The key to Syracuse goalkeepers’ improved footwork: jumping rope

first_img Published on February 11, 2018 at 7:34 pm Contact Michael: | @MikeJMcCleary Syracuse goalies have gotten used to the routine. As the field players separate to play catch, the goalkeepers grab the ankle weights waiting for them aside the goal near the exit of the Ensley Athletic Center. While one goalie takes shots from her coach, the others strap on the weights, grab a jump rope and begin to hop.It’s a simple routine, but it’s what Syracuse expects to make a world of difference in developing its young and talented goalie group.“There’s so many goalie drills out there from tennis balls to all those sorts of things,” SU head coach Gary Gait said, “some people just forget about some of the basics.”The goalkeepers for No. 7 Syracuse (1-0) have grown accustomed to jumping rope in practice. The drill is meant to improve the footwork of the Orange goalkeepers and early on, it’s had a positive effect.“We jump rope a lot,” freshman goalkeeper Hannah Van Middelem said. “It helps our endurance and stamina and makes our feet really fast and quick.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe new routine is emphasized under the guidance of new volunteer assistant coach Matt Palumb. Starting goalkeeper Asa Goldstock said the Orange typically do “10 minutes of jump rope every day.”Palumb was not made available to comment.The drill is a new addition to the Orange’s practice schedule, junior goalie Bri Stahrr said. To improve the footwork of goalkeepers last year, Syracuse used an agility ladder. But jumping rope while wearing ankle weights provides more of an emphasis on quick feet.Gait said that the exercise can help the SU goalkeepers “keep (their) feet light and keep (their) legs fresh.”“(Jumping rope) makes your feet quicker,” Stahrr said. “The quicker you can move your feet, the quicker you can get behind the ball, which means you can save the ball more efficiently.”Kevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorGait describes the drill as “old school.”“Palumb’s back!” Gait exclaimed, smiling at the return of his college teammate to SU.But, “old school” has worked for the Orange in the past. A name that immediately popped to Gait’s mind was Liz Hogan, who is perhaps the best goalie in recent memory at Syracuse. She is SU’s all-time leader in saves (660) and ground balls (181). The drill that Gait said Hogan used to help improve her footwork: jumping rope.While most of the Orange’s current goalies say that they have gotten used to the routine, Stahrr laughed when asked if she thought the drill was a fun addition to the Orange’s workload.“It’s fun getting better,” Stahrr quipped.While Gait mentioned that he noticed the improved quickness is helping the goalkeepers “playing confident” and “making a lot of saves” in practice, the immediate proof of the effectiveness of Palumb’s routine can be seen in the Orange’s season-opening performance.Against Connecticut, Goldstock shined. She demonstrated quickness to every angle on each of her 11 saves, including saving five of Connecticut’s six free position shots on her. With such little time to react, she was able to make quick cuts to the ball to prevent the Huskies from getting back on the board. While it is not certain that the new jumping rope routine had a direct correlation with her performance, she commended her new coach, Palumb, while discussing her performance on Friday.The new routine, along with the addition of Palumb to the staff, is “really important,” Goldstock said, to the Orange’s development of its goalkeeper corps.After a successful goalkeeping performance against the Huskies, Gait said his team is willing to do anything it can.“The goalies are buying in and they’re playing very well in practice,” Gait said in the preseason. “So if we need to jump rope, we’ll jump rope.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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