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It's not uncommon to hear that goalkeepers don't need the physical fitness of field players.  It is true that a goalkeeper will not run five miles in a game like a midfielder, but strength, agility, and conditioning is every bit as important for a goalkeeper.

Strength, endurance, agility and speed training is not something you do once or twice a week.  Properly developing your body and preparing to perform at your highest level is a constant process and a way of life.  Training sessions are designed to also incorporate physical development along with technical and tactical development, but with the limited time available each week for practice, dedicating significant time to physical development frequently isn't realistic.

What this means is the physical development of each player needs to also occur outside of organized practices.


For 6-10 year olds, endurance is developed through natural play.  While children at this age do not need dedicated endurance training, ensuring they remain active is essential.  Every hour they spend playing soccer, riding a bike or running around with friends is helping to develop their endurance.

For players aged 11-15 they can begin focusing time towards endurance training.  For goalkeepers, endurance training should be focused on long duration endurance.  Short duration endurance (1-2 minutes) and medium duration endurance (2-8 minutes) are extremely useful for field players, but do not reflect the goalkeepers role in a game.  300-800m runs, or running for 1-10 minutes will not provide the goalkeeper with the endurance they need.  Jogging for 20 minutes is much better for developing the goalkeepers long duration endurance.  Rather than trying to extend the amount of time the keeper runs for endurance training, focus on the distance covered during those 20 minutes and focus on increasing the distance covered each time.

Once a player reaches the age of 16, they are typically ready to engage in physical development programs designed for adults.  Circuit training that incorporates jumping, fast footwork, ladder or ring work and steppers for periods of 15-20 minutes are a great way to build strength and coordination, but also develop endurance.  At age 16, players should be able to perform two to three 15-20 minute circuit sets with five minute recovery period in between sets.

Again, for 6-10 year olds, strength training should be simply part of their normal play.  Keeping them active is an important part of helping their muscles develop.

11-14 year olds should avoid traditional strength building using weights, but can begin focusing on developing their core, upper body strength and abdominal muscles. 

By age 15, players should be ready for a traditional strengthening program with weights.

When we talk about speed, most people think of how long it takes to get from point A to point B.  However, when we talk about speed, we are looking for how fast the keepers muscles get them moving, and then how fast they move. 

This is one area that fits perfectly into the goalkeeper training environment.  In training sessions we have goalkeepers perform a high number of repetitions of the movements they are required to perform in competition. Working on their footwork, hands, dives and more increased the speed in which they are able to perform these manuevers.

This is one of the most important and frequently overlooked physical development areas.  While coordination is developed to some extent organically during training, additional dedicated focus on coordination will produce results.

Work with ladders, rings, hurdles and other similar exercises will help the keeper develop their coordination.  Coordination exercises can be performed at any age.


Warner/ASG - est. 1989
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