Keep your Keeper Sharp
The largest trap that most goalkeepers fall into during field hockey practice is to be merely used as target practice by the others on the team. In order to fully develop your goalkeeper’s skills, try implementing some of these drills for field hockey goalkeepers at your next practice. A good goalkeeper is essential to winning field hockey games and these drills will keep your keeper’s reaction times down.
2-on-1 Shot Blocking
The first of the drills for field hockey goalkeepers is a simple shot-stopping drill. To set up this drill, spread as many balls as desired around the circle edge. For this drill, one or two players make their way around the circle shooting the balls one at a time at the keeper. The goalkeeper’s job is to save as many ball as possible. To up the competitive spirit of the drill try keeping score, where the shooters earn a point for every shot that makes it past the goalkeeper, and the goalkeeper earns a point for every shot they block.
To keep things fresh and interesting during this drill, make sure the shooters employ a variety of shots including but not limited to slapshots, wrist flicks, and pushes. Another great way to keep the goalkeeper on their toes is to allow the players to pass the ball between them a few times before taking a shot, which forces the goalkeeper to pay attention to the action.
When teaching drills for field hockey goalkeepers it is important to integrate a variety of drills that teach players how to make different types of saves, all of which are necessary during game play. One of the most important skills that any goalkeeper must learn is how to make a dive save.
To set up, place six balls in a line slightly off center anywhere from 8 to 15 yards from the top of the circle. Have one player assume the role of the shooter, who stands at the line of balls. The aim of the goalkeeper during this particular drill is to move sideways across the goal to save as many shots as possible. At the start of the drill, the goalkeeper should be standing in their ready position with knees bent, head up and shoulder relaxed next to the left post.
To begin the drill, the goalkeeper shuttles sideways across the goal and taps the right post with their stick, the signal for the shooter to commence the drill. The shooter is to fire one of the balls towards the lower left hand corner of the net. As soon as the shot has been made, the goalkeeper is to shuttle sideways towards the left post and dive to make the save. Make sure to dive through the path of the ball in order to block the shot from going in.
Continue in this manner until all 6 balls have been shot, then allow your goalkeeper a short rest while the drill is set up again. The second time around the direction is reverse so the shooter will be taking shots at the lower right hand corner.
Make sure to emphasize that the goalkeeper keeps their head pointing towards the ball with their eye constantly following it after they’ve touched the post and given the signal. To up their chances of successfully blocking the shot, encourage the goalkeeper to save using both gloves.
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