Here is Idaho the weather is definitely fall / winter with colder conditions, rain and wind.
During the session on Saturday as the rain was falling and the temperature struggled to get to 45 degrees I was loving the way the ball would zip off the grass and come onto the goalkeepers quickly. It took me back to my serious playing days in England when the weather was always like this (and worse) and I remember thinking about how I reacted back then to the cold, wet weather and I recall I absolutely loved it. I loved getting dirty and wet and playing in the games where the ball was moving fast across the surface. I had already at a young age learnt to love the weather, whatever it was. Probably the worst conditions for a goalkeeper in my experience is the swirling or strong wind but I just see this as a great challenge to showcase my skills, concentration, decision making strategies and communication skills.
During the session I was hearing one or two saying they didn’t like the weather, so I stopped the session so that I could have an opportunity to discover why they weren’t enjoying the weather? It turns out that they were not prepared for it.
When I was playing and practicing I would always keep a change of uniform in my bag so that at half time during games or at the appropriate moment during training if I needed a dry shirt or to change my shorts to long pants I had them there. Even today when I play I have three pairs of gloves in my bag so that I can change them depending upon the needs of the game and if they are soaked I can get a dry pair. I have two pairs of soccer cleats (boots) in my bag in case I need to change to a longer / shorter cleat profile or just need a dry pair of boots (cleats). It is amazing to me the number of times I am coaching at games and I see goalkeepers who don’t have even a spare pair of gloves in their bag. They turn up with their goalkeeper jersey and no base layer under to keep their body heat in even when the temperature is low. I see them standing in the penalty area shivering. This is not a state at which peak performance can occur, and it is a simple as making sure you have extra dry clothing in your bag.
To become outstanding you have to be able to learn to embrace the weather conditions in practice and games and understand what you need to be able to perform at your best regardless of what mother nature throws at you. I work with goalkeepers all the time to re-frame their thinking and attitude to cold, wet or windy weather or a combination of them so that they can thrive in the experience instead of struggle. This ability to deliver for your team in all weather is one of the ways you can separate yourself from others , and it starts with making sure your kit bag includes all of the following items:
3 pairs of match quality goalkeeper gloves (all weather construction)
1 pair of goalkeeper specific shorts and 1 pair of long pants
Minimum of 2 goalkeeper shirts
1 extra base layer
1 extra pair of socks
2 pairs of soccer cleats (boots)
If you play in extreme cold conditions you may want a winter bobble type hat too.
When you learn to be prepared for anything you will discover that it doesn’t bother you and you can raise your performance level to cope with the challenge that the weather has presented instead of shying away from it and just wishing the game would end so you can get warm again. You will start to notice the other goalkeeper who isn’t as prepared as you are struggling while you are not bothered by the weather conditions, and then you will notice that you actually start to love the cold wet windy conditions because you too are then capable of raising to the challenge presented.
There really is no better time of year to play soccer in the northern hemisphere.