WYC 118 – Goalie Mental Toughness – Damon Wilson talks being a Lax Goalie Rat

Damon Wilson is a lacrosse goalie coach. He learned to play goalie from scratch and now he shares everything he’s learned along the way at Lax Goalie Rat. His coaching benefits from the fact that he didn’t grow up being a lacrosse goalie. In Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, they talk about something called The Curse of Knowledge. This is the “curse” people have that makes it hard for them to teach something they know to a person who knows nothing about it. It can be tough to gauge and hard to assume how much your student already knows. Since there were some areas of goalie that were new to him, as he did the research, it was easier to translate into something young goalies can understand.

Website/Books: laxgoalierat.com

Twitter: @laxgoalierat

Facebook: /LaxGoalieRat

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link


‘Extreme ownership – never blame anyone else.’

Cringe moments

  • Trying to do at all myself. Should have sought out more assistant coaches to help
  • Focusing too much on game skills, and not teaching leadership and mental toughness skills

Being coached by your dad

  • The key was he had passion for the sport. He wasn’t an expert in soccer, but his passion made the experience great.

Teaching Skills

  • Make everything competitive – Keep track of stats and quantify the results in practice, then use those numbers to motivate improvement

Mental toughness

  • Train on controlling your emotions. You have to practice choosing a positive reaction to negative things happening.
  • Post-goal routine for a goalie: Lift up his mask to show a stoic expression. Review the play in your head for a couple of seconds. Then have an anchor word: quickness; strong; etc. to repeat in your head and move on to a positive mindset.


  • A lacrosse goalie is going to be a leader on the team.
  • Part of that leadership is being confident.
  • Extreme ownership – book by navy seal – Never blame anyone else.

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • Damon’s goalie on the youth team he coached – was thrown in there b/c no one else volunteered. He developed from a nervous scared kid into a confident leader

The one that got away

  • On a trip from California to Michigan (in college) – the field house they played in had white walls and a white roof. Damon could not pick up the white ball against that background and they lost 18-4, and Damon got pulled.  Damon learned how important it is to be able to recover when something doesn’t go your way.

Favorite coaching book/quote

Lax Goalie Rat

  • Website/Books: laxgoalierat.com
  • Weekly blogposts, ebooks, physical and mental training
  • Free tools, defensive terms

Parting Advice

  • Have fun, keep perspective, enjoy the beautiful game to be played with friends

Reviews are the lifeblood of the podcast!- If you like the podcast- please take 2 minutes to write a review! Click here


Ready to be an Awesome Youth Coach? Sign up for our free weekly newsletter:

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 10.16.08 AM

[email protected]

View more posts from this author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook