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.
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Take a ball you will train with and get a permanent marker. On every panel, write a large capital letter. Most balls have 32 panels and there are only 26 letters, so to make up the difference also use the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 (make sure to make your "one" and "letter i" look different).
Now, every time the keeper catches the ball, they must say aloud the letter facing them. This keeps the eyes locked in on the ball until well after the catch is secure.
This patented "Alpha-Ball" (not really, but I expect credit—and a small royalty—if you make a lot of money off this idea!) is a simple training tool for encouraging proper focus on the catch. Get your keepers into a good habit using this and I can almost guarantee fewer dropped balls.
Key to Hockey Goalie Success Discovered.
"Elite goalies focused directly on the puck nearly a full second before the shot was released nearly three-quarters of the time," according to the research. I'm sure the same goes for goalkeepers in soccer. Keepers need to learn to "read" the shooter and predict when the shot is coming so they can be ready, have their head still, and be able to focus on the ball.
The mantra I use with my keepers is "Feet, eyes, hands." Before the shot is struck, get into the ready position (feet), focus on the ball (eyes), and then save with your hands.
isn't equipped to process the trajectory of fast-spinning balls."
After watching the beginning of the U17 Youth Championship and this summer's World Youth Championship (U20s), it's become shockingly clear why goalkeepers mature later in life. What I saw of the goalkeeping was overall poor in both competitions. The US keeper Bryant Rueckner made a real howler in the group match against Italy, letting a free kick skip unimpeded into the far side netting. Perhaps he thought it was going wide? The moral: never assume!
On average, soccer teams get older and taller as you move from front to back. Goalkeepers are often among the oldest and tallest players on a team. (I've finally hit the age where I am getting older and shorter, unfortunately.)
Diamond vs W?. Which catching grip is better? I know goalkeeper coaches who teach one, some the other. Which do you use or recommend? I am firmly in the W camp (thumbs together, fingertips pointing almost straight up), although if a keeper comes to me using the diamond (thumbs and index fingers almost touching)and is comfortable and catches well, I won't try to change them. There are a number of reasons I think the W is preferable, especially for young keepers.
"Was reflecting on my experience of last night. Despite the fact I wore a crappy pair of Nike Krakens, I held everything that came my way. During the warm up, my buddy kept blasting shots right at me, talking smack. He just kept on me, trying to get me focused on the match, and not worrying about my gloves. Yeah, I would have prefered my Sells, and I'm not about to go play with a $20 pair of whatevers, but gloves are just an aid for us. A tremendous one, no doubt, but it's our hands that are important. For those of you who coach keepers, don't ever let them forget that, because too often, we get caught up in the mistake of putting equipment before good technique. I don't care what you wear on your hands, if you can't catch, it doesn't matter."
footwork, positioning, and catching. Sure, they may not be as exciting to work on, but if you have those three things down you will make the majority of the saves.
Being able to securely catch the ball not only prevents rebounds that lead to goals, it is a safety issue as well. Once that ball pops loose, it is fair game to be challenged for by the opponents, and often the keeper is in a vulnerable position. As the AR in a U17 girls' game on Saturday, I watched a keeper go low to gather a shot that hit her in the hands and popped loose, a few feet away. The incoming striker not only gathered the ball and put it into the net, but banged into the keeper as she tried in vain to collect the loose ball. No foul, and the goal stood. The keeper was shaken up but able to continue. Had the keeper held the ball the first time, not only would there have been no goal, but any contact with the keeper would have been a certain foul, rather than incidental contact when going for a free ball.
Too many keepers, IMHO, need to work on cushioning the ball. A little hard work in this area will go a long way towards making a better goalkeeper.
Manchester United's recent match against Southampton, and it turned out to be costly as United's attack went missing. He still seems to have the support of manager Alex Ferguson, though.
After watching (from my position as assistant referee) several girl's State Cup matches this weekend, I find myself repeating my mantra of hands to the ball first!. We got a lot of rain, 3+ inches of it, on Friday and Saturday and the fields were wet and muddy for the games that did get played. Numerous goalkeepers came out sliding to challenge for balls on the ground, but failed to hang on to the ball and almost gave up dangerous chances, though none were burned by it. The slide technique was fine, but they just got their bodies behind the ball and failed to really focus on getting their hands to it and hanging on. Now, as I said, conditions were wet and muddy and I didn't actually get to ask the keepers what happened after the game, but often failing to hang onto the ball is a simple matter of losing focus -- worrying about the slide, the oncoming attacker, the mud in your face, whatever, instead of concentrating on the ball into your hands.
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.
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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