01 Nov 2011 10:53
How To Be a Goalkeeper
Why Be A Goalkeeper?
Why be a goalkeeper?, the striker gets the glory, the defender the gratitude, the midfield get the plaudits and the keeper gets the blame! Keepers must be mad is something I have often heard over the years about goalkeepers.
The so-called 'madness' of the number 1 shirt has probably existed in certain
holders of that shirt. However, a goalkeeper or goalkeeping coach will often tell you that THEY are the most important person on the pitch because if they make a mistake a goal is often scored.
You definitely have to have some sympathy with this argument and it is a fact that goalkeeping; if not the most essential position is EXTREMELY important.
It is no surprise that the previous winners of the FA Premiership, have arguably the best goalkeepers in Europe and that one argument put by commentators is that the teams that come a close second and third
have struggled in this area. Arsenal is a prime example of this having swapped and changed their goalkeepers over the years whilst Manchester United and Chelsea have remained consistent in their choices, which has brought them both glory and silverware. Now whilst defensive outfield players will have an affect on these figures there is no denying the importance of the goalkeeper.
Vic Bettinelli is a goalkeeping coach who has worked with some of the best keepers in the English Premiership and is now youth Academy coach at Fulham FC (an English Premiership Club).
Vic is also soccer-expert.com's goalkeeping expert and has highlighted below what he values as important in a young goalkeeper. He states,
There is little doubt that the position of the goalkeeper is the most pressurised on the pitch, and often the loneliest. All players make mistakes but good keepers can put their mistakes behind them -
one mistake does not make a bad goalkeeper while, on the other hand, one good save does not a good keeper make.
So what are the factors that can make a good young goalkeeper stand out from the crowd? I believe there are four &..
This inner drive is easy to detect in a young goalkeeper and comes to the fore when he demonstrates just how much he wants to prevent the ball going in to the net. Indeed, the extent to which the
goalkeeper does not want to be beaten will determine how hard he will work to polish his strengths and minimise his weaknesses.
1. Natural ability
When talking about young goalkeepers its quite common to hear people say such things as "he's got a great pair of hands" and, when I see a young goalkeeper for the first time that's one of the things
I look for. Indeed, whereas outfield coaches may well look at a players touch, control and pace, I'll look carefully at his handling and footwork skills. Handling is the basic skill of a goalkeeper and,
if a player does not possess the natural ability to judge the flight of the ball and to execute a successful catch, then no progress will be made. The same can also be said of a player's ability to cover
the ground quickly and to be in the right place at the right time. Without these basics little will be achieved.
2. Soccer Intelligence
Since the goalkeeper is expected to play virtually as an additional outfield player - either as a sweeper keeper or to initiate attacks- it is essential that he is able to demonstrate good game
understanding. Personally I have worked with many goalkeepers who have fantastic in closed practice sessions (with just the goalkeeper coach) but, when placed in an open practice session with
defenders and attackers, their understanding of the game is poor. It is therefore important to work individually with young goalkeepers to improve their game related practices.
The truly great goalkeepers have an ability to seemingly fill the goalmouth. They play with authority and confidence and they inspire those around them.
Young goalkeepers who possess all four key factors have ingredients to go all the way in the game. It takes hard work, dedication and sacrifice to reach the top.
Good luck with your goalkeeping!