4 Easy and Effective Drills to Improve Goalkeeper Footwork
The days in which finding the tallest players on the team and sticking them in the goal in hopes that their height will be the ultimate in preventing goals are long past.
It’s been proven that with the right footwork, strength and agility even your average height can be sensational between the posts.
Here are five easy drills to improve your keepers in those areas.
1. Grab four cones or soccer balls and make a square five yards apart each corner. Bottom right will be #1, top right will be #2, bottom left will be #3 and top left will be #4. A coach or friend will call out a number at random and the keeper whom has positioned themselves in the middle as their starting point will circle around that cone with small fast steps. As soon as the keeper is back in the middle, you can volley a soccer ball at them to keep their focus on the ball also. Switching numbers at random works on their side to side and front and back footwork with speed.
Variation: you can play the ball at the keeper with various heights to emulate different shots they would receive in a game. As this becomes easier, grab a band to keep around their ankles to increase resistance and strengthen their legs and muscles.
2. Using an agility/speed ladder have your keep run through basic footwork drills and when they get to the top of the ladder you can volley a ball at them to catch or play a pass to their left and right to work on diving also. A great one to start with is to shuffle side to side. Step in and out of the main square going right foot and then left foot into the center square and then outside and then the opposite left foot goes in and so on. Continue going up and down through the ladder touching each foot into and outside the square.
Variations: As your keeper goes through their footwork on the ladder you can continuously play them a ball every few steps so they are focusing on their footwork and also ball being played.
3. Set up a triangle of cones with the point right on the touch line inside the middle of the goal. The top two cones five yards apart and six yards forward from the point. Easy measurement with using the six yard box. Have your keeper start at the point and run quick circles around the cone or hop side to side then sprint forward and volley a ball for them to catch. As they progress, play the ball at different heights and from side to side.
Variations: Have them touch each top cone when they come forward, play a high ball and then a low ball making two different types of saves. You can also play a ball of various heights and speed at each different cone. The constant saves forces them to also work on the speed at which they go down to save a ball and also get up to save a ball.
4. Grab a box to jump on and over (anything works even your gear bag) and set it on the six yard box. To each side set five cones. Have your keeper run through the cones with same variations as the agility ladder, jump over your box pulling both knees to chest and land on opposite side. Continue side to side. The ability to jump and move side to side with speed and quickness can make or break a save and game.
Variations: Volley a ball at the keeper on each side as they finish the cones to make it more game realistic. Footwork to the side then make a save.
Consistency with these drills and your goalkeeper will be flying high and making brilliant saves.