Category Archives: Fitness

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30 Day Goalkeeper Fitness Challenge

I pointed out to my goalkeepers last night that we have six weeks until the start of the season. Six weeks to get in fighting shape. I will be providing the goalkeeping knowledge and repetitions needed, but much of the fitness work needs to be done in their time. 

I like targets and the Stides app helps me in accomplishing them. Here are some of my favorite 30 day challenges that will get goalkeepers ready for the season ahead in slow increments.

See this article on core fitness

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Core exercises to start the new year!

Taken from ex-pupil, Tim Pitman, who now has his own Personal Training business.

It doesn’t have to be hours of hard work over Christmas. Keep it short and sweet but get it done! It’s only 20 minutes of your life!

Choose eight of the twelve different core exercises above and smash out a quick core circuit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Set 1 – 20 seconds work (20 second rest)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Set 2 – 20 seconds work (20 second plank)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Set 3 – 20 seconds work (20 seconds mountain climbers) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Eat clean, complete this twice a week and watch the fat fly off your stomach!

Tim Pitman core


Here is Tim’s first video which provides a great ab work out and also shows many of the above exercises in action.

For any questions or enquires regarding Tim Pitman Personal Training and more information on his online personal training please contact him at

Check out the related article on keeping track of goals and habits here.

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Importance of rest title

The importance of rest during downtime in soccer

Albeit at different times of the year, every goalkeeper will face a period of downtime. These typically are at the end of June and to a lesser extent during a winter break, whenever that may be.
Here are six advantages of rest taken from the fitbit blog site;


It’s common sense that resting is beneficial for injury reduction, but why? Well for starters, rest days prevent overuse. That extends from running to lifting and even walking. If you’re a regular runner, you know how much your legs and feet can take until you just need a day off. If you push it too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and that’s where injuries can happen.


This is likely the first thing you learned about strength training. When you lift weights, you’re essentially tearing muscle fibers. But without a proper period of rest for your immune system to repair and grow the muscle, you’re not going to get the benefit of your training. That’s why you need to vary the muscle groups you engage on staggered days.


In general, it takes your body almost two weeks of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level. So don’t think that taking a day or two off from training will set you back all that hard work you’ve put in.


Is your sleep data all over the place? Over-training could be the culprit. Too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of restlessness or on high alert making a good night’s sleep tough to achieve. A telltale sign is an increase in your resting heart rate. Taking those rest day can help bring down your alertness and heart rate, which can help get you a night of sound sleep.


During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs. And then? You guessed it: injuries.


From a psychological standpoint, taking a rest period can rekindle your hunger for exercise and help prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be every bit as detrimental as physical fatigue and taking a rest day helps to recharge the psyche.

So what can you do to get your mind set on rest? For starters, you’re going to have to make the mental adjustment to understanding and believing that you can take days off. It’s good for you, for all the reasons listed above.

Just like setting your daily steps goals, set your rest goals. Plot out a schedule and pick your weekly rest days; one or two days where you limit your activity to allow your body/muscles to recover. Use your tracker to limit your active minutes. If you’re a huge step-count achiever, give yourself a day where you limit even your walking to a weekly minimum. And don’t forget that active recovery is also hugely beneficial, and a standard routine of stretching or light yoga to improve flexibility and circulation can be especially valuable.


All the above provide benefits of physical rest. This does not mean that you have to stop all development in your goalkeeping. Here is a list of things you can be doing to aid your performance without exerting yourself physically.

  • Watch games on TV to pick up trends on what professionals are doing
  • Embark on a good stretching routine
  • Plan your pre-season
  • Read a goalkeeping book such as a biography
  • Take a GKHQ Online course to brush up on your goalkeeping knowledge
  • Check your equipment and review what is needed before the start of the next season
  • Embark on some self-evaluation, by reviewing your match analysis or by using the GKHQ Video analysis service.
  • Join the GKHQ membership group to get all the latest videos & education in 12+ different themes, from Technical education to Parent “How To” guides.
  • Check off and revise your short term and long term goals
  • Research and apply for appropriate camps that will help you achieve your goals.


