With Premier League goalkeepers on course for a record breaking 2018/19 season, FORZA Ambassador and F.C Halifax Town’s last line of defence, Shaun Rowley, talks us through his favourite drills…
The Premier League recently revealed that goalkeepers are on course to make the most penalty saves ever in a single season. With a save rate of 35.7% when the report was issued, the year’s campaign is set to overtake the 2017/18 penalty save percentage, when 21 out of the 80 spot-kicks taken were denied by the men ‘between the sticks’.
This calibre of skill doesn’t just come naturally though, goalkeepers need to train for all kinds of eventualities, from 30-yard screamers to dreaded shootouts and everything in between. With this in mind our good friend and current FORZA brand ambassador, Shaun Rowley, has given us his top five favourite drills when it comes to all things goalkeeping. If you’re looking to become the next David de Gea or Petr Čech, keep reading!
“Any drill with a backward movement before a save is important because it gets you into the routine of setting whilst keeping your weight forward to save the ball. If you don’t practice readjusting your body weight whilst going backwards, any save you do make will take the ball backwards too, ultimately allowing the ball to go in… it’s a bad habit! This drill is designed to stop you doing just that and focuses on staying forward after the initial movement.”
“Kicking is a huge part of a goalkeeper’s game. A really simple exercise is to have two players and a goalkeeper in a triangle which gradually gets larger until two players are either side of the halfway line and the keeper is at the edge of the box. This allows you to work on all types of kicks; one and two touches when the triangle is tight, and clips and drives when the distance increases. When the triangle is at its biggest you can also try side volleys and big deal ball strikes too!”
“I really like short dive drills as part of a warm up to make me feel sharp and ‘hit the deck’. All you need is one goalkeeper working, a ‘server’ and two cones set four-yards apart from each other. The server shouts a side to make the initial movement and then serves the ball for a little collapse dive either on the floor or mid-range height. It’s important to turn your head and see the ball after touching the cone and keep your hands in view to go straight to the ball.”
“This is probably my favourite drill and a lot of other keepers would agree too – it’s competitive, fun and realistic. With two goals 18-yards apart, you can go as pairs defending one goal (so two vs two) or on your own. With this drill you’re able to restrict the conditions, so you could decide it’s only going to be a set serve for one game or a one touch rebound, and you can also incorporate mannequins as obstacles to make it harder!”
“This is a good drill to practice as it’s something that happens so often in match play – you think a shot is uncomfortable and then at the last second it takes a deflection or a defender dangles a leg at it and the ball loops. For this drill a server would be at the edge of the box and you’d have mannequins, cones and any other training equipment to make the ball go ‘off-piste’. When the server kicks or throws the ball, focus on reacting and staying tall, you don’t want to go down too early and you always need to expect a deflection to happen – if it doesn’t, then focus on catching the ball cleanly and safely.”
So, there we have it, Shaun’s top drills that’ll get you making record breaking saves this season. If you want to find out more about Shaun take a look at him and our other ambassadors here.
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