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July 26, 2022

Are you looking to improve your soccer goalie skills? I'm going to share some simple goalkeeper tips for goalkeepers and for coaches.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced goalie, there are always ways to improve.

Here's how to be a better soccer goalie (also known as GK or goalkeeper).

The role and responsibility of a soccer goalie

The goalie (or goalkeeper) is the only footballer to be able to use his or her hands.

A soccer goalie is one of the most important players on the field.

Not only do they need to have good hand-eye coordination and reflexes, but they also need to be able to think quickly and make split-second decisions.

The role of the goalie is to protect the goal and prevent the other team from scoring.

They typically stay near the goal line and use their body and hands to block shots.

In addition, goalies often serve as a last line of defense, meaning they need to be able to communicate well with their teammates and direct them where to go.

As such, being a soccer goalie is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, skill, and a whole lot of heart.

The role of the goalie in soccer has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. Goalkeepers are now an integral part of the team and need to not only be good with their hands, but also their feet. They need to become an extra outfield player by always being available for defenders to pass back to. The need to have great ball control and vision to pick out passes. 

Goalkeeper equipment

If you're going to be a goalkeeper, you need the proper equipment.

That includes a goalkeeper jersey, goalkeeper gloves (the most important part of the goalie's equipment), goalkeeper shorts, and goalkeeper socks.

You'll also need a pair of cleats, because you'll be spending a lot of time running around the field.

And of course, you'll need a soccer ball.

Ideally, you should have your own a ball so that you can practice with at home. But for practice, any old soccer ball will do.

Just make sure it's well-inflated so it's easy to handle.

If you want to be a better goalkeeper, you need more than just a pair of gloves. In addition to gloves, you'll need a towel to keep your hands dry, socks and shin pads to protect your legs, cones to set up drills, and an agility ladder to work on your footwork.

While it may seem like a lot of gear, having the right equipment will help you practice effectively and improve your skills as a goalkeeper.

As players get older, many goalkeepers may start to look at additional support such as knee pads and finger tape.

But let's make sure you love saving shots and being a goalie first! 

Soccer goalkeeper tips - when to take control

As players develop, there will be various phases in a match where a good goalkeeper will need to take control.

These are often "set pieces" where play has been stopped and the opposition team have a chance to attack. They include:

  • corner kicks
  • free kicks
  • penalty kicks
  • throw-ins

Whilst a good goalkeeper will always be alert, the above scenarios are opportunities for the opposition to kick the ball at your goal.

Corner kick

Goalkeepers should be aware of their position in the centre of the goal when a corner kick is being taken. You'll need to organise your team mates and make sure they are marking the opposing team.

Stay in the centre of your goal line and constantly communicate with your teammates.

You are the last line of defence and many teams fail to organise their defenders to clear the ball from a corner. Soccer goalies need to be alert from any dead ball situation.

Penalty kick

The ultimate chance for goalkeepers to be a hero, particularly in the dreaded penalty shootouts.

The pressure is off for goalkeepers in this situation. All you have to do is try and save a shot.

When a penalty is being taken, all the pressure is on the outfield players taking the shot.

The goalie should make a decision as to where they think the player is going to try to score and stick to it.

For example, will the shot go to the left, right or straight down the middle. Keep your eye on the soccer ball and look at the outfield players for clues about body language.

Free kick

This could be an indirect free kick (where one out field player has to pass to one of the other players before taking a shot) or a direct free kick (where the out field player can take a shot directly).

An indirect free kick means that the goalie should think about their position as the shot will most likely come after an attacker has passed to the other player standing near the ball.

You'll need to organise your teammates to make sure that you have all positions covered in a certain area of the soccer field.

From all set pieces you need to take control of your own penalty area and make sure you organise other players, not just in the penalty area but across the entire field.

How can I be a good soccer goalkeeper?

  1. Be quick off your line to close down the space and cut out through balls.
  2. Stay big and make yourself an intimidating presence in front of the net.
  3. Get good at shot-stopping, including diving and reacting quickly to redirected and other shots.
  4. Be vocal and communicate well with your defenders, telling them when to pressure and when to drop off.
  5. Be calm and composed under pressure, even if the game is close or there is a lot of activity in front of goal.
  6. Have a good understanding of the game so you know when to take risks and when to play it safe.
  7. Be in good physical condition so you can stay strong throughout the game.
  8. Be prepared mentally and emotionally for every match, knowing that anything can happen.
  9. Have a positive attitude and never give up, even if your team is losing or the game seems out of reach.
  10. Be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them, especially when you are a young goalkeeper. 

Of course, you'll also need a good soccer coach.

What skills does a soccer goalie need?

A soccer goalie needs a combination of physical, mental, and emotional skills.

Physical skills:

  • Quick reflexes
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Strong leg muscles for diving and jumping
  • Good stamina and concentration is to stay in the game for the entire 90 minutes

Mental skills:

  • The ability to stay calm and focused under pressure
  • Good decision-making skills
  • A positive attitude
  • The ability to motivate and encourage teammates from the back

Emotional skills:

  • The ability to handle disappointment and setbacks
  • Mental toughness
  • Confidence in your abilities

How hard is it to be a soccer goalie?

Being a soccer goalie can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. I

It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to be successful. 

Goalkeepers are often under the spotlight because there is only one of them in each team. It's possible to concede loads of goals in one match but still having played really well because there may have been shots fired that you could do nothing about. 

The rewards for being a goalie are high. You can be the hero by making crucial saves and give the rest of your team lots of confidence. 

How can I improve my goalkeeper skills?

One important way to improve your goalkeeper skills, like any out field position,  is to practice regularly.

This will not only improve your fitness and reflexes, but it will also give you a chance to try out different techniques.

Another important way to improve your goalkeeper skills is to study the game.

Watch how professional goalkeepers play, and try to learn from their movements and decisions.

Check out Youtube to see how great goalkeepers of today and previous years performed. 

There are some great goalkeepers currently in the English Premier league, such as Allison Becker, Ederson and David De Gea.

It's also worth checking out individual attributes such as Manchester United great, Peter Schmeichel and the way he used to spread himself out making it very difficult for the attacker to score.  

You can also improve your goalkeeper skills by attending goalkeeper training sessions.

These sessions provide an opportunity to work on specific techniques with experienced coaches. 

Making mistakes

Like any position on the soccer pitch, you're going to make mistakes. Embrace them, learn from them and quickly forget them so you can become a better goalkeeper. 

Proper positioning

Have a pivot in the centre of the goal and imagine you are tied to it with an imaginary rope.

You'll stand in a position that is perfectly in line with the attacker and the imaginary rope.

This means that your position always narrows the angles for the attacker. You just need to stay focused, think about your planted foot and use your physical strength to make a save. 

About the Author Jonny


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