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More Explosive Quicker Reactions with A Wider Ready Position
Goalkeeper Training Topics: Ready Position, Handling, Low Diving, Shot Stopping
We often overlook the importance of a goalkeepers starting ready position drills and all aspects of technical goalkeeper training. Most goals are scored inside the penalty area. There is less time to react based on the speed and location of shots. A wider ready stance beyond shoulder width loads the body for a quick reaction. The wider stance allows for a quick step, in many cases an inside step, to make a quicker more explosive movement in the direction of the shot. A wider ready position is quicker and more powerful than a starting position at or inside shoulder width.
Characteristics Of The Wider Ready Position:
Feet – Beyond shoulder width. This should feel like an athletic explosive position. Not wide to the point the goalkeeper can’t move laterally. The Foot positioning is as if the goalkeeper was lifting weights or doing squats. Very powerful explosive position.
Ready – Set, Ready, Starting position. Call it what you like but there should be no movement prior to the shot unless you are blocking or winning the shot. Be READY and balanced prior to shot.
Neutral and Balanced - The goalkeepers’ body is neutral. Not too high or low. Bent from the knees and back to react with both feet, body, and hands.
Hand Position – Bent elbows. Arms hanging from shoulders. Hands are in front of the body in a natural position. Not as if you are holding a baby in front but just enough to see the hands if the goalkeeper is looking forward. This establishes better hand eye coordination. Encourages stronger hands and touches on the ball with the hands in front of the body. A goalkeeper may prefer to have hands wider than the body to create a bigger barrier for redirected shots or headers off of crosses or breakaways.
Why: Reaction Time and Power
Goalkeepers need to evolve with the proximity of shots to goal and diminishing time to react. Shots from distance allow goalkeepers to utilize more footwork since the ball is traveling farther. More and more scoring chances are being created 14 yards and in off of through balls, cut backs, or low driven crosses to targets. It is important to minimize the goalkeepers’ movement and shorten the reaction time. Efficiency is key. A wider ready position encourages a quicker shorter step to load the muscles for diving and reaction saves. For many professional goalkeepers, the step for diving is inside rather than outside for a quick explosive movement. A wider balanced and loaded starting position enables the body to react the quickest with the most power within a shorter reaction time.
Excessive movement! We see professional goalkeepers hoping into a set position or hopscotching from narrow to wide. With years of training, guidance from goalkeeper coaches, and physical attributes this may be possible. Hoping into a ready position for a developing goalkeeper can be problematic due to timing and weight distribution. Movement such as hop scotching can ground the goalkeepers’ weight down and back. Also may cause unintended unbalancing. Even professional goalkeepers have trouble with the timing of a hop and hopscotch which finds them still moving during the shot. Less is more with movement. Stay active but the movement into a ready position should be short and sharp.
Training the ready position is done every goalkeeper session. The result of a comfortable ready position that allows a goalkeeper to react efficiently with power no matter the type of shot. Tell us what you think. Feel free to forward and share the keeperstop.com training articles.