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Keeping track of goals and habits title

Keeping track of goals and habits

I find that by keeping track of goals and habits to achieve throughout the year, you are less likely to fail and then give up. An example would be; 

“Run 100 miles by April 18th” ( 100 days from January 1st ), Rather than “Run a mile a day”. This way, if you miss a day you can look to make it up over time until April 18th.

What to keep track of.

I feel it is important to set goals that are measurable. The things we measure are the things we improve. It is only through measurement that we have any proof of whether we are getting better or worse.

With this in mind, you should try to be as specific as possible. For example – “This year, I want to improve my kicking distribution” may seem quite specific as kicking distribution is just one part of the distribution theme of goalkeeping. You need to be more specific than that. 

There is the following;

  • Short distance, wide, left & right
  • Playing through oncoming players to a central position ( Normally a defensive CM ) 
  • Playing into wide midfielders
  • Playing onto forwards
  • Playing beyond the forwards and the back line

Each element of this kicking distribution needs a test or a marker of success, like hitting a certain area. You then need to get your base level. ( your first attempt ) As a result, you can look to improve your score to achieve your goal.

In the Goalkeeper HQ membership, I look to break down every core competency of goalkeeping ( 102 of them ), with explanations on what they are, education so you can improve, and tests to track your progress. There is also my list of expectations for each age group. [Get the Goalkeeper HQ membership here]

How do you keep track of goals and habits?

There can be a whole article on both “Goal setting” and “Deliberate practice” but really, this article was to tell you that I have been using an app on my phone that has helped me keep track of the things I am trying to achieve. I have no affiliation with the developer and receive no benefit, I just wanted to share as it has been working for me.

The app is called “Strides”   and is described as a goals and habits tracker.Strides screenshot

Here are some examples of what I’m tracking:

Other examples that active Goalkeepers may use could be;

  • Number of goals conceded in the season
  • Mile speed
  • Number of missed practices
  • Money saved for new gloves

Let me know if you use it and what goals and habits you choose. []



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One month before the season starts – Where should I be with my fitness?

This is what you should be working on with 4 weeks left before the season starts.

Obviously, warm up and stretch before partaking in these exercises.

Expectations of U13 

Monday – 1.5 Mile Run (under 11 minutes), Push ups and Sit ups (3 set of 15 each)

Tuesday  – Sprints – 3 Sets of 10 of 80’s  ( one set in AM, one set in afternoon, one set in evening)

Wednesday – Cross Training (bike, swim, hike, etc.), Push ups and Sit ups (3 set of 15 each)

Thursday –  2.0 Mile Run (under 15 minutes)

Friday – Off


Expectations of High School players

Aerobic Training – 6 minute warm up, 3 x 6 mins of the following….. sprint for 2 lamp posts, jog for 30 seconds.

Anaerobic Training – 8 minute warm up of dynamic stretching, then complete the following…

  • 8 x 30yd sprints ( rest 30 secs between reps & 2 mins after set is complete)
  • 6 x 40yd sprints ( rest 30 secs between reps & 2 mins after set is complete)
  • 3 x 90 second sprints around the soccer field with 90 secs rest between each lap.

Speed / Power – 10 minute warm up/ Dynamic stretching

10 Tuck Jumps, 10 x Jump running ( like slow motion but get height & distance – each 2 steps is one rep ) , 10 push ups, followed by 9 and so on to 1 ( 30 second rest in between ), Burpees as per push ups.



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30 Day Plank Challenge

I have seen a number of these Plank Challenges posted on social media lately.

The plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core because it builds isometric strength to help sculpt your waistline and improve your posture. For goalkeeping, it helps us for balance, strength to withstand hard shots and enables us to get up quickly.

Here is the one I am working on.

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Foam roller exercises

I’ve been preaching the benefits of foam rolling for a couple of years now, but what actually does it do?

Men’s Health describes it as follows;

Think of it as ironing out the wrinkles in your rumpled musculature. Joe Hashey, C.S.C.S., owner of Synergy Athletics, explains: “Foam rolling smooths and lengthens your muscles, and breaks up adhesions and scar tissue.” Another benefit is that it helps your muscles relax by activating the sensory receptors connecting your muscle fibers to your tendons. The net effect is better blood circulation, which in turn speeds workout recovery and boosts performance.

A.  Exercise induces microtears and swelling in muscle fibers, which impinge on nerves and vessels. Over time, this can develop into adhesions and scar tissue.

