, but a pass and it was the first girl ever to score in a boy's lacrosse game. Who cares? The only important shot is the next one. Just think what you could have done to save that ball, replay it over in your head and get it the next time. If you let those "shots" bother you, you will never get any better. Every great goalie has let those types in and has bounced back to have better days. Trust me, if you could had to visualize some of the shots that I have let in you wouldn't get any sleep at night. Also, just think what you did for that girl's ego, get her number and ask her on a date!
Playing goalie was the best decision I made in my life. There were a lot of tough times to go along with that but all in all it has been a great ride. I am stronger mentally and am more apt to handling life's twists and turns. If you think you have what it takes, then go for it. But never go halfway. Go the distance and create something that you and your family can be proud of!
Columns by Brian Carcaterra
The Changing State of the Game
In the Locker Room
A View from Afar
The All-Carc Team
Charlie Murphy: An Appeal To Our Readers
5 Tips for Young Keepers
Talk About it!