Features

You Can Help - "Goalies Matter"

It’s time to break the stigma in the lax Goalie Community and help those who need it most, Goalies.

 

The battle against mental health is an ongoing one, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Brad Gigliotti, Director of 6x6 Goalie Academy, has developed a shirt that helps let others know that they aren’t alone in their fight.

 

The shirt will be unveiled at the 6x6 Summer Goalie Camp. The shirt will be available at the Camp Store and online after Camp. 

 

If you would like to help the fight and raise awareness you can make a donation on the Goalies Matter GoFundMe acct. 

Simply follow the link below. 

 

https://gofund.me/1cd2dcc1

 

Disclaimer: All monetary donations are not tax-exempt

1/1

6x6 Founder Looks to Help Athletes: Focus on Mental Health

 

PLYMOUTH, MI (May 28, 2021) - We are in the throes of a mental health crisis. Between 2012-2015, depression in boys increased by 21% and in girls by 50%. The suicide rate increased up to 150% in children and self-harm in girls nearly tripled.

 

8th graders who spend over 10 hours per week on social media are 56% more likely to report that they are unhappy than those who spend less time on social media. 59% of US teens experienced cyber-bullying or on-line harassment. (Source: e tactics.com)

 

6x6 Goalie Academy founder, Brad Gigliotti has had enough with the shaming, the bullying, and the lack of support for student / athletes, especially lacrosse goalies.

 

He started “Goalies Matter”, a place for goalies and other athletes to seek help.

 

We had a chance to talk about the mental health situation and the development of “Goalies Matter”:    

 

 

How did the "Goalies Matter" idea get its start? 

Goalies Matter has been stewing in my brain for some time, but seriously after this past year dealing with the pandemic, the loss of last year’s season, virtual learning, and all the challenges, it was time to make the concept and turn it into a reality.There were two events that played into this transition. The first was the fact that May is Mental Health Awareness month.I only knew this because as I was scrolling through Facebook a couple weeks ago, and I saw a sweet Mental Health Awareness t-shirt from the ‘Til Valhalla Project’.So, like everyone else, I bought the shirt and thought, “I’d like to make a bad ass shirt just like this,” and then started thinking about my concept.Then it clicked, “I could call this Goalie Lives Matter”, but then I was like “Naah, there are too many ‘Lives Matter’ movements going on these days, no one wants another one.Then I thought “What about taking ‘Lives’ out of it and making it just ‘Goalies Matter’ “.Then JACKPOT!!! It’s true GOALIES DO MATTER, they are more than just a life, they represent more. They are natural born leaders, and no leader should be treated in a way that makes a kid lose respect from the team or themselves.

 

The second reason I chose to initiate this concept was based on what I heard on social media from a student of mine. This student started of their video message with “We lost today and I was NOT perfect!”.I get the fact that we’re not always going to have a great game, but we’re all human and we will have bad games. It was the tone of their voice that came across as unfulfilled, as if they actually believed they were “Perfect” and didn’t live up to their own expectations.That’s when I knew I had to do something.I wanted to know where this pressure was coming from, their coach, their parents, or their own beliefs.In reality there is no such thing as being “Perfect”, you can be “Perfectly Imperfect” that just demonstrates your true authentic self. Goalies DO Matter and they need to know that there is a huge network of former goalies that are willing to listen and support current goalies.

 

 

Why do "Goalies Matter"  - especially at the youth level?

Goalies at the youth level are the start of the Goalie Pipeline.  This is where you either gain a goalie or lose a goalie.  The toughest years as a goalie happens during this time, because for the most part their defensemen are still learning their position and mistakes will be made, however those mistakes leave goalies with a 1 on 0 most of the time.  Kids at that age, who are still learning the goalie position fear these situations.  I’ll be honest with you, most of these situations favor the shooter 90% of the time leaving the goalie with a 10% chance of stopping the ball. As a young goalie this can get very frustrating very fast, leaving most kids shell-shocked. 

 

They will start to lose faith in their choice of being a goalie, either because they are constantly facing shots they don’t expect to stop or because of the fear of getting hit with the ball.  Either way, being a goalie at the youth level is a very fragile time.  It’s important for kids to know at this level that there are opportunities for success, and get the proper training they need to succeed. Social Media and You Tube provide enough resources to learn the position and to help parents work with their son or daughter, at the very least.  Any goalie training is better than no training at all, as long as it comes from a reputable source.      

 

 

There's been a national movement to make people aware of mental health and ways to get help - what will Goalies Matter do to assist lacrosse players?

The plan for GOALIES MATTER in short is to provide a resourceful website with articles of mental health that have affected athletes, links to podcasts, and Contact Support to include current and former goalies, goalie coaches, goalie experts, mental health professionals, and other individuals who have suffered and managed to conquer their own mental health issues. The long run includes webinars and possible local seminars, but that’s as far as I want to go for now.

