Editor’s Note: We were on the ground in Radotin for the Ales Hrebesky Memorial 2018 thanks to the support of MaxLax, the world leader in box lacrosse gear for goalies and players! Make sure you peep the new MaxLax player gloves – super protective, super comfortable, old school inspired beauties! These words of wisdom come directly from Marty’s annual box lacrosse goalie clinic at the event.
Marty O’Neill is a goaltending legend, on and off the floor. He had a lengthy career in the WLA and NLL as a back-stopper and General Manager. He’s also been the operation known as Maximum Lacrosse, or MaxLax, for two decades now. MaxLax has flown under the radar for years while creating some of box lacrosse’s most protective goalie and player gear. I mean this, Marty has been on every side of the indoor game. Player, coach, manager, manufacturer, scout, you name it. He knows the game and he knows how to reach success.
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You Have to Do You
Before we get too far into this, or even started, let’s get one thing straight: your style and technique in the crease is completely up to you.
Every goalie on this planet is unique in his or her own way, but everyone has adapted techniques, tricks, and other things along the path that have built them into the athlete they are today. Christian Del Bianco and Nick Rose are two unbelievable net-minders in very different parts of their careers, that grew up on opposite coasts, and inevitably didn’t learn how to keep balls out of the net the same way. While Coquitlam and Orangeville produce unbelievable goaltenders, no two stories can be the same.
Marty knows this, Marty embraces this, and there’s more than a few times that Marty will encourage you to just try things.
He knows that it takes different strokes for different folks, but we can all learn a little bit from everyone else that has come before us. Just try what you’re about to see for yourself. Learn that you hate the drill and it throws off your mechanics. Great! You now know the direction you need to focus on, or maybe, adapt the drill to dial yourself in. Or, just maybe you loved it and felt its effects in a huge moment. Even better.
Move and See
See, Marty comes from a DIY generation of goaltending. Back when you pretty much had to make your own equipment and there weren’t too many rules around it. That’s when a kid in goal wasn’t much more padded up or broader than a typical hockey skater. The position was about mobility and quickness to match the creative shooters. You had to be spry enough to move your stick to make the save or another part of the body a little better protected.
Having this foundation in movement is what a lot of people say is missing from a lot of modern goaltenders. They don’t worry about seeing the ball, let alone reacting to it is, as they are being big, stationary, and filling space. While it may work, for a while, plugging the biggest kid between the 4x4s and letting them stand there, they will grow up. Shooters will expose the lack of mobility and reaction to shot variety, then there’s nowhere left for Johnny Standstill to go.
Look back at the Del Bianco and Rose example. Different builds, different ages, different generations. Both mobile, reactive, and complete play-makers. They adapt to the game as it comes to them while staying rooted in fundamentals. That’s all Marty could ever dream of.
So watch, learn, try, adapt. These drills are for you. If you have any of your own, or comments about the ones that Marty has covered, drop us a note in the comments below. We will continue to work with goalies around the world to build out this resource that started because we stumbled into Marty’s clinic at the Ales Hrebesky Memorial in Prague, but that’s a story for another time.