May 15, 2023 4 min read
Guest Author, Jack Bowen gives his expertise on how to prepare for the summer tournaments.
As the Summer Season kicks off, I want to reflect on 3 areas of importance for goalies at this particular time of the year. With Junior Olympics just two months away, along with the start of the high school season soon thereafter, now is the time to prepare so we’re ready to perform at our peak both as goalkeepers and as a team.
PRECONDITION YOUR LEGS
Before ramping up the intensity of full leg conditioning and daily water polo training and games, it’s important to “pre-condition” your legs. This allows us to protect our hips, muscles, and knee ligaments while strengthening our eggbeater. That pre-conditioning focus should include:
ASSERT YOURSELF AS THE DEFENSIVE CAPTAIN EARLY IN THE SEASON
Now is the time to set the tone for your team and your place on the team as the defensive leader. A few things to think about here: 1. Your job is not to point out mistakes of teammates but to facilitate a true team approach to defense. Before you point out a defender’s mistake, try to first highlight when a goal scores that was your responsibility and let them know it. 2. Make your communication clear and consistent. Try to avoid monotonous barking, such as the goalie who constantly calls out the placement of the ball regardless of whether any action needs to be taken. 3. Develop a consistent vocabulary so your teammates get used to understanding exactly what you want. In addition, it can help to personalize it by using a teammate’s name, i.e. “Jim, drop!” Then, communicate in practice the exact way you will communicate in games. 4. Develop an “alarm” sound for when the ball turns over while on defense. Your teammates should come to rely on that and immediately instigate the counter attack, garnering an advantage over their defender, creating a much more efficient counter-attack.
PROTECT YOUR SKIN STARTING TODAY
At a recent Goalie Combine, I began the session with a quick “public service announcement” about sunscreen. I was essentially channeling my own mother as I was growing up and I’m thankful she was diligent about sunscreen with me now that I continue to have such youthful, damage-free skin! With summer kicking off this week, we’re going to be in the sun a lot. Don’t start the summer with a sunburn because then it only gets worse as the weeks go on. A few notes about sunscreen:
I hope these items are helpful as you begin a new season of goalkeeping. I look forward to seeing so many of you in the goal over the summer. Remember, every day, become just a little bit more explosive: Be Quick, Like a Cat.
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