 

The website will be a one-stop-shop resource that goalies, parents, and coaches can visit when they feel the need to reach out and talk to someone or research articles regarding their situation.Whatever we can do to save at least one goaltender, then we will have done our job, but my expectation is that we will end up saving several.

 

 

You've taken a personal interest in this - why does this mean so much to you?

Being a former goalie and now an Independent Goalie Coach, I am now on the OTHER side of the fence.Watching my own students on social media and hearing other goalies from around the country suffering from mental health issues reminds me of my time when I had to endure the same stress and pressures from my team and my coaches growing up.

 

Here in Michigan and dealing with the pandemic, we haven’t had much time to train during the season and, although I did what I could last year with restrictions and keeping kids’ health at the top of my priority list when training, these goalies are still expected to perform at a high level with minimal training or practice reps during the week. Goalies are constantly being blamed by their coaches, their teammates, and/or parents of their own team which is disheartening to even say.Our goalies are getting so beat up, without any support, that they will either quit the position, the sport altogether, or something even worse.

 

Well folks… Goalies DO MATTER, and they need to be treated better, mental health has been overworked and pushed beyond all limits…they are simply burned out from frustration.Overall, it’s the coaches who aren’t realizing that they’re really hurting their most important player on the team, their Goalie.The lack of support and knowledge about goalies is the primary cause that’s deteriorating the mindset of but since it’s not happening it’s time to Stand UP and make a difference. That’s why Goalies Matter.

 

 

Who has lent support thus far? 

I launched this campaign on May 19, 2021, but unofficially I launched it on May 18 to the Goalie Coaching Community via social media accounts.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but prior to even launching I had already received the support from a long-time friend and colleague, Lyndsey Munoz from LM Lax Training. She threw 110% support behind this campaign and I was blown away.  Then when I emailed the rest of the coaching community my FIRST supporter was Certified Consultant and member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), Christian Buck, Author of the greatest Goalie book of all time “Thinking Inside the Crease”.  After he threw his support towards the campaign, the next was the Goalie Coaching mogul himself, Bill Pilat of The Goalie School and head coach at Roanoke College.  Then the names kept rolling in from Chris Gill (Crease Beast Lacrosse), Damon Wilson (Lax Goalie Rat), Kevin Lerg (Pipe to Pipe Goalie School), Ken Brubaker (313 Lacrosse), Tommy Bruno (Mr.WANDerful), Mike Peters (Pure Advantage Kalamazoo/Portage Northern HS), Timothy O’Meara (BreakoutGT), plus more keep rolling in.  I have also received many parents throwing their support as well along with other lacrosse coaches. 

 

 

How can lacrosse people help grow this campaign?

Parents – Please pay attention to the signs you are getting from your child but also their coaches.  If you see something that seems unorthodox and that could be detrimental to the well-being of your son or daughter say something.

Coaches – Take the time and LISTEN to your goalies.  If they seem to be having a bad day talk to them, give them a breather if needed, but please support and care for your goalies, because if you didn’t have a goalie, you wouldn’t have a season.

Everyone - PLEASE share the messages, campaign videos, and the word across any and all social media platforms.  Please don’t forget to share with coaching colleagues, parents of other goalies, and ALL parents in general.

 

If you would like to make a monetary donation to the campaign, not necessary, but it would be greatly appreciated, you can visit the GOALIES MATTER GoFundMe page https://gofund.me/5235946f  (Disclaimer – all monetary donations are NOT Tax Exempt)

 

The Funds go towards the production of the Goalies Matter T-Shirt (Calling Card) that will be unveiled and for sale at the 6x6 Summer Goalie Camp July 26-29.  The funds will also help with the development of the Goalies Matter resource website.

 

 

I have heard stories of parents and players bullying and berating goalies and saying unthinkable things, first of all, what is the problem with these people and how can we change the mindset? 

Want to find a way to get me on my soapbox, this is clearly the way. We first have to ask the question Why are kids/parents/coaches saying mean things? Where are they learning this from? because no kid/parent/coach just starts acting this way unless they are imitating it from poorly modelled behaviors.We tend to forget that as parents, coaches, and role models (those in leadership positions); that we need to follow the “Lead by Example” mantra.If we can’t demonstrate positive behavior and good character to the kids we coach and teach on and off the field, then how can we expect them to act courageously.I remember being a spectator at my nephew’s hockey game once, and I saw a parent act belligerent towards a player on the other team and the referees. Then not 2 minutes later I saw the parent’s kid get a 5 min fighting misconduct, and I literally said “well that makes sense”. So how can we lead our kids to do the “Right Thing” if we can’t do it ourselves?

