Having played defense in front of both Mickey Hoover and Ginny Capicchioni regularly, as well as playing in front of many other accomplished goalies throughout the years like Chris Sanderson, Eric Miller, and Matt Roik, I can tell you that American goaltending is not too far from being ready for the world stage.
As a vocal and cerebral defender I am in constant communication with the goalies. Capicchioni strikes me a particularly strong at understanding the box game. She sees thing several steps ahead. Mickey also understands the game at a high level and and is at his best when the five defenders in front of him are working together. Both Ginny and Mickey can stop the ball with the best of them.
The problem in the U.S. right now is not personnel but rather experience. The U.S. came in third at the last World Cup, like they do at every World Cup. Why? Who finished above them? What do they have they that the U.S. does not? Simple. Experience. The Canadians have players who have played all of their lives, just like the Iroquios. Look who is charging up the ranks behind the U.S.; the Czechs. They play box lacrosse almost year round there and it shows. I participated in a youth clinic in the Czech Republic over 10 years ago. They were younger that any Americans I taught. Ironically, offensive star Petr Poupe was a box goalie then.
If the U.S. wants to win the 2015 Cup they do need to crash course people like John Galloway. That will add to the competition and push the aforementioned goalies to greater heights. But the national team needs to commit to these goalies too. All prospects should be put with old school U.S. goalies like Frank Menschner. He is the common denominator between Hover and Capicchioni. He could help the squad be ready for next time. But that is not a long term solution.
The long term solution is to have goalies with 10,000 hours experience. If you need an explanation of the “10,000 hour rule,” read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The U.S. needs youth leagues to develop talent. U.S. Indoor Lacrosse needs to commit to it. When American box goalies have that kind of experience there will be no more issues. When American players in general have that kind of experience there will be no more issues.
There have been short term successes with youth leagues, in the Philadelphia area particularly, but nothing sustained. That is where USIL can have an impact. By providing well known national talent for clinics and tapping the aging local box lacrosse talent for coaching parents will be willing to put their kids in those leagues instead of other traditional sports.
The goal of USIL there should be a nationally connected association. While the Canadian Minto Cup level is decades away, just having a National championship would be a great way to attract young athletes and coaches. The pieces are there, they just need to be put in place. Set the system up, let them play, and enjoy the results.
But I’m going to argue with you anyway, because it’s fun!
regarding the two examples of field goalies trying to play box goalie in the NLL and failing: see that’s the problem!!! They are NOT ready for the NLL. totally true. So that’s why I want to see them play in the NALL. Our field players AND goalies could learn the game together and it would provide a more even training field for everyone.
I’m not implying they will get ANYWHERE through sheer force of will. What I said was that they would need to work on it, learn the game, and then get TONS of repetitions. It would take time. Maybe even 3-5 years!!!! I don’t think it’s some sort of overnight thing at all.
I actually think Ginny is a GREAT example of this field to box development. She played goalie in college at Sacred Heart, right? Well she made the transition from playing WOMEN’S FIELD LACORSSE goalie to box goalie… and you know when she started playing goalie in women’s lacrosse? IN COLLEGE!!!! She was a field hockey goalie first, THEN learned field lacrosse, THEN learned Box. so why couldn’t Galloway or Rodgers do that and see even more success????? And don’t tell me playing field hockey goalie is like box goalie, because I’ve seen both sports, and they are VERY different.]]>
Last winter, we ran the first box league in NYC. ALL of the goalies were field goalies, they all used the same pads and all had the same amount of time to develop their box games. By the end of the season, the best goalies in our box league were also the best goalies in our field league. They made the transition.
So I would rather have a great keeper switch over to box and learn the game than have a decent box goalie. The best field players are the best because they know how to work and they are blessed with natural ability. The natural ability will still be there, and so will the work ethic. I honestly think that set up gives us our best chance to find a great keeper.]]>
Just recently, while playing for the ELL, I had a discussion about this very topic (converting field into box goalies) with a former Buffalo Bandits goalie draftee and player.
In the same draft, the Bandits also acquired a field goalie and put him in pads at camp.
Not only did my boxla goalie friend find that highly insulting, the field goalie also performed very, very poorly.
Assuming the 10000 hours rule has any factual accuracy to it, how could you possible think a converted field goalie will ever as good as somebody who has been moving in those huge pads since he (or she!) was 6 years old!
It take both Rodgers and Galloway years to master the field goalie position, to imply that through “sheer force of will” they will accomplish the same thing for box goalie with little to no time, belittles what guys like Whipper and Vino, or even Ginny and Henhawk had to go through to arrive where they are.
PS: I have heard, they initially put Rodgers in pads at camp. As you can imagine, it didn’t go too well.]]>
But good luck convincing those guys to invest the time in learning how to play with the big pads! All but one of my field goalie friends LOATHE it. Absolutely hate it, and think it’s the least fun position ever.]]>