As far as footballers go, goalkeepers have a pretty hard time of it. They don’t get the glory of the strikers, and you’re far more likely to notice when they let a goal through than when they save one.
Not only this, but their sportsmanship is often seen to be lesser than those of their teammates. Why? Because instead of spending 90 minutes running up and down the pitch, they stand in one place for the whole game.
Well, we’re here to tell you that this is far from the truth, and the goalies are the real MVPs of the football team.
We’ve explored some of the reasons why goalkeeping is actually one of the best workouts you can get…
It’s basically a HIIT class
At it’s centre, goalkeeping is about quick, explosive movements. While the other players spend the entire match running up and down the pitch, goalies aren’t in constant movement.
Instead, they have to stay super-focused, tensed and ready for action when the ball comes down their side of the pitch. Think of it like a form of HIIT – high-intensity interval training. You have short but intense bursts of movement, interspersed with periods of recovery.
There are so many benefits to HIIT – for example, it’s been found to burn more calories than steadier forms of exercise, like running or cycling. It is also a great way to shift excess body fat – as not only does it help to raise your metabolism, but it also encourages your body to burn fat for energy, rather than carbs.
It’s a total body workout
Being in goal is all about plyometrics – jumping up and down. Exploding upwards with your arms outstretched to catch or bat away the ball is essentially a total body workout – you’ll need the strength of your legs, the stability of your core, and the power and precision of your arms and shoulders to successfully stop that ball from going into the net.
Not only this, but it’s up to you as a goalie to kick the ball down the other side of the pitch, or lob it at full power to your teammates.
As we’re sure you can agree, that involves a whole lot of strength (and not to mention accuracy). It’s definitely more of a full-body workout than the other players on the pitch are getting, who focus more on the lower body.
It improves your agility and fitness
It’s a no-brainer that your reflexes have to be on-point if you’re a goalie. Most of the ones we see on the TV make it look natural, so the skill involves isn’t something we tend to spend too much time thinking about.
However, spending some time in goal will improve your agility no end, as the flying balls really put your reflexes to the test.
There’s a reason why top level goalies have incredible fitness – in order to keep up with the pace of the game, you need to be able to move as quickly as possible and be able to change directions in a split second.
It’s a mental workout too
Goalkeeping is arguably also the most mentally challenging position on the football field.
Not only do you have to stay pumped up and ready even when the ball is nowhere near you, there’s a huge amount of responsibility on your shoulders – one wrong move and you could easily lose your team the match.
Arguably, the other players on the field have it a little easier, because the constant running around, attacking and defending means they don’t really have time for nerves to build as much.
Compare this to the goalie, who has to watch the action and anticipate what might come next – no doubt with stress levels edging upwards. You really need nerves of steel to keep your cool as a goalie.