“Risk management” is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks.  I continually remind my goalkeepers that it is essential they learn this.

“Do not stand on the goal line” is one of the first basics they learn.  Although they quickly grasp the concept of “cutting the angle” and “playing the arc”, it is necessary to continually remind them to move up.  When questioned as to why they continually drift back to the goal line, they express the fear of leaving the goal open.

Although drifting back is common among goalkeepers of all ages, I have always been puzzled as to why this fear appears to be such a basic instinct. Although they understand the advantages of playing up and the danger of leaving the goal “big” if they stay near the line, they still stay too close.

It is helpful to put young goalkeepers “at risk” during training sessions. At appropriate moments, I freeze the action and ask them to define their risk and actions they should take.  Through practice, they are encouraged to act upon their immediate impulse and not to hesitate or lose time by second guessing.

Initially, it is not important whether or not they succeeded, only that they understand their mistakes and how to correct them. Over time their self-analysis improved along with their ability to assess risk.

The “risk management” concept is most useful when applied to “cutting the angle”, “crosses” and “breakaways”.  After first explaining each skill and proper technique, the goalkeepers are increasingly put into difficult situations.

My experience is that “breakaway” training offers goalkeepers the widest possible opportunity for rapid decision making.  It is normal for goalkeepers to be quickly altering their options as they are advancing.  They understand that by mastering the breakaway, they will be significantly better than the average goalkeeper.

To help keep things in perspective, I have them compare their brain to a computer. Everything that they do is stored for recall when needed.  Reflex saves are the result of hours of training.

Once a goalkeepers has selected the proper position, everything else should be completely automatic.