uhlsport USA
"Outstanding keeper instruction. This is a must for goalkeepers and coaches."
—Ottawa Internationals S.C. web site, Ottawa, Canada

Goalkeeping Tips, Tidbits and Random Thoughts

An athlete talking to themsleves during competition is hardly a new phenomenon.... The talk does not have to be vocal. By merely thinking you are talking to yourself and sending a message.
   -- Tony DiCicco, Goalkeeper Soccer Training Manual

If you have a question, comment or rebuttal you'd like to see addressed here, send me email. I will post your mail to the blog at my discretion unless you specify otherwise.


When training goalkeepers, we always work on perfecting our technique. But we don't live in a perfect world, and in the end you keep the ball out of the net any way you can. In my men's league game today, my defense fell asleep for a moment and let an attacker in on a clean breakaway. I came out hard, stayed low, made myself big, and stopped the attacker's point-blank shot... with my face.

Rang my bell a bit, but no permanent damage (keep the wisecracks to yourself). Hands are best, but toes, legs, torsos, and faces can all satisfactorily stop a ball if need be. One of my favorite sayings: You can't be stupid and play goalkeeper, but you have to be a little bit crazy.


Keep the ball secure

Once the goalkeeper has secured the ball in their hands, they should keep it there until they're ready to put it back into play. Don't bounce the ball. It's unneccessary and can only lead to problems. Oh, and if they do roll the ball out to kick it off the ground, make sure that no attackers are lurking about to nick the ball away.

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Focus must be on the ball

The snow is gone, and we finally got to play this weekend! Unfortunately, we lost our first game of the season 0-1 on a preventable goal. The ball popped up in the penalty area, and rather than catch it, my goalkeeper simply slapped at it. It fell right in the box and the other team poked it in in the ensuing scramble. Afterwards I asked my goalkeeper about it. She said that a player on the other team had grabbed her shorts and she was distracted. She knew her mistake: when going to catch or punch a ball, the goalkeeper's focus must be on the ball, not on other players, not on the field or weather conditions, not on the upcoming distribution. We even train this situation regularly; it can be hard even in practice, and is that much harder when you're being clutched, grabbed and pushed in a game. What should have been a routine catch becomes a desperate scramble.

The goalkeeper is the last line of defense, so any mistake is magnified and mental focus is crucial. That's one of the reasons I think goalkeeper is the toughest position to play mentally.


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