As your team’s goalkeeper, you need to have your workout plan tweaked just a bit differently to those of your field-player teammates. They need to be able to trot, jog and sprint for five to seven miles per game. You need to be able to explode at any given moment to block the ball -- and have the strength to bat it away as it threatens to arc into the goal. Like Hope Solo, U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper, you need specific drills to hone yourself into being the best line of defense for your team.
Preseason, over the summer, is when you need to get into gear on your workout plan. Ease yourself into a workout schedule so you don’t get injured, advises coach Tim Mulqueen in “The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper.” He recommends 45 to 60 minutes in the weight room two days a week, say on Mondays and Thursdays, with an additional 45 to 60 minutes of agility and conditioning work on Tuesdays and Fridays, and rest on other days. In season, you can maintain this schedule but switch to higher weights and lower reps on weight-room days.
All kinds of strength work can pay dividends to make you the strongest keeper in your league. Mulqueen advocates the Bulgarian squat, dumbbell Romanian deadlift and single-leg curls on an exercise ball for the lower body, as well as the dumbbell bench press on an exercise ball, rotational pullup and dumbbell triceps pullover for the upper body. Solo works out as well with the single-arm dumbbell snatch, of obvious value for parrying the ball away from the goalmouth.
You also need to be able to get quickly up, over and across the goalmouth, and that is where plyometrics work to improve your explosiveness comes in. Two central exercises that work well include jumping rope and hopping over mini-hurdles, Mulqueen notes. Plyometrics can be combined with skills drills, where you quick-step over mini-hurdles in front of the goal and then save a ball kicked by a workout buddy. Solo performs an indoor drill as well called the depth jump with ball, where she jumps off a plyometrics box and immediately leaps up to catch a thrown ball from an exercise partner.
Agility and Conditioning Work
The agility ladder works well for goalkeepers as well as field players to promote agility, with fast footwork being the name of the game as you step through each square. You can also run laterally through the ladder or to and from cones. Also try forward and backward shuffles and sprints through staggered cones.
An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.