 

As a coach we shouldn’t be blaming anyone for mistakes, sure we can be frustrated, but the question at the end of the day is how could we have prevented this in the first place?It starts with sucking up our pride and doing the right thing, even if it’s NOT the most popular choice.As soon as a coach makes a comment like, “Hey just make a save out there” we immediately feel attacked, and with everyone hearing that in the team huddle allows others to make degrading comments whether it be during the game or after the game, and that’s where it starts.

 

So how can we change this mindset? It starts with holding those who are in leadership positions accountable for their actions.If you hear a parent or a coach degrade/bully a goalie, or any athlete, for that matter Say Something!!!Talk with that individual, talk to an Athletic Director, or principal and let them know what is going on, because if we let this fester than we start to lose kids.When these individuals bully a kid, it gets into their heads, it brings them down, and now we have kids who think negatively of themselves and their performance.We, as a society, can’t let this happen, we need to educate; so, when an issue evolves, we need to address it immediately.

 

By addressing these issues, we are taking a stand that this behavior is unacceptable.The more we get to Stand Up the less we lose.In lacrosse you need 10 players to play a game….10 players NOT 9 players and a goalie…a goalie is a player, and 10 players make a TEAM. It’s easier to prevent a problem then do damage control later. In the end I’d rather have a parent who coaches whole heartedly and treats every player with RESPECT, than a coach who degrades their team to get a point across JUST to win the game.If you can’t Lead by Example, get off the sideline!!

 

 

 

What's your timetable to get the website up and have everything in place? 

I’m looking to have it up and fully functional by late August or early Fall.  I want to make sure I have the funds and personnel to professionally help with the development of the site.  I am looking to make it easy to navigate and visually appealing to all those who visit the site.  I don’t want to rush this, I want to make sure it is done right and appeals to ALL goalies/athletes, not just in the lacrosse community. 

 

 

No matter which school or team you support, you can get behind the “Goalies Matter” campaign. The mental health of our youth is critical to our success as a nation. Please join all lacrosse michigan and the many other coaches and parents who stand behind this effort. Again, to make a financial contribution, go to:

 

GOALIES MATTER GoFundMe page https://gofund.me/5235946f 

(Disclaimer – all monetary donations are NOT Tax Exempt)

 

Note of thanks: ALM Intern, Hallie Creighton worked on the research for this article. 

 

6x6Day172202020%20156_edited.jpg
1/1

EMU to Add Women's Lacrosse in 2021

YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – Eastern Michigan University announced today, Nov. 6, that the EMU Department of Athletics will add women's lacrosse as a varsity sport. The program will play its inaugural season against NCAA Division I competition in the 2021-22 academic year.
 
The announcement takes place at the same time the Mid-American Conference announced that it will be adding the sport as a conference championship beginning with the 2021 season. Eastern will be the fourth full-time MAC institution to sponsor the sport at the NCAA Division I level. Central Michigan added the sport in 2016, Kent State began playing in 2019, while Akron is set to field a team for the first time in 2020. Detroit Mercy and Youngstown State are also joining as MAC affiliate members.
 
"Women's lacrosse is growing at an incredible pace and we are excited to expand opportunities for Michigan high school women to participate in a Division I sport and the academic experiences that Eastern Michigan provides," said EMU Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee. "We are committed to providing more athletic and academic opportunities for women and we believe the sport is a strong fit for our athletic program. We are very excited about the addition and I am certain the team will contribute to our legacy of athletic success."
 
The program will include the NCAA maximum of 12 scholarships and a target roster of 35. The team will play its games at a yet to be determined location.
 
The addition of women's lacrosse will increase Eastern's sport total to 19, including 12 women's programs. It marks the first addition of a new varsity sport at the University since women's rowing began competition in the 2001-02 academic year.
 
EMU has the goal of hiring the first lacrosse head coach in the spring of 2020. Additional coaching and support staff will be added in 2020 and 2021.
 
"I am pleased our membership is adding the sport of women's lacrosse to our offering of championships," said MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher.  "This is truly a historic day as women's lacrosse has been a topic of conversation among our membership. The addition of women's lacrosse adds to our already broad offering of championship opportunities for student-athletes. I am already looking forward to the inaugural season."                                                                                
 
Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in America. At the NCAA Division I level, individual participation in women's lacrosse increased by more than 46 percent from 2012-18. During that same time period, collegiate sponsorship of the sport grew by more than 34 percent.
 
The lacrosse season, which typically consists of around 17 contests (approximately half of which are home games), begins in February and runs through May. The 2020 NCAA Women's Lacrosse National Championship will be held May 22-24, at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md.

From EMU Release