The Forgotten Keeper
Sometimes as a goalkeeper or goalkeepers parent you can feel like your alone on an island. Keepertec has your back and feels your pain. Remember that without a goalkeeper, soccer would be a very boring and pointless game.
I attended a tournament recently and was amazed to see how many youth goalkeepers where disconnected from their teams when the ball was in the opponents half. Many youth goalkeepers where standing inside their 6 yard box.
Goalkeepers are often forgotten (just as the title of this blog suggests) or are simply expected to know how to perform aspects of the position because they put up their hand and volunteered to play it. Goalkeeping is a special position and to be successful they require individualized training. But what can every grassroots coach do to help their goalkeeper develop?
As I walk past games or watch opponents I'll commonly hear the words "Great Save!" being yelled from the sidelines. Except....it wasn't. The ball was batted away and it's popped out for a rebound, or now the team is dealing with a corner kick when all the goalkeeper had to do was catch the ball.
How can you identify a goalkeeper? There are many attributes that create a strong goalkeeper, but Bravery stands out the most in younger players. Goalkeepers need to be brave in order to learn and develop new skills. As a goalkeeper a player must leave their comfort zone and push their mind and body past preconceived limits. Being a goalkeeper goes against human nature.
Grassroots coaches spend their time teaching young players new to the game how to dribble, pass and shoot. These skills are performed with their feet and are the only part of the game covered for all players. After all, every player needs these skills to play the game. But one of the most important positions needed for the game to be competitive is completely forgotten.
Goal kick!.... or otherwise know as a great scoring opportunity. In our hockey city where dump and chase is a tactic applied to the soccer field, a goal kick is an advantage to the attacking team. The reason for this is we don't teach our goalkeepers to strike a ball. Usually if we want to get the ball up the field, we get one of our “big kickers” to take the goal kicks. But how is this helping to develop our goalkeepers?
Being a goalkeeper is a special skill, and because of such it requires special training. Unfortunately it's often a forgotten position or an afterthought. We steer our athletes to “glory” positions such as striker or central midfield, we teach our youth that being in goal is only for the “weird kid” or the one who doesn't want to run. Parents are afraid that their child will become injured, get bored, or not have fun as a goalkeeper. But our soccer community couldn't be more wrong.
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