on your own…

One thing that is not obvious about goalkeeper training is this: how do you work out on your own? Field players can dribble, kick against a wall or into a Pugg, juggle, or work on individual skills for hours on end. What things can a goalkeeper do to hone specific skills?

Here are a few simple drills that kids can do on their own that will make a difference. There is NO substitute for game experience, of course. When can’t find a game – try these drills instead. More after the jump…

1. High tosses. The concept is simple: throw the ball up in the air and catch it. The hard part is doing it with correct technique: arms outstretched over the head with a good high “contour” catch and the knee up for protection – all while catching the ball at the highest part of your jump.

You can see this technique in the video below (albeit with a partner here – from SoccerPlus). You can do a similar drill on your own.

IMPORTANT: Attack the ball – don’t let it come to you. Remember, in a game you will be doing this to keep the striker from heading the ball into the back of the net – you need to beat him to the ball AND make him pay for going up with you.

2. Twist handling. This is a nice, simple hands drill courtesy of SoccerPlus.

3. Collapse save. It helps to have someone calling North, South, East, or West on this, but you can do it on your own. For many young ‘keepers, it is important to get them on the ground as much as possible so they get used to impact and also improve their technique, which will avoid injuries. I am a big fan of the drill shown below (thanks again to SoccerPlus).

I also like a variant drill that forces the keeper to lead with his/her hands and move forward on the ball – see the cartoon sequence below:

Start with two balls about 6 feet apart. The keeper stands about 6′ back from the balls and goes through the sequence above: (1) attack and make a sliding collapsed “save” on ball #1, (2) leave the ball and sprint back to the starting spot, (3) attack and make a sliding collapsed save on ball #2, (4) leave the ball and sprint back to the start. Repeat.

The key here is to:
-lead with your hands
-land on the BIG side surface (no landing on palms, wrists, elbows, etc.)
-alternate landing side
-get the legs out from under your body to get on the ground (watch out for caught cleats, twisting ankles/knees, etc.)

Any questions or comments? Let me know. Look for more stuff soon.

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