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Monday, 28 October 2013 07:32

You Will Make Mistakes Blog

You Will Make Mistakes Blog

Looking to play in goal?


Well let me make this perfectly clear to you now so there are no grey areas.......




A strange thing for a goalkeeping coach to say you may think but it’s just a hard fact about the life of a goalkeeper quite simply. When you stand between those posts everything you do will be scrutinised and with everything you do there is a risk involved which may result in a goal if you get it wrong. An outfield player does not have such high stakes with what they do as there is always somebody behind them to “get them out of jail” whereas the only thing behind you as a goalkeeper is the net!


I would like to also dispel two theories that:


“Any cross inside the 6 yard box should be the goalkeepers”


and also


“you should NEVER get beaten at your near post”


These maybe statements you have heard and often they will have probably been said by an outfield coach. Most goalkeepers and goalkeeping coaches will understand through experience that there are a number of factors that have an effect on both instances.


Dealing with crosses in my opinion is the hardest part of goalkeeping. So many factors can be taken into consideration:


Weather:- Wind, Rain, Sun

Pitch conditions:- Muddy, wet,  hard ground (frosty conditions), slope on the pitch

Opposition:- Quality of crosser, size and speed of attackers in the box

Type of cross:- Inswing, outswing, lofted, driven, whipped in, pace of ball


All these factors yet as a goalkeeper you have to make a split second decision of whether you are going to stay on your line or come and try and deal with that cross, be it catch, punch or deflect  which is the other decision you have to make.


Therefore add in the bodies in your area and you can see why it’s quite easy to make an incorrect decision or make a slight error technically when dealing with that cross. The type of cross in terms of pace in particular and where that cross is delivered from has a big say in whether you can actually get to that cross inside the 6 yard box, hence why I say it’s unfair to say anything in the 6 yard box is the goalkeepers ball.


Talking of pace of the ball, this can play a major part in not always being able to stop shots at your near post. Obviously it’s important to get your positioning and angles right to give yourself the best chance possible. You need to be in a position where you cover off the near post but also give yourself a chance with shots across you to the far post. However skill and trickery from the attacker who may be able to disguise which side they are going to shoot plays a part but the pace of the ball and distance away with which they strike the shot also plays a big part.


All goalkeepers will make mistakes, the more experience you gain the less mistakes will be made but mistakes will still happen. You only have to look at the abuse that England goalkeeper Joe Hart is currently getting and he has won the premiership and has nearly 40 international caps to his name.


Hart is a top class goalkeeper, that for me is not in question, he is just having a season where things are not going for him at times and of course with the media the way it is now these mistakes get highlighted even if only slight. He is still young in goalkeeping terms and he will go on to have a top career in the game. What he needs is the support of his manager, his goalkeeping coach, his team-mates and the fans.


If I see a young goalkeeper make a mistake, the first thing I look at is how they react to that mistake rather than being so concerned about the mistake itself. Do they let it affect what they do next or are they able to put that mistake behind them and do the next thing in a positive manner.


Often you can actually learn so much when making a mistake it can benefit the goalkeeper in the long term so it’s not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it at the time. In the game the goalkeeper must forget about that mistake straight away and concentrate on what they do next. Then after the game, replay it in their mind and think about what they could have done better and maybe even practice that situation but not dwell on it for too long, forget about it again and focus on the next game.


It is so important that we as coaches, parents, guardians, friends show support to goalkeepers because it is such a difficult position to play in considering the pressure that is upon them and how much they are scrutinised and questioned when they do things. Therefore let us help them and their development and not hinder it and put them off goalkeeping by being too critical.


This blog isn’t to put anyone off who is thinking about being a goalkeeper because there is nothing better than when you make that save when the striker thought they had scored! It is to make people aware and be supportive of what it is actually like playing in goal and show understanding which will help in the development of that goalkeeper.



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