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.
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?
If a goalkeeper wants to be successful and play at a high level in todays game, they must be able to take their own goal kicks. They could do everything else well but if they can't take a goal kick they'll be overlooked for the top levels of play. By having somebody else take our goal kicks at the younger ages we're setting our goalkeeper up for failure when they're older. How can this be fixed?
The first step has already been made. The retreat line is not only great for encouraging teams to play out of the back, but it also gives young goalkeepers a little more confidence. Imagine seeing a wall of opposition players lined up along the top of the box and knowing the ball will be coming back to you in seconds, it can be a little discouraging.
But when I watch grassroots practices I see one player stood in a massive goal well the rest of the team fires balls at them. Coaches argue that this is practice for their goalkeeper, but I can assure you that your not providing positive feedback or confidence to this young player by putting them in a shooting gallery. Neither are you helping them to development their ability to strike a ball. Every other player on the team is learning how to hit a ball through trial and error. They get repetition and instant feedback on the success or failure of their strike. As kids we learn through discovery, by being given the opportunity to continuously strike a ball we'll learn what works and what doesn't. Our youth goalkeepers aren't given these opportunities.
The result is that I have an influx of parents who's young goalkeepers are now 15 or 16 years old and being told they need to take their own goal kicks, but have no skill set to be able to accomplish it. They missed a crucial developmental window and are now playing catch up.
If your a parent or a coach try to encourage your goalkeepers to take goal kicks, even if it means creating a scoring opportunity for the other team. If they make a mistake and miss hit it, it's ok they're learning. Have them spend time just striking the ball against a fence, include them in shooting drills (coaches can stand in goal if you want a goalkeeper) and field player based drills. They'll have fun at team training and most importantly not fear having to take a Goal Kick.
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