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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.

Orange highlighter

In this week's Champion's League final between Manchester United and Chelsea, Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech wore a flourescent orange uniform:

Petr Cech

One poster over at The Glove Bag wrote: "My brother sent me a text during the game saying 'Cech looks like a highlighter pen'". That was after some discussion about whether bright goalkeeper kits would influence strikers to hit the ball right at the keeper.

I've heard that theory bandied about for many years, but I've never seen any scientific study on it. I'm not convinced it makes much of a difference.

In fact, when I am playing striker, I want to see the keeper. My target is a specific area of the goal, where the keeper isn't... and to know where the keeper isn't, it stands to reason that I also need to know where the keeper is. My visual target is a "frame" formed by the ground, the crossbar, a post, and the keeper. I almost never look at the keeper directly, but I do see the keeper's body as a part of the target frame. A brightly outfitted keeper just makes that frame easier to distinguish against a mottled background.

Other strikers may, literally, see things differently, but particularly at the higher levels I don't think a bright goalkeeper kit has any big advantage. The keeper should wear whatever they feel is most comfortable and makes them the most confident.

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Show or substance?

Over on SoccerNet, Steve Davis writes:
"I can't quite endorse Colorado goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul and his theatrics, his unconventional and yet strangely successful methods, the silliness of "Bouna Time" and the other comedy that unfolds around the goal at DSG Park. But I'll say this: His high jinks make MLS a more interesting place."

I'll agree that Condoul makes things interesting. I saw him debut last year as a starter for the Rapids. Here's some footage of him recently against Kansas City, and even this brief glimpse lets you see a few, um, interesting plays. I have to say that I preferred Joe Cannon in the Colorado net.

Both keepers are quality, but the way they approach the task is quite different. Condoul is more flash, more showy but can occasionally make a big bone-headed mistake. Cannon might not get that one "Save of the Year" candidate, but he exudes an aura that nothing short of a brilliant shot will get past him.

Which kind of keeper are you? If you're a coach, which kind of keeper do you prefer? In the end it's personal preference, but I go more with the Cannon type. I want a goalkeeper who almost never lets in the stupid, soft goal. I don't want my defense constantly having to think about what is going to happen behind them. A defense that is confident in its goalkeeper, I think, will play better. In particular, they will feel able to support the attack more since they are confident that things are secure behind them.

In my opinion, goalkeepers ought to make the simplest save possible. Save the showy stuff for when it's really needed.


Goalkeepers are no fun any more

Former Colombia No. 1 Rene Higuita thinks that goalkeepers are no fun any more. Where are the keepers who try to dribble the entire opposition? Has anyone else ever even attempted a scorpion kick in a high-profile match?

Of course, Roger Milla has Higuita's antics to thank for this goal in the 1990 World Cup finals.


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