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.
This confuses me to no end. Why have your goalkeeper stand so far back. They're completely uninvolved in the match, can offer no support to teammates and I'm sure contributes to boredom and the number one reason youth are turned off of being a goalkeeper.
And I always have to remind myself that the reason for this has everything to do with the fact that these players have not been coached to do otherwise. The ball is away from them so they switch off and the coach allows it to happen by not holding them accountable for what they're doing away from the ball. Quite possibly the goalkeeper is the least of the coaches worries in this situation.
But a good coach will instruct all players, including goalkeepers. A goalkeeper is a part of your team, they are a part of the unit. When the other 10 players on the field move up or left or right, so should the goalkeeper. They should be connected and always offering a supporting angle or a helpful word. After all soccer is played with 11 players, not 10.
By having your goalkeeper push up to the top of their box, or further, it allows them to receive pass backs easily and improves confidence in the defender that the ball will get there. It will also allow your goalkeeper to play as a modern day sweeper on any long ball that's played over top. And most importantly by having your goalkeeper up near the rest of the team it will keep them engaged with what's going on in the match. They can communicate with teammates by offering instruction or feedback, and will have the ability to play the game in their head and remain mentally on top of what's developing.
We discuss the concept as a part of our goalkeeper training academy curriculum, but the best method for learning this part of the game is week in and week out during the match. It isn't easy to do. You must stay on your young goalkeepers and encourage them that it's ok. Fear sets in and they don't want the ball to go over their heads. Allow for mistakes, remind them to move up and push out of their comfort zone. All it take is looking back once in a while to remind them to be a part of the unit. This won't change over night, but keep on it and you'll see success.
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