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.

The other side of the ball

I'm a strong believer that goalkeepers should get a chance to play in the field—before the age of 13 or 14 keepers should not be in net exclusively, and even after that they should get to play other positions when the opportunity presents itself.  In particular, goalkeepers should try playing striker.  Even if it's just in a summer league, indoor, or a pickup soccer game (with full goals and someone else in net), it can give a keeper great insight by being on the other side of the ball for a change.

In fact, I think that good strikers and good goalkeepers have many common characteristics:  the ability to be calm and composed in high pressure situations in front of goal, the mental makeup to deal with failure and move on, and an attitude that "the ball is mine".

Up front, you get to see keepers making mistakes and learn how you, as a striker, can take advantage of them.  You can also see good goalkeeper plays and how it affects the attacker.  For example, last night I got to play up front in my coed league game.  If I can brag a bit, I scored a hat trick in our 3-2 victory.  But my first two goals, early in the first half, were almost identical.  The goalkeeper stayed on his line, and that was all the additional time I needed to 1)  pick my spot and measure the shot, and 2) shift the ball to a more advantageous position to make the goal.  Both times I was coming in from the left side of the goal. Positionally the keeper was sound, taking away the near post and making it difficult to go far post with the ball on my left foot.  But by his staying back, I had just enough time to switch the ball to my right foot.  This put the ball a yard or so towards the center of the goal.  Now, instead of being perfectly positioned between the ball and the goal, he was now a yard out of position and my shot was much easier.  A couple of quick flicks with the outside of the right boot, and we were up two to nothing.  Had he come out, he would have made that one-yard shift in ball position less harmful, but might also have prevented me from switching feet at all and forced me to take a left-footed shot or nothing.

I guarantee you, if I were a timid keeper and saw how I could take advantage of another timid keeper, it might encourage me to change my game a bit—a lesson much more powerful than any coaching point.

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