uhlsport USA
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—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.

Academy Awards

With the Academy Awards come and gone, perhaps we can look forward to a few upcoming soccer-related movies getting an Oscar next year. Hollywood is finally waking up to the appeal of the world's most popular sport, says the Guardian.

Let's hope we get a better goalkeeper role than Sylvester Stallone in Victory.


On the cover

The Mail has a great toy on their Football on Sunday page. "Brighten your day and wind up your mates with results and stories the way you want them to read this weekend," it says, and allows you to make up a front page with your favorite Premiership team, your own headlines, your own game score and story. And with a bit of Photoshop skill on the back end, you can really personalize it for your favorite keeper:

Football on Sunday

Okay, the lighting doesn't quite match, but not bad for a quick hack. Lots of fun!


Spanish goalkeeping talent

The United States was known for producing top-level goalkeepers, well before many American field players started getting jobs overseas (Tim Howard's recent spell of poor form notwithstanding). But Phil Ball on ESPNSoccernet, who apparently has a soft spot for keepers, writes about the abundances of goalkeeping talent in Spain.

One of the sleepers of La Liga is Barcelona's Victor Valdes, of whom Ball writes: "Valdés has many virtues, as Chelsea may find to their cost, chief among them being his bravery and concentration. Where Ronaldinho is all smiles, Valdés always looks as if someone has just insulted his mother."


Don't drop the eggs

Where do you do your training? Phil Ball at ESPNSoccernet points out you could always have it a lot worse:

"Lots of records have been established this week. Spain U-21's beat poor San Marino 14-0, upon which Genghini, the goalkeeper of the perforated net, complained that his job in the local supermarket was poor preparation for such an encounter. Wise words indeed."


Glove choice

What's the most important criteria for choosing goalkeeping gloves? In the end it's personal preference, but the top two factors are the fit of the glove and the grip. Personally, I put grip at the top. I can get used to many different types of gloves, but as long as the grip is tacky I'm happy. Lots of keepers, though, seem to put fit and comfort ahead of grip—as long as the grip is reasonable, of course.


Two steps ahead of the game

It can be terribly frustrating to be a goalkeeper at times. The old cliche is that the ball has to get past eleven players to score, but any keeper worth their salt feels they should have a chance to stop just about everything. It might be by having made a better save themselves, or by having gotten the defense into shape before hand.

The goalkeeper has the entire soccer game in front of them, and often the chain of events leading to a goal is painfully obvious to them. They can see the unmarked attackers, the wide open passing lanes and the unprotected space. But once the goal is scored, there's not much to be done.

As much as the goalkeeper would like to be able to position his or her defenders like chess pieces, it won't always happen. The challenge for the keeper, then, is twofold: one, can they think one—or even two&mdashsteps ahead of the game and get the defense in shape before it even breaks down; and two, can they do it in a way that helps the defenders, rather than tears them down?

A positive goalkeeper, who corrects constructively and doesn't get down on their teammates, can go a long way towards building a team with confidence.

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