Goalkeeping is about a lot more than just making saves and catching crosses. It’s about reading the entire game. You have to truly understand the whole game to become a truly great keeper.
So what can you do?
Get more involved in the game. Watch games whenever you can. Watch live games, watch goal highlights, watch save highlights, watch youth games, watch local college games, watch pro games. WATCH GAMES!!!!!
Here are some tips to getting more out of watching games.
- Try to figure out the formations of the teams. Figure out who the best players are. As why they are the most dangerous. Then ask what could you change if you were a manager or a player to play against those players or formations. As a goalkeeper what would you to organise your defence.
- Watch what goalkeepers do. Look at goals scored, what did the goalkeeper do? What could they have done? What would you have done?Look at the saves, look at their footwork leading up to the save, look at their positioning. Would you have done the same thing? If not, why not? If you would you do same what was it that the keeper did that meant he was able to make the save?Was it a good save? If so why? Where did the ball go, did he make a clean a catch, did he parry the ball, where did he parry the ball? What could he have done better?
- Watch what the defenders do. Where do they position themselves? Why did they take up that position? Think about being the goalkeeper behind those defenders. What would you say them?
- Watch what the strikers do. Where do they make runs? How do they try to finish scoring chances? What position are strikers in when they score most? Which leg do they favour? Why are some chances more easily converted than others? What could you as a goalkeeper have done or said to stop the striker from getting into that position?
- Watch games in real life not just on TV. Get to local games whatever level. Try get to professional games. Don’t just follow the ball like you are watching the game on TV. Watch what happens off the ball, especially the goalkeeper. Here in New York City you are lucky. You can get to a lot of high quality games, NYCFC, New York Red Bulls and the COSMOS all play here. You can also easily get to a lot of academy games. Look up their websites and go to them.
- Watch games from different leagues and levels. Watch youth games, college games and professional games. Look at the differences in play. What do notice different from games in the Premiership compared to La Liga games, etc.
The point is that to be a good goalkeeper you really have to learn the game. As a goalkeeping coach in New York I see a lot of kids turn up to practice and then never think about soccer until the next practice. That is fine if the game is just an activity for you, but to become great the game must consume you.