Being a lacrosse goalie equates to being a quarterback on a football field. You are in charge of all the communication on the defensive side of the ball. This means telling your defense where the ball is at all times, communicating the defensive package you are in, and relaying information about your opponent.
You’re the eyes and ears of the defense
As a goalie you are in a central location and you do not move around as much as everyone else, because of this you have the best view of the field. It only makes sense that you are the communication boss.
It is your job to be a consistent voice for matters concerning non-pressing information. This would include which offensive player has the ball and what cuts are developing. You want to have a more alert or paniced voice for alarming information.
Voice tone reflect the situation
For instance if a pass is thrown to the inside you yell “CHECK!” which tells your defenders that there is a ball coming into a dangerous area and they should check the sticks of any attackmen in the crease area.
It is important that you are always talking when the ball is on your end of the lacrosse field.
Make it a conversation
You should also be prompting your defenders to talk back to you. Ask them questions such as “who’s on ball? Who is my one slide, who is my two slide?” I often do this even when I know the answer, because it helps the other guys conceptualize their responsibilities.
There should be a “constant chatter” coming from all seven men on the defensive end.
Be ready to tell your defenders if they are out of position, if they need to cover an incoming cutter, or that a particular player is a shooter.
Be a student of the game
You should know the defensive playbook inside and out and be able to tell every member of your defense where they should be on any given play. As you progress in your playing career, try to understand offensive plays and schemes as well.
Understanding how the enemy operates is the best way to find his weak spots and areas to exploit. Talk to your defense off the field about how you can better communicate to them and be sure to explain what all your terminology means so that everyone is on the same page.
Effective communication requires talking, listening, and acting
Like anything else it also requires practice in order to be perfected. Assume the role of head communicator of your unit and help them to see the things that they cannot see. Do not get lazy and quit talking. Maintain your main job, to stop the ball, but also keep in mind that you should be talking up a storm on the field.
It will help you and help your team. Seek out ways to make your communication more effective and efficient. Now go get ‘em!
Photo credit: Flickr