Being a goalie in any sport is not easy, but there is one sport where being a goalie is possibly one of the most difficult positions to play: lacrosse.
In hockey, goalies get peppered with shots and are expected to make a high number of saves. The average save percentage for a hockey goalie is usually high. This year, the lowest team save percentage in the NHL was 89.2 percent. That's pretty much saying that, as a hockey goalie, you are expected to make saves.
In soccer, goalies usually don't face many shots. That's why most soccer games are low-scoring. Being a soccer goalie may be difficult because of the large net, but when you facing an average shot of just 60 miles per hour, it really does not seem that bad.
In my personal belief, the hardest sport to be a goalie in is lacrosse. The average shot you face as goalie is 80 miles per hour, and the ball can travel up to 100 miles per hour. The fastest lacrosse shot ever recorded was 114 miles per hour — the fastest hockey shot ever was 110 miles per hour. Another thing you have to keep in mind is the goal in lacrosse is 36 square feet, compared to a hockey net which is just 24 square feet. Essentially, lacrosse goalies have a larger area to cover, and it also gives the players more of a target to put shots in the net as well. Also, unlike a hockey goalie, lacrosse goalies really don't have any pads. You have a stick, gloves, a helmet with a throat guard and that's it. You don't have pads for your arms or really anything else, so that makes even more dangerous.
Not only is the ball coming in at a higher velocity, but you also aren't supposed to be making as many saves either. The average save percentage for a lacrosse goalie is 50 percent; that's not very high if you think about it. To put in perspective, it's the same odds you have of flipping a coin once and landing on heads. That's crazy. ESPN even recently did a Sports Science segment on being a lacrosse goalie and how difficult it is check it out.
As a goalie, I can tell you from firsthand experience being a lacrosse goalie is the hardest position in all sports. I know it is hard to hit a baseball, but I am telling you making a save in lacrosse is harder because of the close-range shots and the speed the ball can travel. Being a goalie is difficult because it takes a lot out of you. As a goalie, you are the last line of defense. In my mind, it's pretty much impossible to not allow in at least one goal a game, and in any goalies mind, it is hard to watch a shot go into the back of the net. Whenever you are asked what position you play and you respond with "goalie," people usually look at you and say, "Wow, you must be crazy." I agree that you do have to be crazy to let someone fire a lacrosse ball at you at high speeds for fun. But I am sure every goalie would tell you they love the position they play and would never want to change it.
Being a goalie is a big mental game, just like it is in any sport. But I think it becomes even more of a mental game in lacrosse because it's a more common sport for goalies to be scored on. And when you get scored on, you have to relax, take a deep breath and make the next play, or else the flood gates might open and every shot the opposing team might take might end up in the back of the net.
If you still don't have respect for how hard it is to be a lacrosse goalie, you might want to go to YouTube, and just search "best lacrosse saves" I am sure you will find a video that will make your jaw drop.
People may always say that this position to play in sports is harder than this position, but if you ask any lacrosse goalie what the hardest position to play is, they will say their position. Just watch this video and you'll respect lacrosse goalies.