B.  Foam rolling helps smooth out these obstructions and break down adhesions, helping to increase blood-flow within the muscle.

Purchase a foam roller here

Here are exercises:

Calfs ( 3 exercises ) 






IT Band


Gluteus medius

Purchase a foam roller here

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80/20 guide to starting the season… A way to fake your way to excellence at the start of the season.

Don’t get me wrong…. hard work gets you where you need to be.

With the winter we have just had, and indoor field time at a premium, you can be excused for not having the best preparation for the season ahead. With, for most, just a few weeks until the start of the season, please see my guide on what 20% of the work should get you 80% of the results needed to start the season off well.


1) Your body should have muscle memory….. Before the season starts, get yourself into three intense goalkeeping sessions to; 

a) Get used to saving in and around the body ( eliminating obvious mistakes )

b) Get used to the ball coming at you at pace.

c) Get used to serving / kicking the ball.

2) Practice diving technique in a small area. Concentrate on;

a) Lead foot pointing forward

b) Hands leading

c) Bodyweight forward

Soft landings are important…….. start on your knees to begin with

3) Practice saving a ball at the earliest point when the ball is in the air. In a small area. Focus on;

a) Taking off with one foot getting as much lift as possible. Try a variety of landing on the same foot and landing on both feet.

b) Ensuring the ball is in front of your eye line

c) You use this exercise to help with fitness…… maybe adding a push up or mini shuffle in between each catch.


1) Study at least one professional game. Both the Premier League and MLS games are on at the moment giving a feast of soccer on T.V. Even better, get to a game live.

Observe the following;

a) The starting position of the goalkeeper when the ball is in the other half

b) The starting position of the goalkeeper when the ball is being crossed

c) Communication with the team on set pieces and after a save or block by a defender is made.

2) Know what to say & when

a) See the chart when the opposition have the ball at their feet

b) See the article on what to say when the ball is behind the defense or in the air

3) Know how to set up when the opposition has a free kick. – See this article on dealing with free kicks.

One of the best tactical ways of learning is to see yourself play in a game and get professional advice. Goalkeeper HQ offers Video Match Analysis to help with tactical evaluations. 

[Learn more about Video Match Analysis]


It’s not too late to get in shape for goalkeeping prior to the start of the season. Each of the following should be done 3 X every day. (Morning, after school & before bed) 

a i ) Double your age push-ups. 1 set normal, 1 set wide, 1 set with dips

a ii) Double your age sit-ups, plank normal, plank left side, plank right side

a iii) Double your age lunges with a twist.

b) Ladders for quick feet. (You can use chalk, cones or rope to make a ladder ) 3 x 1 in each, 3 x 2 in each & 3 x icky shuffle. Add more variety once you are comfortable. The focus must be on quick feet so keep it simple.

c) Hamstring stretches. 30 secs hands level with knee, 30 secs hands level with ankle, 30 secs hold on to foot.Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.31.12 PM



1) You should have new gloves prepared for the season. You can get great deals on L1 Goalkeeper Gloves. 

2) Know your defenders. At the next practice, make a point of talking to them.

3) Ensure you have all the equipment you need to give you the confidence needed for the first game. See my guide to equipment

4) Know your warm-up routine if a) you have a fellow goalkeeper to warm up with you b) No other goalkeeper to warm up with you.

5) Have some motivational videos to get you up for games.


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Want to be healthy? Make sure you know your fruit portions.

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We know we should be having our fruits and vegetables as part of a good diet. I read that you should be having five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. What constitutes a portion? Here are some images to help.

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What happens to your body an hour after you drink coke?

Have you ever wondered what happens to your body after you drink a can of your favourite fizzy drink?

A new infographic has revealed the reaction you go through for an hour after consuming, from the first sip, right through to 60 minutes after finishing.

The graphic was compiled by The Renegade Pharmacist, a blog run by former UK pharmacist Niraj Naik and includes a seven-stop breakdown.

In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100 per cent of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavour allowing you to keep it down.

20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment). 

40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.

45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centres of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

>60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism.

This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.

>60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.)

It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.

>60 minutesAs the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash.

You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, urinated the water that was in the Coke.

But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.


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