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Goalie Ratings – A Chat with Ginny Capicchioni

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We recently sat down with Ginny Capicchioni of Guardian Sports to discuss the revolutionary new Guardian Rating Classification (GRC) Index. We kicked the tires on this comprehensive new rating system. Check out our Q&A session below.

Lacrosse Playground: Tell us about the Guardian Rating Classification (GRC) index

Ginny Capicchioni: The index is a quantifiable player-rating system for goalies. It is part of our Guardian National Championship. The GRC rates lacrosse goalies from 0 to 100 points for their performance in 16 goalie specific tests in 4 key component areas: Reactionary, Offensive, Athletic, and Virtual.

LP: How did you come up with this?

GC: This was always part of the plan since we launched Guardian Sports in 2013. It took some tinkering with the analytics but we developed a patent-pending formula that takes raw scores/percentage of success/scales/adjustments and calculates a goalie’s ranking from a level 1 to level 7.

LP: How do you know that these tests are an accurate assessment of a player’s skills?

GC: We had a test group of 30-40 players who had been in our training programs for a long period of time. They were players who we essentially knew what their strengths and weaknesses would be. When we put them through the tests, the results bore out what we already knew about them. Actually the tests really amplified the areas where the tested goalies struggled. After that we fined tuned the analytics.

LP: So the test is designed to point out a player’s flaws?

GC: The intent is to have a universal standard for evaluating goalies. The test will certainly point out areas where the individual goalies can improve. After participating in the National Championship and receiving their results, the goalies then know what they need to do to be a standout goalie. Here at Guardian we have an expression related to our training, “Today is the worst you will be at this skill.” The expression is built upon the idea that the goalie will improve on that lacking skill, from that day forward. The goal of the test is to enable goalies to achieve their maximum potential.

LP: Just like the NFL combine and other statistical measures, this must have a recruiting angle as well, can you explain?

GC: Definitely. One goal of the index is educate non-goalie coaches on what to look for in the recruitment of goalies. The test eliminates a lot of the bias and subjectivity that can sometimes pop up in recruiting. There are so many factors that influence whether a goalie is performing well on the field that may not directly correlate to the goalies’ actual skill level.

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LP: So getting down to the nuts and bolts, what are the factors of the test?

GC: The test consists of 16 stations broken into 4 categories – Offensive, Reactionary, Virtual and Athletic. We measure each goalie through a series of field drills, state-of-art testing/training technology (i.e. Batak and FitLights) and computer-based memory and virtual game situational testing. There are a bunch of factors that we don’t include. The GRC does not factor into account the goalies school, height, weight, technique, or experience and instead grades them out on goalie specific tests. We tried to remove all bias and subjectivity from the test.

LP: We won’t get into all the individual tests but just walk us through how a sample scoring would work…

GC: Let’s go with ability to save a bounce shot. A save would result in a point and a goal is nothing. The scores for that skill are tallied and applied with the other Reactionary skill scores to the patent-pending formula to calculate the score. The Reactionary portion combines with the other 3 portions of the test to grade out goalies from 1 to 7.

LP: What do the ratings 1 to 7 mean?

GC: A level 7 goalie is a player who is ready now for collegiate play versus a level 1 player is a beginner/intermediate goalie who is just learning the fundamentals of the position.

LP: So are there many 7’s?

GC: No, like any standardized test the majority of the scores fall somewhere in the middle. We suggest that recruiting should begin at a level 5. In general a good goalie could score low on the test (if they have a bad day), but a bad goalie certainly will not score a 7. There are so many functional goalie skills tested that it is impossible to have that happen.

LP: So one problem we thought of is the differences among shooters and potential inconsistencies. How do you solve that issue?

GC: The proprietary calculations have an adjustment calibrated into the final score to allow for that. We allow a percentage error rate and also ensure that the shooters are consistent by having them remain at the same locations throughout the test. We also make sure to have comparable shooters available.

LP: So who is this test geared for?

GC: This test is currently a high school test. The scoring is based on what a high school goaltender (future college player) should be able to do. Certainly rising freshmen are encouraged to take the test as well because it provides a great baseline for their development.

LP: How do prospective coaches get their hands on this valuable information?

GC: The results are published online and all DI, DII, DII Men’s and Women’s college lacrosse coaches are provided with an access code to the scores associated details.

LP: Do you expect this to revolutionize the recruitment of the goalie position?

GC: Absolutely. Any college coach can look at this as the goalie SAT. You obviously don’t want to base everything on just this number, but it certainly will give you a clear indication of whether or not a kid has the ability to succeed at the next level. Background and character count for a lot too considering this person will be your next field general and team leader. You definitely don’t want to make a mistake with the recruitment of this position so the GRC helps in that regard.

LP: The 2015 test looks great, where do you envision this going in the years to come?

GC: We feel this is an invaluable tool that will evolve with the game and the position. Goalie education has changed tremendously in the last thirty years and will continue to do so. Our goal is for the lacrosse community to find this tool invaluable and used as the de facto standard for Lacrosse goalie evaluation. We want to provide players with a standardization of what they need to achieve to become a standout goalie. Hopefully this empowers goalies to improve their skills and grow the sport!

In 2009, Adam O’Neill, Harry Alford and Thomas Alford launched Lacrosse Playground as the preeminent site for lacrosse gearheads. For years Lacrosse Playground provided lacrosse fans with tutorials and tips on how to string a lacrosse head, up-close looks at the gear the top players used and sneak peeks at equipment and uniforms before they were released. More than 10 years and millions of visits later, Lacrosse Playground has relaunched with a focus on storytelling. Our mission is to provide comprehensive coverage of the latest lacrosse news, share insights into the sports betting and fantasy lacrosse world and showcase the lifestyles and personalities of the sport of lacrosse through articles, videos and podcasts.

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