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.
Most commonly I see two scenarios depending on if it's training or a match.
Training: Goalkeeper will take part in field session and be using their feet for 60 mins. This is great and keepers of all ages should be doing this. But what often happens is the coach has now finished with their technique and skill work and now wants to play a game. For the goalkeeper this usually means grabbing their gloves and standing in net immediately. So now after only using feet they're expected to perform as a goalkeeper. Their mind and body is not ready. Many youth goalkeepers will make mistakes that could effect confidence or get injured.
Match: The theory seems to be... your just one player and I have to worry about the other 10-18 players, so just go over there and warm yourself up. This will lead to some parents stepping in (sometimes reluctantly) to warm up their own child, or 1 or 2 team mates. It's before a match that some of the worst habits can be formed. Without good service or a proper build up a goalkeeper may not make any quality saves and their confidence will be shaken. Try to assign 1 person to always run the warm up, this can be a parent or team mate but they must understand their roll and be given some direction as to what to do. When dealing with younger goalkeepers, they don't even really know what they need.
Warm up does not need to be long or intense. Goalkeepers can do a physical warm up with their teammates and then perform their own skill related warm up. Additionally it's a good idea for your goalkeeper to get a few touches with their feet based on the same principal that if they only warm up their hands, the feet won't be ready to play.
What to focus on
- Catching balls at various hieghts
- Moving body behind ball
- Light diving to allow the body to get use to landing
- High and skipping balls
- Shots from various angles
One of the biggest mistakes I see prior to a match is the team firing shots on their goalkeeper. The aim of a pre match warm up (or any warm up) is to get comfortable and build confidence in order to be able to perform. As a striker in warm up their goal is to score, the goalkeeper needs to make saves. These two needs counter act each other and therefore don't help either player.
What to avoid
- Team shooting gallery, if players need to take shots do not put your starter in goal
- Starting off with hard and impossible saves
- Inconsistent service
- Just throwing a player in goal
Spend some time to come up with a plan for your goalkeeper and work it into your session or pre game. Ensure everybody is on the same page and working towards the same goals. Your goalkeeper could be the difference between a win and a loss, you want them to be ready.
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