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How do I improve my lateral first step quickness as a keeper?

Lateral first step quickness is a must for any goal keeper, but there are other things you can do to help supplement your lateral quickness that will enhance your ability to block shots on goal.  As a keeper, your ability to be quick comes down to reaction accuracy and time.  Before stepping on the training suface,  watch film on your opponent.  Learning about your upcoming opponent's tendencies and strategies can give you insight on where players like to put their shots on goal.  Over time, this can help you anticipate when and where a player is about to shoot.  This will allow you to maximize the effectiveness of your lateral quickness. Film work alone is one step in the process; the other is training your first step lateral quickness.  A great drill to add to your performance training program is the tennis ball reaction drill.  To perform this, have a partner throw a tennis ball to either side of your body.  The goal is to stop the ball by positioning your body to block it.  You should focus on maintaining your balance, leading with your upper body, and staying calm.  There are some techniques that can help you meet these goals.   First, drop your center of gravity, which will allow you to quickly shift your weight from one foot to the other.  Second, move your upper body before your legs.  Work on throwing yourself laterally rather then reaching with a leg. Third, work on your ability to stay calm.  If you feel yourself getting tense, take a few breaths and shake out your arms and legs. Excess tension will actually increase your reaction time.  Overtime you will be able to train yourself to stay calm and keep your muscles relaxed before the moment of reacting.  Also, be sure to include actual player's shooting on you, so you can begin to see how the ball responds during a shot.
A great tool for developing lateral quickness is found within the OPT training model but to simplify, train with a speed ladder and perform side stepping drills within a protocol that also includes reactive training and plyometrics. The more you train laterally the quicker you will become laterally.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.