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.

Keepers should take goal kicks

The issue of keepers taking goal kicks has come up in email and on discussion boards recently. I originally figured that taking a goal kick is just another type of kick that all soccer players, not just goalkeepers, should practice. But striking driven balls seems to be something missing from many players' skill set and not taught by many coaches.

What it boils down to is using proper technique, rather than kicking the stuffing out of the ball. Watch a professional keeper taking a goal kick. They make it look easy to send it 70 yards, don't they? That's because they are relaxed and using proper technique so it is easy. Get the technique down first (see the suggestions on my distribution page) and then add more power.

Another point made in the thread that's important is not to rush the kick. Slow down and get composed first. Then look up, find your target, then look down and focus on the ball all the way through the kick.


Hoops and penalties

And if you didn't think that playing basketball or other ball/hand sports helps develop a better goalkeeper, then why would Manchester United call new signing Tim Howard "one of the best basketball players to be playing in the MLS."?

Oh, and getting back to penalty kicks -- I am currently 3-for-3 stopping penalties in my adult summer league this season. Two to my left, one to my right. Just luck? Hardly. You can learn to "read" penalty takers. (Although I do need to talk to my defenders about all those fouls....)

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Reading the shooter

I have had discussions with people who don't believe you can learn to "read the shooter" on penalty kicks. They're wrong -- you can learn to improve your chances of making a stop; it's not random. For a case in point, see peterb's post to this thread on the SoccerCoaching.net discussion forum.


Good American goalkeepers

Nick Webster at FOXSportsWorld.com talks about why there are so many good American goalkeepers. I've discussed the thought with people before and have come to the same conclusions. In addition, goalkeepers don't hit their prime until later in their careers -- often their mid-30's -- and so a good athlete can try goalkeeping later in life and still succeed. If they played basketball, baseball or other sports requiring good footwork and eye-hand coordination, they won't be as far behind as a goalkeeper as they would be as a field player.


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