5-Phase Women's Soccer Goalie Training Program

December 9, 2012 | Allison Skufca

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Great soccer goalies have an abundance of skills—smart positioning, fast reflexes and excellent ball handling. The demands of the position make goalkeeper conditioning different from that of other players. Develop the necessary explosive power, agility and concentration to be a successful goalie with the following women's goalie training program.

Phase One

The first step in any goalkeeper training program is to build basic strength and power. You need full-body strength to punt and clear the ball great distances, and to throw the ball out of the box after a save. Achieve it with the following exercises:

For Strength

Sets/Reps: 3-4x12-15

For Power

Sets/Reps: 3-4x4-6

To ensure no goal attempt falls out of your reach, you need to get your vertical leap as high as possible. So in Phase One, you also introduce basic plyometric drills.

Sets/Reps: 3x5-8

Perform Phase One two to three times per week for four to five weeks.

Phase Two

During this phase of your goalie training program, you continue the same power exercises but alter Sets/Reps to 4-5x3-5. You also start performing unilateral strength and power exercises.

Sets/Reps: 3x10-12

  • Single-Leg Squats
  • Multi-Planar Lunges
  • Alternating Chest Presses
  • Alternating Rows

To increase plyometric strength, perform exercises like:

Sets/Reps: 3x6-8

This phase lasts three to four weeks, with a frequency of two times per week.

Phase Three

In this phase, you start incorporating sport-specific movements like Shuffles, Backpedals and Short Sprints, as well as catching balls and punching balls away to develop the technical aspects of the position. You can even do shuffle drills into a dive to work on your diving technique. For field-based exercises, perform one or two sets of five to six repetitions. Because most soccer seasons run year-long, train with this workout once a week for five to six weeks.

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Phase Four

Goalkeepers need to react to a shot in a fraction of a second, so Phase Four consists of focus and reaction drills. There are several such drills, but my two favorites are Deck of Cards and Tennis Ball Focus.

Deck of Cards

Sets/Reps: 2x20-30 cards

  • Start with back facing coach or teammate standing on box
  • Coach/teammate drops card in front of you
  • Catch card before it drops to the ground
  • Catch as many cards as you can
Watch Drew Brees perform the Deck of Cards drill.

Tennis Ball Focus

Sets/Reps: 2-3x10-15 tosses

  • Starts facing wall with back to coach
  • Coach stands behind you with two tennis balls
  • Coach throws tennis ball at wall
  • Catch ball as it bounces off wall while keeping eyes focused on wall
  • Return ball to coach, who throws next ball
Watch Julio Jones perform a Tennis Ball Focus drill.

Here's another good sport-specific reaction drill:

Sets/Reps: 3-4x10-12 volleys

  • Start with back to coach
  • Coach says "go" or "turn" and volleys a soccer ball at you
  • Follow coach's direction, catch ball and return it to coach
  • Repeat

This phase lasts five to six weeks with a frequency of once a week. Since it is not too taxing on the body, it can be performed concurrently with Phase Three, even on the same day. Pick only one drill from Phase Four to run with Phase Three drills.

Phase Five

The final phase of any good goalkeeper training program involves stability exercises. Using a BOSU is a great way to build stability. (Check out Olympian Abby Wambach's BOSU Circuit.) Perform the following exercises with body weight as resistance.

Sets/Reps: 2-3x10-12

Another good sport-specific stability drill:

Sets/Reps: 2-3x10-15 tosses

  • Stand on BOSU in athletic position
  • Coach tosses soccer ball at different angles
  • Catch ball and toss it back without losing balance

This phase lasts about three weeks with a frequency of once or twice per week.

Want more goalie-specific  training? Check out STACK's library of videos and articles on Olympian Hope Solo, highlighting her training for the U.S. National Team's gold medal-winning 2012 Olympics.

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