### Footwork, Fitness and Ball Handling

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on footwork, fitness and ball handling.

It’s common for keepers to integrate a speed ladder into their training. Frequently this might involve a keeper with a starting just in front of the ladder and they go through the ladder using various combinations.

Some variations include the following progression. Everything is done 4 times unless otherwise stated.

- The first part is one step in each hole running through the ladder at full speed. When they get to the end of the ladder, they sprint through the gate 10 yards from the end of the ladder and then jog back to the beginning.
- The second part is to take two steps in each hole. The first two times doing this lead with the right foot and the second two times lead with the left foot (leading with the right foot means having the right foot go in first and then the left and leading with the left foot means having the left foot going in first and then the right).
- The third part is feet together, two feet hopping in each hole.
- The fourth part is hopping right foot only all the way through (two times only).
- The fifth part is hopping left foot only all the way through (two times only).
- The sixth part is hopping with two feet up two and back one. This means hopping two forward (skipping one) and then back one. For example to start, from the start jump into the second hole and then back to the first and then forward to the third and then back to the second, etc.
- The seventh part is three step side to side. Start to the left of the first hole of the ladder. Put your right foot in the first hole then the left foot in then the right foot out to the right of the ladder. Then the left foot goes in the second hole then the right foot goes in the second hole then the left foot goes out to the left of the ladder. This continues all the way through the ladder (once you get accustomed to this pattern it becomes very easy to do).
- The eighth part is 4 step side to side. This is similar to three step side to side but now both feet leave the ladder on each side. Start to the left of the first hole of the ladder. Put your right foot in the first hole, then your left foot in the first hole then your right foot goes out to the right of the ladder then your left foot goes out of the right of the ladder. Then the left foot goes in the second hole, then your right foot goes in the second hole then the left foot goes out to the left of the ladder and then the right foot goes out to the left of the ladder. This continues to the end of the ladder.
- The ninth part is is scissors. Start on the left side of the ladder facing the ladder. Your left foot starts in the first hole and your right foot is out. Jump so that now your left foot is out of the ladder and your right foot is in the first hole. Next jump so your left foot is in the second hole and the right foot is out to the left of the ladder. Next jump so your right foot is in the second hole and the left foot is out to the left of the ladder. This continues all the way down the ladder. Next the same thing is done from the right side of the ladder but this time lead with the right foot in and the left foot out.
- The tenth part is sliding side to side. Start at the beginning of the ladder facing the side (the right foot closer to the ladder). Slide your right foot in the first hole and then your left foot in the first hole and then slide your right foot in the second hole and then your left foot in the second hole. Continue all the way down the ladder. Next do this same thing facing the other side (left foot in the first hole and then the right foot in the first hole and then the left foot in the second hole and the right foot in the second hole, etc.).

To add the goalkeeping component we could add a server at the other end so once the keeper has gone through the ladder they sprint between the two end cones (representing the goal), set and then make a save from the server.

The interesting twist is to then add a second keeper 10 yards behind where the first keeper starts.

The keeper starts by going through the ladder, sprints through the cones and makes the save from the first server

Next the keeper turns, goes back through the ladder, sprints through the next cones and makes the save.

The keeper would then switch roles with this second server. So the second server becomes the keeper and goes through the ladder and the first keeper rests while serving.

This can be done a total of 5 – 10 times each and it’s a nice workout for both keepers.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

I like to think of these things in terms of the match. Think of it this way, when in the match does a keeper do agile movements, sprint 10 yards and make a save? It just doesn’t really happen.

When I train youth keepers I worry about having the 10 yard sprint followed by a shot because they forget to come set. They are sprinting full speed through the gate and don’t make the transition to proper set position.

What I do with this is absolutely, always, have a sprint at the end of the ladder, but it’s 3 yards. It’s designed to emulate the game situation where it’s time to come for the ball in my area and . . . I’m going to be FIRST! It trains the fast twitch motor for the keepers to explode to the ball when their brain says, “GO NOW!” But, rather than having a shot every time, I will roll a ball to them on the last time through (the 4th of 4). I have them slide down on their side or scoop the rolling ball up with proper technique. To me it’s more game like that way.

I use a two cone gate to come through prior to making the save rather than a single cone – I usually use a 3-4 yard sprinting space as well. For variation use colored cones or number them. Call the cone as the keeper leaves the ladder and have him touch that cone prior to coming to balance to make the save.

One footwork pattern I’ve been incorporating more and more into our keeper agility work is the backwards icky shuffle – part 7 above, but done backwards; it forces hip rotation and a quick drop step. Throw a high ball up at the end for them to collect to reinforce the drop step.

I’ll mix in having a second keeper serve balls to the working keeper along the way – the concentration required to catch the ball while performing the footwork pattern helps the footwork become second nature.

Finally, I’ve switched from a ladder to old bicycle tubes – cheap and flexible

For ladders, I have my goalkeepers go side-on rather than running forward. At the ends, the second and third ‘keeper will serve volleys. This, to me replicates a game-like environment instead of running 5-10 yards. I feel the only time a goalkeeper would need to run that far would be in the case of a ball served in behind the defense and a clearance is necessary or wide-barrier diving save. I’m just not a big fan of forward running through ladders as opposed to side-on work with back to goal…

I think Coach Root has a great point. You want the drills to teach your players how to respond in a game situation. The more times they do it in practice the less they have to think about it during a game. They know how to get from A to Z without missing a step.