“Have a player positioned on either wing delivering alternate crosses into the box for you to catch. Then have another player moving around the pitch for you to distribute the ball to – they could be two yards away so you can roll it to them, or they could be on the right wing for you to kick or throw it to. Focus on catching the ball and landing before thinking about releasing the ball. When you catch the ball you don’t want to know where the player is, so you have to react to their movement as you would in a match situation.”
More after the break
“Stand on your line, facing the goal, with your back to the rest of the pitch. Have a player standing on the edge of the 18-yard-box. It’s important you don’t know exactly where they are. On the coach’s command you spin around to face the play as the outfield player strikes the ball at goal. You have to adjust to where they are and react quickly to their shot. This drill will also work on your footwork, which often gets overlooked. I can’t stress how important footwork is: your hands make the saves, but it’s the steps that get you into the right position.”
“Stand on your line and position another player eight yards in front of you. Have them strike quickfire volleys at you. The volleys should aim for the bottom of your rib cage and just above your head, and everywhere in between. You want the player to be striking the balls from as close to you as possible so you have to react quickly. Have the striker mix the volleys up, so you have to move your hands around your body and catch the ball in different positions.”
“Start on your line with your hands behind your back, facing a player with a ball.
You can vary the distance between yourself and the shooter. When they take a shot at goal, you have to make the save, but you can’t bring your hands out from behind your back until the ball is struck. All these drills are very important, because when the commentator says ‘That was an incredible reaction save’, it’s thanks to all these drills.”