“What are you doing?! Don’t you know you have to catch the ball?!”
April 25, 2022
This article was written by Sean Connors, Rush Soccer’s Global Goalkeeping Director
One of the Rush GK Program Standards is that coaches must work to create a safe environment for the goalkeepers. This is specific to the GK Coach but also holds true for the team coach as their interactions with the goalkeeper carry significant weight. The team coach is there on game day and typically makes decisions about play time. Interactions on game day, and managing the emotions highs and lows, can impact the GK’s performance in both the short and long run.
The reality is that every Goalkeeper will make a mistake. Every Goalkeeper will let a ball in their goal. How Goalkeepers handle this setback will define their success. Work with each Goalkeeper to handle their emotions and work to be as even as possible. Never allow the Goalkeeper to get too high or too low. Instead ALWAYS focus on learning from the movement and moving on to the next save.
Game day is special to the players, coaches and fans and what we do and say as coaches can have a direct impact on all participants. Here are some tips to help you and your GK have a successful game day:
Create a routine. This starts with consistent communication. If there are two GKs on the team, establish how play time will be decided, and if it changes game to game, establish when, where, and how they will be told.
Warm up. Ideally there is a GK coach available to take the GK through their game day warm up. If not, work to figure out how the GK will be properly warmed up. Is it the head coach stepping away from the team? Is it the other GK on the team? Is it one of the bench players? There are pros and cons to each scenario. The key is to make it consistent so the GK knows exactly what is coming their way game to game.
Coaching the GK during the game. There is no special formula for speaking to a GK during the game. They are players just like everyone else. However you have to take into account key physiological information into consideration:
They are special to coach
They define the game – Win or Lose
They are always under pressure
They emotionally crave success
Their mistakes are easily observed
They are an easy target for criticism
Their life has Highs and Lows
They suffer constantly Changing Self-Esteem
When coaching the GK during the game try to stay positive. Reinforce the next save mentality. Help the GK to diagnose what went wrong for them, how they can improve for the next action, and give them continued support and belief.
Common coaching language myths!
“If you can get two hands on the ball, you should catch it.”
Yes and no. Being able to get two hands on a ball gives the GK the opportunity to catch the ball. Take into account the pace of the ball, the movement/knuckling of the ball or even the GKs ability to see the ball. Also take into account the skill of the goalkeeper. Are they able to catch the ball consistently to start with? If not then there should not be an expectation to execute the skill consistently during a game.
“You need to catch every ball if it goes into the six yard box.”
This is not a realistic expectation. The statement doesn’t take into account the pace of the ball, type of service, traffic in the box, skill level, and most importantly exact location of the service. There is a big difference between a ball floated middle six and a ball whipped near post with pace. Be mindful of those differences when speaking with your goalkeeper and setting unrealistic expectations.
“You can never get beat near post.”
Hate to say it, but getting scored on near post will happen to all GKs even at the highest level. The real issue is about the GKs starting position making sure they are in the ball line to protect the goal. Then the GK must be disciplined to protect the goal first and not cheat to defend a potential cross. If the GK moves early to defend the cross and then is scored on at the near post, the GK must be taught to be patient.
To wrap it up, I believe the Rush Goalkeeping Curriculum says it best: “The coach must work to create an environment that is safe for the GK to train and make mistakes. The reality is all Goalkeepers will let in goals, especially during training when they see shot after shot. Work with them to be ok in those moments by focusing on learning from the goal and then moving on to the next save”
This drill is designed to help you improve your ball control. This is a great drill to help you develop the ball control that will enable you to cut and change direction quickly. Goal: When you reach the point of being able to do whatever you want with the ball; you will have more fun playing the game.
Speed on your feet is something really important for a soccer player on and off the ball. In this work out we will challenge your speed. 7 exercises to perform as fast as you can. Are you the fastest FITTER player? Let us know! Have fun!
Rush Soccer has 11 core values. These core values are more than great words, are behaviors that we commit to and that we expect others to show as well. These are Respect, Unity, Safety, Humility, Tenacity, Empathy, Advice, Leadership, Enjoyment, Accountability, and my favorite Passion! Learn about Passion with this video and find them all in the word puzzle below!
And here we are! Last week of our program. Now is time to check how much you improved after working hard and consistently through these weeks. Go through the work out early in the week and finish strong by doing the fitness test. Let us know your results! We are looking forward to knowing how you did!
Are you ready? We are going to need your full attention! Concentrate, pay attention to the details and find the seven differences! Send us a screenshot and show us where they were! But hey! Shhhh… Don’t let the others know!