Nothing is more nerve wracking as a lacrosse mom than watching your child play goalie. It requires agility, precision, quick reflexes and nerves of steel. After all, goalies are the last line of defense, the guardians of the net, and the unsung heroes of every game. And at the heart of their arsenal lies the lacrosse goalie stick.
After years of watching my kids rotate in at goalie, I’ll share my perspective on why the lacrosse goalie stick is an indispensable piece of equipment for young goalkeepers. I’ll explain what makes a goalie stick different from a regular stick, how to choose the right one, and how it can be used effectively in this exhilarating sport.
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The Anatomy of a Lacrosse Goalie Stick
As with other pieces of lacrosse gear like the turf shoes, helmets, and elbow pads, you likely know what a goalie stick looks like. However, I’ll explain a little about the different parts of the stick.
The head of a lacrosse goalie stick is wider and deeper than that of a field player’s stick. This design allows goalkeepers to cover more of the goal and make crucial saves. You could call it the business end of the stick, as this is where the action happens as they intercept shots and protect the net.
Goalie sticks can have a shaft up to 72 inches to provide better reach and control. The shaft is an essential part of the stick’s balance, allowing goalies to handle the stick comfortably. It’s the backbone that connects the head to the goalie’s skilled hands.
Ah, the pocket. The pocket is a crucial element of any lacrosse stick, and in the case of a goalie stick, it’s no different. The pocket is where the ball is cradled, controlled, and released with precision. Goalies often customize the pocket’s depth and tightness to match their playing style. A well-crafted pocket is like an extension of the goalie’s hands, helping them make those incredible saves and precise outlet passes that define their role on the field.
The Role of a Lacrosse Goalie Stick
Now that you have a handle on the basics, let’s talk about why the goalie stick is so important for young goalkeepers.
One of the primary functions of the goalie stick is to make precise saves. Its wider head and larger surface area give goalies a better chance of deflecting or catching incoming shots. If you’ve ever watched a lacrosse goalie in action, you know that every save made with the goalie stick is a triumph.
Quick Outlet Passes
In lacrosse, transitions from defense to offense happen in the blink of an eye, and the goalie stick plays a crucial role in this transition. Goalies can use their sticks to make quick and accurate outlet passes to initiate fast breaks and capitalize on scoring opportunities.
Goalies are not just shot stoppers; they’re also skilled ball handlers. The goalie stick allows them to maintain control of the ball even when under pressure. This skill is invaluable in clearing the ball from the defensive zone and setting up offensive plays.
Choosing the Right Lacrosse Goalie Stick
If you know that your child is on the goalie path, it’s best to invest in a quality stick. Like everything else, you get what you pay for and goalie sticks are no exception.
When it comes to selecting the perfect goalie stick, the length of the shaft plays a key role. I’ll walk through the advantages of a shorter length versus a longer one, and why the choice ultimately depends on the goalie’s preferences and style of play.
- Quick Reflexes: A shorter shaft allows for quicker movements, which can be advantageous when reacting to fast shots or making close-range saves. Goalies who prefer a more nimble stick often opt for a shorter shaft.
- Close-Quarters Play: In crowded creases where there’s limited space to maneuver, a shorter shaft can be more maneuverable. Goalies can make precise saves and clears with ease in these situations.
- Low Profile: Shorter shafts can help goalies keep a lower profile, making it more challenging for opponents to predict their movements and find openings to score.
- Reach and Coverage: A longer shaft provides extended reach, allowing goalies to cover a larger area of the net. This can be particularly advantageous when facing long-distance shots or high shots that require extra elevation to block.
- Control and Handling: The added length of a long shaft can provide better control when handling the ball and making outlet passes. Goalies who appreciate the ability to execute accurate clears often prefer a longer stick.
- Blocking Passing Lanes: A longer shaft can effectively block passing lanes, making it harder for opponents to pass the ball around the goalie. This can disrupt the opposing team’s offensive strategies.
Ultimately, the length of the stick depends on the goalie’s playing style, comfort, and the specific situations he or she frequently encounters on the field.
Head Shape and Pocket
The shape of the head and the type of pocket in the goalie stick can influence ball control and passing accuracy. Some goalies prefer a wider head for better coverage, while others opt for a more pinched shape for increased ball control. The pocket’s depth and tightness also impact how the ball is cradled and released.
Materials and Weight
Fortunately, many modern goalie sticks are often made of lightweight materials that offer durability and performance. A well-balanced stick minimizes fatigue during gameplay.
A Goalkeeper’s Best Friend
In the world of travel lacrosse, every save is a victory. It sounds cheesy but you’ll agree after watching just one lacrosse game. Essential to every save is the goalie stick. It’s a symbol of skill, precision, and unwavering defense.
So, whether your athlete is just starting his or her journey as a goalkeeper or is a seasoned pro, never underestimate the power of the goalie stick. It’s not just a piece of equipment; it’s a game-changer on the lacrosse field.
Ready to start shopping? In my experience, STX, Warrior, StringKing and ECD are the top brands in lacrosse sticks. Here are a few of my recommendations.