Goalkeeping 101

by James Dalton | Last updated

SKILLS THAT MAKE A GOALKEEPER A GREAT KEEPER

Reflexes – This is the speed that the goalkeeper is able to react to a situation and/or a ball.

Pressure Decisions – Decisions made under pressure sometimes lead to wrong actions like coming out of the box to soon or trying to tackle a ball from an attacker when you have a defender in the area. Bad goalkeeper decisions lead to goals.

Aerial Ability – This skill set is probably the most difficult. It requires a combination of reflex, agility and absolute concentration.

Ball Handling – One of the most important attributes for a goalkeeper. Being able to control a ball in your possession. This is an often overlooked skill. Errors often arise and goals scored by a simple ball being dropped in the box by the keeper.

Player Communication & Command of Area – When an attack is moving forward into the goalkeeper’s area, his communication with his defenders is key. The goalkeeper is the lynchpin during this time. He has a full view of his area and is more likely to see any vulnerable open weaknesses in his defense. This is a key time that the keeper has to control his defenders positions to close any gaps he may see.

Agility – This comes from extensive training

Concentration – The most important during time of the game is during the final minutes and extra time. Fatigue becomes a factor and this causes lapses in concentration. Player conditioning is key. Top flight teams specifically train for this. Goalkeepers are vulnerable to last minute goals, not because the goalkeeper himself loses concentration, but his defenders are fatigued and are vulnerable to a quick attack.

Angle Positioning – When the goalkeeper is able to position himself between the attacker and the goal, this narrows the angle that the attacker can shoot the ball. Thus making the shot more difficult.

Goalkeeper Physical Size – This helps when a keeper is 6’ 6”. A keeper’s height and arm reach is a huge factor, especially during set pieces.

Fun Warm-up Drills for Goalkeepers

This is a wonderful warm-up for a goalkeeper to add to the practice warm-up routine. Goalkeepers enjoy the speed and agility this exercises develop.

This warm-up only requires a goal net and about 4 or so soccer balls. To avoid injury, make sure the goalkeeper has stretched and done some light catching before participating in this warm-up.

INSTRUCTIONS
From the right side of the goal, approximately 8 yards from the goal, the coach should gather 3-4 soccer balls with one in hand. On the coach’s command, the goalkeeper sprints out and touches the soccer ball you are holding, the goalkeeper then quickly back pedals toward the goal line ( Always keeping their eyes on the ball you are holding ). As the goalkeeper back pedals toward the goal throw a high lofted ball at the goal, where the goalkeeper must either catch the ball or punch the ball over the crossbar. After the ball is caught, the coach throws a ball toward the near post in which the goalkeeper must react quickly and catch the ball or push the ball wide of the goal. This exercise is then repeated with the ball been thrown toward the far post. The next part of the exercise is when the ball is now shot at goal forcing the keeper to react and make the save.
The coach then moves to the left side of the goal and repeats the complete exercise again.

This is a high energy warm-up exercise and will sharpen and hone the goalkeeper’s reaction skills

Skill Variations ::

Adjust the distance to the goal. The closer to the goal the quicker reaction the keeper will have to make. This sharpens the keepers close quarter skills when an attacker is within the six yard area.
The further back from the goal the ball is played from gives the keeper a great sense of the venerability of their goal. And especially the tactical errors made by some keepers when they come too far off their goal line.

WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD KEEPER AND A GREAT KEEPER ?

The answer is simple :: BALL AWARENESS
When a goalkeeper is aware of the ball position, they are in a better position to close down venerable angles, so making an accurate shot on goal for the attacker more difficult.
The awareness to shut down an angle making the attacker think about the shot give the defenders that extra crucial second to make a defensive play.

PRACTICE KEYS

1. Quickly adjust position to cut off shot angles.
2. Recover from shots quickly and always be ready for rebounds
3. Always keep your shoulders square to the ball.
4. Practice judging keeper position for high balls.

ALWAYS REMEMBER, THERE IS ONLY ONE THING MORE IMPORTANT THAN PRACTICE AND THAT IS MORE PRACTICE

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