Let’s simplify goalkeeping for a second!!
When I ask my Goalkeepers what their job is I get responses such as:-
“To Catch the Ball”, “To Make Saves”, “To Help my Team”, “To Stop Goals”. All Are good answers and are correct.
I try to make it even simpler for them and tell them their job is “To Stop the WHOLE of the Ball Crossing the WHOLE of the Line!!” It can’t get any simpler than that!!
“So What’s Your Point?” I can hear you say.
My Point is sometimes as Goalkeepers and Goalkeeper Coaches we get caught up in trying to learn or coach the ‘Perfect Save’.
Of Course we need to Learn and Coach Techniques that will allow for Keeper Development. However, sometimes we need to ‘Think Outside The Box’ with what we base our sessions on.
Our Job as a Keeper Coach is to teach our Keepers how to deal with situations that arise during games through coaching techniques specific to that situation. In an ideal world all shots will be hit straight at us at chest height so we can make the most comfortable of the saves. Unfortunately, as we all know this isn’t always the case. When I coach my keepers, I explain to them I am giving them the ‘Tools’ to put in their ‘Goalkeeping Tool Box’, I explain the Techniques (Tools) and When, Where and How to use them. It is then up to them to take the correct ‘Tool’ (Technique) out of their ‘Tool Box’ when that particular situation occurs in a game. (Pretty Simple Yeah?)
We also NEED to Coach the ‘What If’s’ Too!!
What If ‘The Ball Takes a Bad Hop in Front of me and I Need to Make that Save?’
What if ‘I Can’t hold the Ball and I Need to Make a Second Save, But Now I’m Off Balance?’
What if ‘I Need to Recover from an Initial Parry Save, but Don’t have the time to get up and Make a Catchable Save?’
I coached a Group of High School Keepers Recently, working on Recovering from an uncatchable save to make the second save. I was amazed by the number of Keepers who were upset that the technique they had been previously coached wasn’t working for them. They had been coached that they ‘HAD’ to work to get up into the ‘Textbook’ Set position before they could make the save. I repeated myself to them, saying their job is “To Stop the WHOLE of the Ball Crossing the WHOLE of the Line!!” Sometimes we have to save the ball with our Elbow, Knee, Chest, Face, etc to make the save.
In the above ‘What If’ scenario, getting into a set position was not working for these keepers. As a Group we discussed how we could get ‘Closer’ to making the save, I explained that if they could use their momentum from the initial save to them towards the ball they would stand more chance of making the save. Without giving everything away, the group were then getting closer to the ball and making the save, regardless of how they made the save. Some saves were catches, some were defections away from danger, and some were getting the slightest bit of body on the ball to turn it around the post or over the bar.
My point to them was sometimes we have to make saves that AREN’T the most aesthetically pleasing, but at the end of the day A SAVE, IS A SAVE, IS A SAVE!!!!
Good Experienced Coaches will cover these ‘What If’ topics and more during their Year-Round Weekly Sessions, with their Progressive Challenging Curriculum. IF THEY AREN’T, FIND SOMEBODY WHO IS!!!