How Can You Become the Best Goalkeeper for Your Soccer Team?

That's a big goal! - (Photo: En.wikipedia.org)

Playing goalie can actually be the most difficult and challenging position in the sport of soccer.  Some games you won’t have to make a single save, while in others you will be leaping left and right in desperation trying to block shot after shot.  Additionally, the reality of being the last line of defense can be quite mortifying.  When you make a mistake, it almost certainly can cost your team the game.  Everyone knows when the goalkeeper is at fault.  But for some reason, we still have people in this world who want to be goalies!  Well, here are some tips for success at the position:

Be confident in your abilities, no matter what.  The tricky thing I experienced as a goalie was overcoming a mistake.  Once you do something stupid, you begin to fear making more mistakes.  That leads to further mistakes and can ruin the fortunes of your team.  Instead, you need to completely forget about something the moment that it happens.  This can be very tricky, but it is vital for success, because everyone eventually makes mistakes.

Be aggressive.  Goalkeepers constantly have to make split-judgment decisions in a soccer match.  Should you run out to try and dispossess a striker and close his shooting window?  Or should you wait for your defender to close down and prepare yourself to be ready.  You need to be on your tiptoes at all times.  Momentum can change in an instant, and an offensive corner kick can turn into a panicked defense of a counter-attack in less than 10 seconds.  Always be ready and make a decision quickly and go with it strongly.

Also, take control of your position.  The goalie is basically in charge of the defense.  He or she can analyze the pitch from the back.  When you see an opposing striker lurking by your backline, make sure that the defenders know they are there.  From your vantage point, you can see the game clearer than anyone else on the field.

When it comes to defending corner kicks or free kicks, take charge.  How many people do you want in the wall?  Organize them and don’t be afraid to yell.  Make sure everyone is marked and be ready to power through bodies to punch the ball away.  These are the trickiest of plays due to the number of people in your box, and amateur goalies often struggle to deal with these matters.  Remember, you are the one who should take charge.

Lastly, simply practice and play.  Experience only comes through different experiences.  The more you play goalie, the better you will get.  You will have a greater command, you’ll minimize mistakes, and you’ll learn to deal with those mistakes better.  Goalkeeping can often be a head game for young players, and if they can get their head straight, they will be well on the path to success in the sport.  Finally, make sure that you enjoy the position.  It takes a special type of soccer player to really embrace the position of goalkeeper, and it isn’t for everyone.  But if it’s right for you, the journey through soccer as a goalie can be fantastic!


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