Olympic Blog 2 – Preparation
Whether it be chicken nuggets for Usain Bolt or a steady 20km row in the morning for the rowing boys in Switzerland, everybody prepares differently, and as a goalkeeper, it is no different.
I always like to start off my goalkeeping sessions with some crisp volleys into my hands. It’s a good way to wake up the hands and body, particularly if you miss one and it hits you in the face.
Gradually I’ll begin to introduce some basic footwork into the drills now and begin to vary the service from volleys at the face, to volleys at the stomach and on the ground.
Footwork is an extremely important aspect of goalkeeping because your feet are what enable you to make the save. We practice these small – mostly lateral – movements in the hope that it becomes instinctive in a game.
The final stages of the warm-up include continuing footwork but working into a collapse dive, ensuring our body weight is forward so any parry’s can be steered away from goal.
These are essentially the fundamentals of goalkeeping and are repeated every session. Although it seems insignificant, personally, this part of the session is the most important.
The session will then move into more advanced drills of situations we may encounter during a game. Lots of shot stopping, reaction saves, one on ones, crossing, distribution, are all done to ensure we are prepared for anything that may come our way during 90 minutes.
Preparation off the field is equally important. The correct diet, hydrating, stretching all factor in and help you stay injury free and recover quicker.
Little things like wearing my long skins and stretching on the 12-hour flight to Japan so my legs don’t swell up are additional ways that I look to prepare before our game against Japan on the 11th.
My bags are packed and passport in hand as I say see ya later New Zealand and Konnichiwa Japan, en route to London 2012… prepared for a trip of a lifetime.
Blog Note: Michael O’Keeffe is a senior with the Stags men’s soccer team. He was recently selected to represent his home country, New Zealand, in the 2012 London Olympics. Read about that here. He will be providing Stag Tracks with a blog about his experience throughout the next month leading up to, and through the Olympic Games.