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How To Score More Goals (The Finisher’s Mindset)

Why do some players score more goals than others of equal talent?

While technical, tactical, and physical aspects certainly have a lot to do with an athlete’s scoring potential, I believe that the mindset of the shooter is one of the greatest attributes.

The finisher’s mindset (or the shooting mindset) is absolutely crucial for successful lacrosse players.

Surprisingly, it is hard to find information on how to develop the finisher’s mindset.

As you know, the goal of lacrosse is simple: score more goals than the other team.

Do this and you win the game.

But why do some players hold back and other’s fire away and take shots?

Why do some consistently score the most goals, when others of comparable talent struggle?

It’s the finisher’s mindset.

My definition of the finisher’s mindset is being able to finish an offensive threat that can result in scoring a goal.

Notice that I said “can result in scoring a goal.” If you finish the play and take a shot on goal, you have to realize that not every shot is going to go your way.

But you can’t score if you don’t take shots.

You can’t score if you don’t take shots.

Here are 5 steps to develop the finisher’s mindset.

STEP 1: TRAIN YOUR MIND

The first step is to literally start thinking like a leading scorer. Visualize yourself on the field scoring goals. How many players actually take time out to do this? My guess is not many.

Developing the right mindset starts with thinking and visualizing what it is you want to do. That can be said for anything. The mind is powerful and you have to train yourself to think, act, and believe a certain way.

There are many greats books on developing athletic mindset.

One that comes to mind is The Champion’s Mind by Dr. Jim Afremow, who I’ve been fortunate to interview.

STEP 2: PLAY FEARLESSLY

The next thing is to play fearless. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. This is especially important because I’ve observed too many players who play in fear.

Fear that if they make a mistake, they’ll be yanked out of the game. Kids cannot play like this.

Actually, professional athletes can’t play like this either.

You cannot play in fear because if you do that, you will not play your best. It’s impossible.

You have to learn to play free and play without fear. This is key in developing a strong finisher’s mindset.

STEP 3: GO FOR THE GOAL

If you’re an offensive player, your job is to go for the goal, period. You are an attacker or midfielder whose job is to help your team win by scoring goals.

And every goal matters.

If you have a shot, take it.

And if you don’t have a shot, then look to pass and don’t force things.

But understand that your job is to go for the goal. Don’t hesitate and hold back – when you have the opportunity.

STEP 4: ALWAYS BE A THREAT

When you have the lacrosse ball in your stick and you’re flying around the field, you are a scoring threat. Remember that.

There is something called the “triple threat” in lacrosse. The triple threat means you are always capable of:

  • Dodging
  • Passing
  • Shooting

Again, when you have the ball – you are a threat to the opposing team. Whether that is by taking a shot on goal, dodging past your defender to get to the cage, or by passing the ball to a better positioned offensive player on your team.

Always be a threat.

Always.

STEP 5: BE A TEAM PLAYER

As much as you want to develop your finisher’s mindset, you also DO NOT want to be that notorious “ball hog.”

No, no, no.

If you become a ball hog, that’s a bad thing for the team for many reasons.

(Refer back to “Why The Ball Hog is Bad For The Team.”)

Be a team player and know when to pass and when to shoot.

Developing a finisher’s mindset is an aggressive mindset about scoring but it’s also recognizing when to dump the ball off to your teammate.

Play selflessly not selfishly.

Play selflessly not selfishly.


For more on the shooter’s mentality, here’s a great short video I found on the topic from sports psychologist, Dr. Patrick Cohen.

There’s a few great insights here on having a strong mindset, letting go of fear of mistakes, and how to keep firing.

Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a lack of content on the finisher’s mindset.

Hope you find all of this helpful in your goal scoring journey.

FINAL THOUGHT…

As a player, while scoring a lot of goals is great, remember there are also many other components to being highly successful in the game of lacrosse.

Never stop focusing on fundamental skills like throwing, catching, cradling, ground ball recovery, defensive positioning, and more.

Coach Scott

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