Notice that I mention player or goalkeeper, as I believe it applies to field players as well as goalkeepers. In my opinion in today’s game a goalkeeper is a field player that is allowed to use his hands. The goalkeeper is constantly used as an extra option to field players by all coaches and all teams in the pro ranks. Gone are the days that passing the ball back to the goalkeeper merited whistles and jeers by the crowd. Today everyone understands the importance of the back pass to the goalkeeper. Therefore technique and ball manipulation applies to the goalkeepers as much as the field players.

This most likely applies to players fifteen years of age and older as they fully mature athletically and come to understand how to use a variety of skills in varying game situations. At the younger ages although mastering fundamentals and ball manipulation is a must for proper development, players need to have fun and continually, daily fall in love with the game.

Do not let the developing player’s or goalkeeper’s game become obsessed with frills or skills that, while useful, are used rarely. Let them be competent in the basic orthodox techniques first. But once that standard has been reached then embroider the player’s skills with the less orthodox techniques as they are serious, positive skills which will help the team and not just please spectators.

During the first fourteen years of a young player’s career the coaching emphasis must be on technique. The actual execution of a movement is always in the realm of technique. The challenge of “when and why” to use a movement is one of tactics. Technique is the body’s mechanical execution to affect the ball; for example receiving, catching, shooting, dribbling, deflecting, etc. It is one of the four components of the game and leads to ball skill.

Skill is being able to execute a technique under the pressure of opponents in tight space and most likely on the move. Without ball skill a player cannot execute tactics. Some players will be able to do a technique in an activity but fail to apply it as skill when under pressure from opponents, be competent with the ball but not outstanding, be technical but not skillful, while others will be skillful but not technical, be capable of executing some skills against one level of opponent but not another.

Players gain more trust and respect for a coach who can help them improve their technique. The result is confident use of new skills in matches. Just4keepers coaches integrate fundamentals and proper technique into a fun challenging environment so that the players/goalkeepers can constantly measure their development.

Motivated players/goalkeepers spend time working on their skills. Players will appreciate the importance and thrill of learning new techniques and refining existing ones if the coach creates the proper training environment. Then the players begin to equate fun with improvement.