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CONSISTENT, FOCUSED AND MEANINGFUL PRACTICE IS WHAT A GREAT GOALKEEPER NEEDS!!

A FIELD PLAYER SHARES SIMILAR CHARACTERISTICS AND CORE SKILLS TO OTHERS ON THE TEAM. HOWEVER, THE GOALKEEPER IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER ON THE FIELD AND REQUIRES A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SKILL SET. IN ORDER TO ALLOW THE GOALKEEPER TO DEVELOP AND BE EFFECTIVE IN EACH GAME, KEEPERS NEED TRAINING SPECIFICALLY TAILORED TO THEIR POSITION.

Professional clubs have specific goalkeeper coaches, who can train the keeper’s apart from the main squad and deliver specialized sessions. They can then join in the main session if needed for a small-sided game or practice. While at many grassroots organizations there are limited resources in comparison to the professional set up. There is a theory, which applies to sports and other walks of life, regarding the number of hours training required to become elite in your field. The 10,000-hours rule is often thrown around when talking about elite athletes and their need for training up to this magnitude to achieve excellence.

According to Dr K. Anders Ericsson, et al (Clemens Psychological Review, Vol 100, 1993) part of the original research team in this theory, it is not only the number of hours practiced that affects performance. In their published paper “The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance,” they summarize that the practice must be deliberate, meaningful and focused. In soccer, hours of practice that are not specific and are complacent in nature will not have the same positive affect on performance. Now think about the goalkeeper; how many times do they repeat their specific skills in a team practice? They don’t get nearly enough focused and specific repetition for their skill set during a team practice. With this in mind, can the coach now understand why their goalkeeper does not catch every ball, or can misjudge a shot or dive? It all reverts back to the repetition of skills in the designated time for deliberate practice. Ideally, the goalkeeper would have separate training with high reps, focused solely on their technique and delivered by a knowledgeable practitioner.

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