Goalkeeper is a special position that takes a special individual to play. I should know- I have been playing the position for 18 years and currently spend a lot of time goalkeeper coaching in Rochester.
What most people outside of soccer do not understand is that to play the position of goalkeeper takes extreme training and dedication. You don’t automatically become a good goalkeeper because your coach puts you in goal and kicks 50 soccer balls at you!
So what does it take to become a good goalkeeper?
Learn the correct technique for Footwork, Handling, Diving, Jumping and Distributing the ball. The attributes mentioned above would fall under the Technical side of goalkeeping, allowing the goalkeeper to perform each skill set in a comfortable and natural manner. Also providing safety from injury!
Educate yourself on how to communicate with your teammates. As a goalkeeper we are able to see the whole game in front us, being able to read the game and communicating with your defenders will help you limit the number of scoring opportunities the opposing team has in a game. Positioning in the goal is another attribute that is under valued. Knowing where to be to make a save is an important skill of goalkeeping.
People think that to be a good goalkeeper you need to be 6ft 5in. Although height is a great attribute it isn’t this attribute alone that determines a good goalkeeper. Balance, Strength, Speed, Sharpness, Power, Athleticism and range of motion are all very important skill sets to being a goalkeeper.
In modern soccer it is important for goalkeepers to have “forgetful memory”. You must forget the last spectacular you just made, as well as you must forget the last goal that you feel you should have saved. Have a well balanced mentality and continue to believe in yourself, don’t let anybody elses opinion determine how you play, whether it be good or bad.
Ever since I began goalkeeper coaching in Rochester I have been asked many times why do goalkeepers need different training that field players? It is simple. Training with a team is vital and necessary for the development of the goalkeeper. However you will not get nearly as much action with the squad as you will in specialized training. This training will help you improve at a much faster rate and help you get to the next level of playing, whether that is High School Varsity, College, Professional or just the next level at your club.