My favorite aspect of soccer is when the game is broken down to it’s fundamental components; striking and receiving the ball. The act of controlling the ball to leave you and when it comes back to you: simply elegant, and it can be done alone, with a friend, a group, with competition or without. At 48 years old, these basics keep me playing the game I love. I still have a decent touch, I love to go out alone to juggle or strike and throw the ball against a wall or net Sure, even with a replaced hip, I get a bit competitive jogging around the pitch and playing goalkeeper. Most of all I really love nothing more than when I am having a pass with my kids and I hope that we can continue for years to come.
I love training the fundamentals too, which is why I love goalkeeper training with Just 4 Keepers as well as training technique for field players — micro movements small adjustments and the ability to see results in one session, and yes repetition. I never tire of the mantra “Set position, adjust, and reset” that each training session contains. Yet, It begs the question, if “set position, adjust, reset” is fundamental to goalkeeping and soccer, then actually “preparing to strike and preparing to receive” are truly the more fundamental components of soccer.
In planning for a recent private goalkeeper session for a student that is having some issues in our weekly session with the aforementioned “preparing to receive.” I asked myself, “What is the absolute basis all athletics?” Well, I thought, “Of course! The ready position.” Check out these videos and notice the similarities in the descriptions, first the Just 4 Keepers’ Set Position and then in other sports’ Athletic Stance; Volleyball , Tennis , Ping Pong, Badminton,
In my yoga class tonight our instructor said, “Bad habits are easy to learn and good habits are hard to learn.” So, goalkeepers take aim at practicing the good habit of the basics of the set position and practice is with precision. “Set,” knees bent, feet slightly outside of shoulder distance, knees slightly inward of the feet, chest balanced over your feet, back “neutral” not hyperextended, weight evenly distributed on the feet, hands slightly forward bending the arms, thumbs slightly out, and the hands relaxed, in fact everything relaxed.