Graceful game-winning saves don't just happen by accident. "Dynamic warm-up drills can improve a goaltender's ability to change direction quickly for shots with unpredictable movement," says Mike Toshack, goalkeeper coach for the 2007 MLS Champion Houston Dynamo. Below, Toshack provides a flexibility warm up drill to increase agility and reaction in the net, which helped the Dynamo allow the fewest goals in the league on their way to a repeat title.
Perform each movement once for a total of 6 reps.
Dynamic Warm-up Cone Drill
Setup (see diagram):
• Spread six to eight cones [or speed disks] one yard apart in straight line
• Have partner, with ball, stand eight to 10 yards from last cone
Adaptation: Use fewer cones or move cones closer together to perform quicker movements
Movements Starting at First Cone:
1) Zigzag through cones, facing forward, using quick, side-toside shuffle
2) Take high-knee steps over cones
3) Facing forward, take quick, choppy steps over cones
4) Facing left, take quick, choppy steps over cones, making sure to contact ground with each foot between each cone
5) Same as above, facing right
6) Facing left, weave in and out of cones
For first three reps, partner kicks ball in air to you so you can work on catching skills.
For last three reps, partner kicks ball on ground to you. Return the kick to work on passing skills.
Toshack's Tips: Don't jump or hop through cones // Keep hands and head steady with limited upper-body movement // Have hands in ready-to-play position // Maintain control of body and feet with each rep
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock