As a lacrosse goalie, there are only a few rules that apply across the board. Stepping to the ball is one of those rules. No matter how fast the shot, where is is coming from, or where it is going, you always, always, always step to the ball. Foot speed is a critical aspect of being able to step to the ball in time and bring your trail foot up the the right position. These drills will help you in season and in the off season to develop quick feet and make more saves.
Every goalie needs to own a jump rope. If you don’t, buy one now. It will become your best friend and one of the greatest investments you will ever make. Mix jumping rope into your workouts, warm ups, cool downs, and during commercial breaks while you’re watching ESPN. Take it with you in the car, on vacation, and to the grandmas house.
Try to see how many you can do in a row. Try for 200. Then take a quick break and do it again. This is the fastest way to quick feet that I know of and it really worked for me. I’m a tall guy, 6’3″ and it takes a lot to get me moving. This helped.
This is a drill that every goalie should use a few times a week during the season. Find any straight line on the field and lay your stick perpendicular to the line. This will create four quadrants. We will call the upper left side 1, upper right side 2, lower left side 3, and lower right side 4. In doing these drills, you want to be facing the same direction and allowing your feet to just move around beneath you.
Start in quadrant 1 and with your feet together, jump to 2,4,3 and back into 1. Upon returning to one, reverse the order and repeat. This is just jumping in each quadrant.
After doing this for 10 reps, start in quadrant 1 and with both feet still together, jump to 2, diagonally to 3, over to 4, and diagonally to 1. Do this for 5 reps and reverse the circuit.
Agility Ladder Drills
Everyone’s favoriate piece of fitness equipment is the agility ladder. There are a ton of variations that can be used on a ladder to improve your foot speed. Start with your foot in each square and go through the ladder as fast as you can. Then transition to touching both feet inside each square. To get fancy, touch your right toe to the left side of the ladder, just outside rope, the tap both feet inside, and then touch your right foot to the right side of the ladder square just outside the square. Proceed to the middle of the next square by tapping with each foot and then touching the outside left of the ladder. Repeat.
Stretch a Lot
Staying loose and limber is pretty important for a goalie. After all, you have to be ready to spring and save a shot in .19 seconds. A good way to increase flexibility and in turn foot speed is to take the appropriate amount of time at the beginning and end of practice to stretch out.
I recommend a warm-up lap and dynamic stretch to start. Consider including high knees, butt kickers, straight leg kicks, hip rotators to the inside and outside, and calfs. Then after practice, take time to cool down with a static stretch.
This drill is similar to high knees dynamic stretching, but with the floor on fire. The idea is to minimize the amount of time that your foot and the ground are in contact. Bring you feet up and down as quickly as possible. Bring your feet high enough off the ground to reach the high knee position. Ten repetitions makes a set.