Solo goalkeeper drills – Tips to practice on your own
by Pablo M08th Aug 2019
Sharpening your goalkeeping skills is very difficult if you play for a small team or haven’t got a team. While modern goalkeepers must train on the same basic skills as the rest of the team (first touch, passing, shooting, etc.), goalkeepers have very different needs than the rest of the players. In this post, we discuss solo goalkeeper drills that you can use to train on your own.
Footwork and warming up
Good footwork is critical for any goalkeeper. Footwork is a skill that you can practice alone. All you need is some kind of markers that you place on the ground. You can buy a set of cones and an agility ladder for a few dollars.
Start out with simple drills such as a mini-shuttle or a weave in/out and juggling to warm up. The video below starts with footwork exercises that are great to improve your feet’ speed and coordination.
One drill that is not demonstrated in this video is the three-ball weave. Set two markers far apart from each other, about the size of a real goal. Start with three balls in the middle between the markers. Pick up the ball in the middle and move it outside of the right ball. Next, pick up the ball in the middle again and move it outside the ball on the left. The outside balls will separate more and more from each other as you repeat the sequence. Move between balls shuffling your feet sideways. Once the outer balls reach the markers, revert the progression until all three balls are in the middle again. This solo goalkeeper training drill is an excellent exercise to warm up all your body and improve your footwork.
Practicing around the house – Hand eye coordination
Goalkeepers must have good reflexes and excellent hand-eye coordination. Fortunately, these skills can be trained in various ways, including indoor exercises that you can do at home.
A great way of practising indoors is to use a reaction ball. A reaction ball is just an odd-shaped ‘ball’ that bounces in a random pattern, so it is much harder to track and catch. The random pattern makes it an excellent tool for improving your hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Reaction balls are commonly used for training in other sports such as hockey, softball, and cricket, but they are also valuable for football goalkeepers. In fact, the video that illustrates this section is from a hockey goalkeeper coach.
Practicing with a wall
As discussed in a previous post, practising with a wall is an excellent way for field players to improve their first touch, passing and shooting technique. Goalkeepers can also take advantage of training with a wall. In modern football, goalkeepers have to be as good with their feet as field players.
In addition to training with your feet, you can use a wall to train skills unique to the goalkeeper role. For example, you can train ball handling with a wall. A basic drill is to rebound the ball repeatedly and catch it from different positions. You can practice hand service and catching, and even diving. This method is excellent for building a variety of sequences. However, make sure that you practice in an enclosed area, so the ball doesn’t go far if you don’t catch it.
If you can afford it and have space at home, a rebounder is a good piece of equipment to have. A rebounder will help you execute the same solo goalkeeper drills you did with the wall and more. Rebounders are also an excellent tool for field players.
Rebounder like Crazy Catch has two nets: a net that sends the ball back in a predictable direction and a second net that returns the ball in unpredictable directions. The unpredictable net makes it the ideal equipment to train your reaction and diving skills on your own.
Not only rebounders are an excellent tool for training, but they also save you money in the long run. For example, practising with a wall at home wears balls quickly and can damage a wall.
As discussed, you don’t need much to practice solo goalkeeper drills. However, having the right equipment can boost your training. We curated below a list of the accessories mentioned in this post. I hope you find them helpful.