One of the most important aspects of goal keeping is using your reflexes. Many great match winning saves are made simply using your reflexes. There are many different ways that you can improve on your reflexes which are included below.
Tennis balls are a great way to get quicker reflexes. If you get someone to hit a bucket of balls at you with little time in-between each ball this will make your reaction time shorter. Tennis balls serve two purposes: firstly, if hit with a tennis racquet they fly faster than most hit balls; and secondly, if you get hit they don't hurt as much. (You may like to note that you can also do this with only your upper-body protection on.)
Lining up hockey balls and having them fired rapidly at you can work just as good as anything else. If you have sets of 10-12 balls this is usually enough to get the repetition that is required for improvement. Start with the balls around the 10 yard mark (flicking them) then gradually move them closer to the player.
Turn and Save
Start with your back to the ball (hitter) when he/she says "turn", turn around and save the ball. They are to hit/push/flick/throw the ball as they say turn. Make sure that you turn different ways to get a balance of movement.
Hitting to Boards
If you can get some big wooden boards all you have to do is get someone to hit the ball to the board on an angle, making sure that the ball goes towards the net ensuring the keeper has to make a save. By doing this you are changing the angle that the ball is travelling thus once again improving your reaction time.
Although I haven't done much of this you can use a golf ball by throwing it up against a wall and trying to catch it. This can be done by directly throwing the ball to the wall or doing a bounce throw. (Make sure there aren't any windows that you can break!)
Don't forget to vary what you are doing with your reflex work. Many saves that need to be made during a game are on angles so don't forget to vary the angle that you are making the save on.
High and Low
When the balls are hit or flicked at you, remember to make sure that you are being made to save a variety of balls including high, low, wide and straight at you.
It is important to remember that you can be as creative as you like with all of your training. If you think it through and it is safe then give it a go and see if it works for you.
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