Now that the spring club season is into full effect, goalkeeper training for many becomes more difficult to squeeze in. Team practices often conflict with J4K academy training sessions. Club coaches aren’t very willing to allow players to miss a team practice to attend a goal keeper specific training. They’d rather have their keepers act as backstops in the net while they (coaches) focus their attention on the remainder of the team.
Often, we as J4K coaches then get questions from parents about “stopping by” for a session. As I have read several other J4K coaches comment, J4K training is not a once-and-done fix. It’s not a band-aid to fix a problem….It’s a methodology and progressive training program that takes the foundation of goalkeeping and builds on it in a weekly basis. Think of it this way, if field players on your team “stopped by” for a session every once in a while, would it make sense they would ever improve their ability to finish, possess, defend or pass? No, they would not. The same applies to keepers. If they don’t get consistent instruction and feedback on playing angles, defending corners, and distribution techniques would it make sense they would improve? A keeper who is truly interested in becoming better for themselves and for their team, should find a way to attend J4K training.
Using an example – when we work on recovering to defend a chipped shot, the exercises focus on the variety of footwork required and positioning needed to get back and catch or parry the ball over the bar. Two key technical aspects are footwork and hand position. Neither of these techniques is easily mastered, so to show a player one time how to do it properly will not have much impact. Consistent feedback and correction on the proper use of both technical aspects is key.
When a parent asks If I can help him/her with X, I say SURE! But I do my best to illustrate the answer and most times it makes perfect sense. Sometimes though, the parent is a fan of the “show ’em once and they’ll get it” technique of which we at J4K don’t believe in. The old adage of “practice makes perfect” definately applies to keepers. Our weekly training sessions involve repetition and fine tuning of the technical: footwork, handling, shot stopping, and diving; the tactical: angles, distribution and set pieces; and the psychological.