- Save shots in the 100% save zone – the best goalkeepers ‘save the saveable’ shots!
These are the balls which are hit straight at them or one big stretch either side of them. The balls hitting the side boards are bonus saves.
It’s important to remember this when you train, improving your shot stopping technique is far more important than training the ‘Hail Mary’ dive saves which we see on social media all the time.
- Dominate the 9 yard area and base line – Winning the battle in this zone is crucial!
The world’s best make accurate, split second decisions and move off their line quickly to close down, clear or intercept.
Remember, the closing down technique is important but making a quick decision and getting close to the ball is more important. You can have the best closing down technique in the world but if you aren’t close enough to the ball and player, you will be in no mans land and not in a position to make a reflex or closing down save.
- World Class at PCs – The teams most likely to win Olympic or World Cup gold medals are the ones with the best PC attack and PC defence.
These top teams have focused PC defence training sessions working hard on ensuring good first wave running lines and top stoppers on the post. Analysis plays an important role too ensuring that the PC defence has the attacking variations covered.
Don’t underestimate the importance of PC defence training and ensure that your defenders are properly protected when you train.
Lastly, at PCs, remember to WATCH THE BALL ensuring that you are 100% focused on the ball and not the drag flickers stick, the attackers or your runners.
- Precise Communication and Game Management– Great goalkeepers manage the players in front of them with authority, giving precise information with a controlled (and not a frantic) tone.
Knowing the game plan is important and remember that you are the only player who can see the full field. Ensure that you lead the team from the back and that your communication at PCs is with authority. Remember that calling players just for the sake of it leads to the players in front of you losing interest in your calling. Be precise, call the players name and then give him or her succinct information in a controlled tone. Tone is important, players don’t want to hear their goalkeepers panicking!
- A Short Memory – The top goalkeepers put mistakes or soft goals behind them quickly and get on with the game not letting negative moments affect their performance.
Often, when a goal goes in, less experienced goalkeepers make the mistake of going quiet and spend to much attention on the goal conceded as opposed to planning for the next circle entry or shot. Try practicing this at training!
- Good Team Players Off the Pitch – For some strange reason, goalkeepers are often considered a little crazy!
My belief is that goalkeepers need to bring some real energy and personality to the group. Don’t go overboard, but have some fun!