5 Goalkeeper Fitness Drills
(For Actively Avoiding Field Player Fitness)
We all know that one of the main reasons we play in goal is to avoid the pain that is running. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that we can get away with being out of goalkeeper shape. To be at our best, we still need to be able to get down and react quickly in one-on-ones, sprint off our line for through balls, and get up quickly after shots to save rebounds. Here are some drills that will get your fitness up with a specific focus on functional goalkeeper movements.
These ladder drills, which target agility and speed, gradually get more difficult and, as the name implies, require a ladder (or a few cones in a box shape.)
1. Bunny hops (two-footed jumps in each box with *good landing mechanics)
*You are trying to land as softly as possible by aligning and bending your knees over your toes to absorb force.
2. Jumping jacks in and out of each box (when your legs are together, they should be inside the ladder. When your legs are apart, they should straddle the outside of the ladder)
3. One-footed shuffle hop (on one foot, start on the left side of a box, jump to the middle of the box, then jump to the right side of the box, repeat back and forth as you progress down the ladder)
4. Lateral shuffle (stand directly in the first square of the ladder facing sideways with feet shoulder width apart. Pick up your front foot and place it into the next square with the back leg following. Stay on your toes and continue the same movement down the ladder.)
5. Lunge jumps (starting perpendicular to the ladder with the front foot in the box, go into a lunge and jump switch to the other foot being in the box, then progress forward to the next box)
Squat jumps are a plyometric movement that focus on jumping and landing mechanics as well as explosiveness with no equipment necessary. To perform a squat jump, start with your feet a little over shoulder-width apart and your chest up. Sit until you’re just above the knee line then drive with your arms up and push off the ground. Make sure to land softly, absorbing the impact with those good landing mechanics. Try out three sets of 20 and you will feel that burn!
Diving drills are great for both form and endurance. To complete this drill, you will need a friend, a few soccer balls, a cone, and a goal. Set up the drill with a cone in the middle of the goal and towards the six yard line. Position a friend to shoot in between the cone and post like a mini goal. Starting on the post, shuffle to touch the cone. Once reaching the cone, have your friend play the ball back towards the post. Dive to the same side 10 times and then move the drill to the other side of the goal to replicate the drill in the opposite direction.
Short sprints are a tough but necessary evil to make sure you always get to the ball first in the game. One way to improve initial speed is to do about 20 sprints from the goal line to the edge of the penalty area. Time each sprint and work to improve the next week.