Water Polo: Fearless in the Cage

Posted by BridgeAthletic on Jan 6, 2016 4:32:36 PM

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5 Exercises To Improve Your Goalie Skills

Playing goalie is all about reactive speed and quickness. The following 5 exercises can help you improve your reaction time, hand speed, and balance in the cage. These drills and movements will also help with hip strength, explosive legs and upper-body stability.

Defending the goal requires a solid foundation so you’re ready to block the ball, regain balance to react to multiple shots on cage, and be in good position to make an accurate outlet pass. Strengthening your kinetic chain is crucial to not only setting a good leg base to stay high in the water the entire game, but also for balance, flexibility, and injury prevention.

These exercises focus on improving range of motion, stability and quickness. Lower body strength and stability, combined with quick hands, allows goalies to put themselves in the best position to defend the cage. Additionally, improving reaction time through reaction drills gives a goalie the ability to gain composure quickly and react to sequential stimuli, like follow-up shots on the cage.

Coach's note: The goalie is the quarterback of the defense. They must be able to direct defenders while playing their own position. Improving the physical traits needed to be an elite goalie through off-the-field training will give you the confidence to do just that.


Don’t just take practice blocking shots in the water. Incorporate these drills in the weight room to be a dominant force as the last line of defense.


 1. TBD – Double Outside

Level: All

Equipment: 2 tennis balls, partner

Coaches Tip:

The goal is to catch both tennis balls before they hit the ground. Focus on not anticipating the drop of the tennis balls, but reacting to the drop. This drill will help develop anticipation and quick hands.


2. Banded Back Bridge - March

Level: All

Equipment: Theraband (increase resistance as you improve)

Coaches Tip:

This exercise is key to activation and can be used both for pre-workout and pre-game. It helps with hip stability and hip strength because hip work is of utmost importance for goalies so they can put themselves in the right position and stay there.


3. Band Y Squat

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Equipment: Resistance Bands

Coaches Tip:

The Band Y Squat is an excellent progressive exercise to work on overhead shoulder stability during a lower-extremity movement. Really focus on keeping your shoulder blades and shoulders locked to keep your hands and bands in the same position overhead while you squat.


4. Walking Spiderman

Level: All

Equipment: None

Coaches Tip:

Hip mobility is crucial to a goalie’s movement in the cage. The Walking Spiderman is an exercise to improve range of motion in a typically tight area for water polo athletes. Greater mobility allows a keeper to maintain a wider base position and push more water before a powerful lunge.


5. Front Bridge Arm Raise

Level: All

Equipment: None

Coaches Tip:

The Front Bridge Arm Raise is a variation of the regular Front Bridge. It emphasizes dynamic stability, posture, core, hip and shoulder stability.


The keeper must train just as hard as the other players on the team to master the craft and gain the valuable skills and reflexes to play at an elite level.


Enjoy these 5 exercises and become fearless in the cage.


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About Bridge: BridgeAthletic is dedicated to bringing elite level, personalized strength training to every athlete. As athletes and coaches, we know the difference access to great coaching can make. Now, BridgeAthletic is bringing that competitive advantage to everyone, everywhere. Launched in 2013, San Francisco-based BridgeAthletic builds water polo-specific, personalized workout programs delivered via smart phone or tablet to competitive athletes and the coaches who train them.


Sport-Specific BridgeAthletic Strength programs for individual athletes include Swimming, Triathlon, Running, Cycling, Water Polo, Lacrosse, Soccer, Football, Baseball, Volleyball, Basketball and others. BridgeAthletic was co-founded by Michael Sharf, a UC Berkeley D1 water polo player and Nick Folker, Olympian and former UC Berkeley Strength and Conditioning Coach. 


Topics: S+C