By the time you decide whether to catch, punch or deflect a shot screaming toward you, the announcer might already be bellowing, "GOOOOAAAALLLL!" Mike Toshack, goalkeeper coach for the two-time MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo, provides a drill to help you kick your indecision and get more comfortable with your saving skills.
"The game's evolving and changing," Toshack says. "It's much more difficult to make clean catches on balls today than it was even five years ago."
One key component of instantly reacting to a shot is ball recognition. "Don't try to catch something you shouldn't or deflect something [you] should catch," instructs Toshack, who helped Dynamo net minders post an amazing 0.77 GAA in '07. "It comes with repetition and seeing a lot of different balls and a lot of different situations, [so] you as a goalkeeper can read it," he says.
Below, Toshack's Two Cone Set at Post Drill will warm you up and get you ready to hit the ground.
Two Cone Set at Post (View Diagram)
Setup: Place two cones three yards apart, four yards in front of net, so they form a mini goal // Partner 1 stands 7 to 10 yards in front of cones with ball // Partner 2 stands 3 to 5 yards away from left corner of goalpost with ball
- Stand in ready position between two cones [star]
- As Partner 1 volleys the ball, use a collapse catch and roll ball back
- Immediately turn to your right, run to spot between goalpost and cone [arrow], and get in ready position
- Partner 2 tosses ball toward goal
- Using a "pull back on ground save" technique, throw ball back to Partner 1, and quickly return to start position for next volley
Sets/Reps: 4x4 to left and right [each rep consists of a collapse catch and pull back on ground save]
Toshack's Tips: Emphasize getting set, shifting your weight, stepping and attacking the ball // For the pull back on ground save maneuver, quickly get off the ground and return to start position
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock