Reaction Save Exercise

By Patrick Kasperitis -

Whenever a goalkeeper is making a save there are equal parts anticipation as reaction. Sometimes though the reaction side becomes the most pivotal of these two. Reaction saves are about concentration, body quickness, and at times creativity. Here we have two exercises. One that is a warm-up involving shuffling/jumping and working to improve the quickness of the hand movements. The second exercise deals with the possibility of deflections.

The Warm-up is set up as illustrated below.
- Server 5 meters away
- one hurdle in front of goalkeeper

Goalkeeper will perform footwork and then will receive ball. Goalkeeper does not know when the ball will be served. The Server has complete control over when the ball is played. They can do it after on repetition of the footwork or after 10! (Should probably vary it up but go no more than 3-5 repetitions without serving a ball, do not be predictable).

Reaction Save Ex Warm-up (1)

Goalkeeper will first perform footwork by shuffling around the hurdle and coming in front. The focus is on keeping a good forward body shape with hands at their hips like a gunslinger from the wild west. For first set will only work the shuffle movement to the right, after each one will reset behind hurdle. Then second set will be on the left. Ball can either be volleyed or tossed if tossed, you want to make the distance of the server shorter. Maybe 2 meters.

Reaction Save Ex Warm-up (2)

The second footwork is more physical in nature as it involves jumping. First set will be two legged hops, second set will be alternating one legged hops.

Reaction Save Ex Warm-up (3)

This exercise progresses into a fun exercise that allows the goalkeepers to get creative with their shot stopping.

  • The exercise is set up as below with mannequins, soccer balls, and cones as traffic or things that will cause deflections.
  • The focus is on the goalkeeper focusing on only the ball and if a deflection happens can they use their body, feet, hands, or anything that can maybe keep the ball out
  • The focus is on making the easy saves and seeing what kind of saves they can make on tough plays
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Reaction Saves Exercise

Shooter will play pass into partner, partner will lay off for the shot. Shooters will alternate to mix things up.

Progression, to add a level of unpredictability, after the first pass the person can turn and shoot instead of laying off.

By Patrick Kasperitis - Graduate Assitant Women's Soccer Coach - St Mary's University, SA United Junior Program Goalkeeping Director, South Texas ODP Staff


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