Feature: Goalies in the Workplace
|Current profession||I am currently a conference assistant at Springfield College in the office of Special Programs. I am also an Assistant Coach at Western New England College a few miles down the road. I am hoping for getting into coaching on more of a full time basis|
|Number & why||I wore number 1. That was the number that I started wearing when I first started playing in sixth grade. I stuck with the number my entire career. My freshmen year in college I had to wear #24, but I went back to #1 the following season.|
|Hometown||I grew up in South Hadley, Mass. and I am now currently living in Enfield, Conn.|
|HS||South Hadley High School|
4 time first team All League; 4 time first team All Western Mass; All American my senior year
|Years played lacrosse||11|
|Years played goalie||11|
|Favorite food||Chicken Parm|
|Favorite band||Barefoot Truth|
|Favorite book||Lord of the Rings|
|Favorite movie||American History X|
|Favorite quote||“Adversity doesn’t conquer a man, lack of ambition does.” - Randy Haskins|
|Shaft / head combination used||Abyss with a Warrior Diamond|
Interview with Kyle Cloutier
No mention of Springfield College’s success over the past 4 yeas would be complete without bringing up their man between the pipes, Kyle Cloutier. At 6’2”, Kyle was a presence in the net and used his quick hands and great on-field leadership to stone opposing offenses and start Springfield’s transition. In 4 years as a starter for Springfield, Kyle amassed 746 saves, second all time for a goalie at the school. This past year he finished with 169 saves, a .612 save percentage, and a GAA of 8.07 in a 6-9 campaign for the Panthers. He was also selected to play in the New England East-West All Star Game.
We had the chance to catch up with Kyle, who hasn’t gone too far away from Springfield, and he told us about his approach to the game while he was in college and how he plans to use the lessons he learned in the crease to his new position on the sidelines.
How did you become a goalie and why did you enjoy playing this position?
I never had any interest in playing lacrosse. In sixth grade two of my good friends played and their team needed a goalie. They kept harassing me to play and I finally gave in. I stuck with the game and had some success with it. I enjoyed playing the position because the goalie has the unique chance to impact the game more than anyone else on the field. Whether or not it impacted positively or negatively, you still have the ability to win or lose the game for your team.
What was the biggest save you ever made?
My junior year in college we were in the league championship with a birth to the NCAA Tournament on the line against Western New England College (where I currently coach). It was the first over time and we got stuck in transition which forced our offensive middies to stay on. Once the transition settled we dropped into a 3-3 zone. WNEC ran a play which picked for one of the best attack men top center of the field from about 10 yards out. I made a save off hip. The ball deflected off the throat of my stick and out of bounds. We eventually won the game in double OT.
What kind of equipment did you like to use and why?
I wore a Cascade, they, to me, are the most comfortable and most protective. I wore regular gloves that I doctored up with a piece of molded ortho-plast molded over the thumbs for extra protection. For a chest protector, I wore an old school Bacharach BP-7 that I got from my coach used when I first started playing in sixth grade. It didn’t cover a lot or have much padding, but I was more concerned with mobility and comfort while I played.
How did you handle the mental aspect of our position?
I was a very calm player. I never really got real fired up during a game. I felt that was the best way for me to stay focused and relaxed and keep mine and my teammate’s heads in the game. If the defense messed up I never yelled at them in a game. I always told them that the goal was my fault, I should have made the save, but the next time lets try and do “this” differently to prevent “that” from happening again. I felt that kept the defenses morale high and made them want to play harder for me.
What is the most difficult mental challenge in being a goalie?
Mentally the most challenging thing for me was going to practice everyday knowing I was going to get hit by the ball. Unlike most goalies, I hated getting hit more than anything. Games are different; the adrenaline prevents you from feeling the ball when it hits you until a few hours after the game.
How much effort did you put in to develop your ability?
I spent a lot of time on an elliptical or just out running, especially in the winter getting ready for the season. I was a bigger goalie and a little slow so my fitness level was something I really had to work for.
Did you do any special activities to prepare for the season from a positional standpoint besides team lifting and running programs?
Wall ball was big for me. It helped me get my hands back up to speed and it really helped me develop my outlet passes which was something I took a lot of pride in so I could help spark a transition game for my team.
How did you get to become a starter for your team?
My freshmen year, the first game of the season I was the back up to a junior. I was put in with two minutes left in the first half and played well the rest of the game. The coached gave me the chance to start the next game against Hartwick College and I played well again. After that I was the full time starter for the rest of my career.
Looking back on your college career, what was the greatest accomplishment you achieved as a part of a team or as an individual?
I think my greatest accomplishment in my college career was my senior year, in the league championship again against WNEC. Although, it was in a losing effort, we gave the #3 team in the country their toughest game of the season. I think I played my best game of my career in and out of the cage, giving up 8 goals, only three in the last three quarter of the game.
Describe for our readers some of the techniques and styles you used when you played the position and any philosophies you have about the game.
I played a very relaxed style when I was in the cage. Never tense, I almost let the game come to me. When it did, I made sure I made the best play on the ball that I possibly could. The other thing I did well was direct the defense. I feel that was my strength as a goalie, my vocal ability. This is something I think is over looked by young goalies. You as the goalie need to know everything that is happening around you and be able to direct the defense to where they need to be on the field at all the time during the game. You are the leader of the defense when you are on the field and you need to direct your team using your voice.
How will you remember your time as a college lacrosse goalie?
My time as a goalie at Springfield was great. I would like to have won some more games absolutely, but who doesn’t. I wouldn’t change my experience for the world. I love the guys that I played with and the people I met at Springfield. Springfield has helped me to be where I am today in the coaching world and I am thankful for that.
Do you plan to keep playing lacrosse? If so, where?
My plans to keep playing are up in the air. I took last summer off and I don’t know that I want to get back in net. If I do decide to, it will be with the summer league team that I played for all through college.
Now that you are out of college, what are your plans for and how is the real world?
I plan to become more involved with coaching. Very possibly at the college level. I love what I am doing now. Coaching is great, it’s a different perspective but it is very gratifying and a great time working with college athletes.
What lessons learned from your playing years are you currently using in your job now.
Playing college lacrosse helped me develop a philosophy about the game and how to play it. That has helped me develop a coaching philosophy which I use to teach specific aspects of playing lacrosse.
What has been the hardest part (or the best part), so far, about not heading back to school?
The best part is the lack of homework. The worst part is missing the guys on the team and the camaraderie that you shared with them.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides lacrosse that you’d like to share with us? What do you do for fun?
I just like hanging out. Watching T.V. and football with my friends and girlfriend. I do enjoy going to the movies, which I always have.
Who has been your greatest role model growing up?
A huge role model for me growing up was my high school lacrosse coach Randy Fuller. He did a lot for me through out my high school years, not only as a lacrosse player, but as a person in general. I now have the opportunity to work with him at WNEC, where he too has made the move to college coaching.
Any advice for aspiring goalies?
My advice to young goalies is
to work hard. See as many shots as you can. Lastly, listen to advice
from coaches. Don’t be
pig headed and think, your way is the best and only way. Try
different things different coached tell you. You don’t
have to change you style completely, but things they suggest
might help you a lot as you work them into your style of play.