Goalkeepers need cat-like reflexes and agility to react fast and change directions instantly. So, their training needs to be specific. For example, vertical jump, move laterally, sprint, or dive powerfully to block a shot all require explosive, fast, and powerful reactions from a standing still position.
A Goalie Needs:
- Leg speed, explosiveness, and power
- Hand-eye coordination
These attributes need to fuse and integrate into one; to produce a goalies decision-making ability that happens in less than a second.
Fundamental Movements for a Goalie
A goalkeeper’s training needs to transfer into their performance.
Sprinting and Lateral Motion
Goalies need the ability to repeat sprints and lateral motion between five and ten meters. This distance and these motions are the most common movements a goalie makes.
Goalkeepers need to have power and fast, explosive vertical jumping ability. There is a difference. Power vertical jumping is based on an explosive jump like diving to block a shot. It requires a large loaded range of motion from a squat position. In contrast and similarly, a fast-explosive vertical jump requires less range of motion for a fast-explosive reaction.
The shorter the range of motion in the squat before the jump, the faster the eccentric movement, the quicker and more explosive result. For example, hopping, skipping, jump roping.
The longer the range of motion and the faster the eccentric movement, the more powerful and higher the jump. For example, jumping as high as you can.
Vertical jump training should primarily be trained with shorter ranges of motion and minimal knee and hip bending. But don’t neglect the power either.
Diving is least performed in a soccer game than sprinting, lateral motion, hopping, and jumping. To dive fast and explosively, it will require a high amount of force to push off from the ground and propel into the air. It requires the use of power, that one repetition max jump, rather than repetitious training.
All in all, these movements require the ankles, knees, and hips to absorb force to maximize the result with a short or large range of motion. For example, a goalie needs to produce force from the squat-ready position for the muscles to absorb lots of energy to create a trampoline effect.
The trampoline effect is- the harder and faster you pounce on a trampoline, the further you will be propelled into the air. The same goes for your muscles; the faster and more force you push into the ground eccentrically, the more elastic energy is absorbed into the muscles, which produces a spring when you jump into the air, sprint, dive, or laterally move.
Now, let’s review how to develop explosive potential. But, before you do know the three phases of motion using the squat as an example.
- Eccentric Phase – is the lowering phase where muscles lengthen. (Squatting down to the floor.)
- Isometric Phase – is where the movement and muscle pause slightly before moving upward. (The mid position where the squat stops descending.)
- Concentric Phase– is the upward phase from the isometric motion when the muscle contracts. (The ascent upward motion from the mid-position to standing.)
The Stretch Shortening Cycle
I will not complicate things here, but you need to understand the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) if you want to be explosive.
Your eccentric lowering phase is where you will yield energy. And depending on how you do it, depends on how much energy you will yield. For example, the faster you move eccentrically, the more elastic energy you yield.
Your isometric phase absorbs the force from the eccentric motion. Therefore, the isometric phase needs to be taught to absorb, not dissipate, the eccentric energy. If it dissipates, energy is lost, and so is power and explosiveness.
What happens in the isometric phase, absorption or dissipation is crucial to create the trampoline effect to propel or move you concentrically.
However, there is a catch in developing all of this. Your muscles naturally dissipate force to prevent injury. So, your muscles need to train them how to absorb force. And, that is where slow eccentric strength training comes into play.
If you separate and train each motion strategically and individually, you will see a boost in your explosiveness, speed, and power.
It would be unfair to show you exercises without understanding how to generate force. Using a slow eccentric tempo of 5 seconds, with a 2-second isometric pause, you will train your muscles to develop the SSC. For the concentric motion, you can move fast.
Use your 5-rep max at 85%. This will help you significantly to develop the SSC.
If you are jumping down off a box, which is excellent to improve vertical jump power, focus on the landing and hold it for about 3 seconds before you counter-jump. This will teach your muscles how to absorb force and not dissipate it.
Slow eccentric/isometric-focused training will activate the proper mechanisms and prepare your muscles for fast eccentric motions. When doing regular resistance training without an emphasis eccentrically, you miss out on maximal force development. You only need to do this for about two-three weeks. This phase is often not done to develop maximal potential.
It is essential to strength train single legs with small and large ranges of motion focusing on the ankles, hips, and knees. And the same goes for the SSC, train single and both legs with small and large ranges of motion for explosiveness and power.
Using resistance bands, prowler sled, and med balls are a great way to improve your explosive potential in all aspects of movement.
For more information about how to develop strength, explosiveness, the SSC, and eccentric training, check out my book INSTANT STRENGTH.
To see more videos to develop strength, speed, and power, check out my channel, BALANCED BODY.