How our goalkeepers train at home
Sat 02 May 2020, 14:22|Tottenham Hotspur
All footballers have had to adapt to a home-based training regime during these trying times – but how do goalkeepers, in their specialised position, maintain their sharpness within the confines of their own four walls?
For our first team goalkeeping department, led by goalkeeper coach Nuno Santos, staying on top of physical fitness has been the primary objective over the last few weeks, combined with an element of reaction work, in order to give them a solid base on which to build when they eventually return to full training.
That theme has continued at Hotspur Way this week with the Club making a limited number of pitches available for members of the squad to use for individual running sessions on a strict rotational basis, with social-distancing remaining in place. Hugo Lloris was one of a restricted number of players to report to the Training Centre under these conditions on Tuesday, with our French international captain subsequently explaining how he’s been keeping himself in shape at home since the government’s lockdown measures came into force in March.
“I’ve done the collective sessions online with the team,” he said, referring to the squad’s daily routine of training individually at home while connecting with everyone else via internet video conferences. “I’ve been focussed on my fitness, on my legs, my upper body and trying to stay fit.
“I’ve also worked a bit on cardio with some individual running and bike sessions within the social distancing rules. In terms of goalkeeping sessions, I’m looking forward to coming back to the training ground to work with Nuno when we are permitted to. Like the Club announced, I started at the training ground on Tuesday, running individually while respecting the distance and the rules of self-isolation, so it’s a little step forward for me and I look forward to more as soon as possible. Obviously the health situation is the most important thing so we have to respect the rules.”
For Paulo Gazzaniga, who, with 25 appearances, has actually played more games than Hugo this season following the skipper’s injury lay-off between October and January, there’s been an opportunity to enlist the help of his girlfriend Patricia as an extra pair of hands as he works on his own training routine indoors and in his garden.
“It’s nice to train together with the team, even online,” he said. “We do that every day but that is more for physical conditioning, to keep us fit during this period.
“I’m also doing goalkeeper training by myself at home. I’m looking at reactions, saves and strength with some exercises, like shooting a football to the wall and then saving the rebound. Also, I’ve been teaching Patricia to help me to work on some goalkeeper exercises. Obviously it’s not the same as working in detail with our coaches on the training pitch, but it’s all helped during this period.”
Veteran goalkeeper Michel Vorm knows what it’s like to train at home during uncertain times. He was without a Club for nearly three months at the start of the season before returning to us in October as additional cover for the injured Hugo. He played in our most recent home game – the FA Cup fifth round tie with Norwich City, which the visitors won in the lottery of a shootout.
With his previous experiences in mind, the 36-year-old appreciates the importance of keeping his fitness levels up in preparation for a return to action at an indeterminate point in the future.
“Obviously you work on your footwork – we do quite a lot with ladders (speed and agility training ladders that lay on the ground), so that’s good – and the power in your legs, to make sure that’s there,” he explained. “To be honest, that’s more general, not only for the goalkeepers, but as a keeper you can’t dive around that much at home so you need to make the best of the situation. I really enjoy the online sessions with the group to be honest because it gives you a rhythm – the exercise bike sessions are really, really, really tough!”
Cycling sessions have also been important for Alfie Whiteman, our 21-year-old Academy product who trains with the first team every day: “Recently I cycled quite a bit over a three-day period,” he said. “My training programme is mostly based on fitness because to do goalkeeper work is difficult in the house, but we do quite a lot of reaction-based stuff on the squad video calls, like with Carlos (Lalin, Head of First Team Performance) where we do ladder work with lots of quick feet and footwork drills. Then when I’ve been on any individual runs as part of the daily exercise allowance I’ve tried to include some goalkeeper-specific movements like changing direction quickly. You have to really respect what the staff are doing, putting a lot of time and effort into these sessions for us – we’re very grateful for the hard work that they’re doing.”
Fellow young stopper Brandon Austin has been on loan at NordicBet LIGA side Viborg FF in Denmark since January and, while he recently returned to the UK temporarily in light of the suspension of the Danish league system, he told us last month how working on an exercise bike had been key in his bid to stay sharp: “I’ve still been able to train at my apartment, I’ve got an exercise bike so I’ve been able to keep on top of my fitness and my strength,” he said. “That’s been important – to make sure that you stay on top of that because you never know when we’ll start training again and you need to be ready.”