The position of the goalie is one of the most vital positions on a soccer team, so learning the proper agility drills is of the utmost importance. The goalie drills that will prove to be the most effective are those that strengthen the key aspects of guarding the net, that is, footwork, handwork and stopping short. Here are some drills that increase agility in all of these areas.
Four Square Drills
Four square drills are some of the most versatile and useful drills because you can rotate through a few different drills that all use the boundaries of the four squares to improve agility and footwork. This type of drill will increase your ability to make quick direction changes successfully. To begin, you’ll want to create a four square grid with either chalk, paint or tape depending on the surface you’re training on. To do this, first create a large 36x36 inch square. Next divide the large square into four 18x18 inch quadrants.
For the first move you’ll be working on moving your feet together. Start with both feet in the lower left hand box (box one) then jump into boxes two, three and four with both feet. Jump diagonally back into box one and continue the drill. The second drill will be very similar to the first drill but instead of using both feet you just hop on the left foot and then alternate to the right foot when you move back to box one from the fourth box. Finally, one of the best drills involves the action of you moving both feet back and forth while alternating sides. To do this, place your left foot in box one and your right foot in box two. Move your left foot up to box three then move your right foot up to box four. Next bring your let foot back to box one and your right foot back to box two. Keep alternating in this pattern.
In addition to fast footwork, goalies need to have impeccable hand-eye coordination in order to successfully catch and deflect soccer balls. One of the best ways to do this is to utilize the rest of the team and have them form a semi-circle about five yards away from the goal. Each player should have a ball and attempt to get it past the goalie one at a time. The goalie should then alternate between defending by catching it with the left hand, the right hand and both hands. This drill should be taken seriously and the players should earnestly try and get the ball past the goalie.
Altering the manner in which you catch the balls isn’t the only thing you can do to improve your agility when it comes to catching. You also want to make sure that you are comfortable defending every part of the goal including the area above your head and below your knees, areas that are often a little awkward to defend. While you’re working on catching, make sure that you do some low and high catching as well as catching in all corners of the goal.