GK1 Goalkeeping Academy

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5 Tips to Become a Better Goalkeeper

Are you looking to become a better Goalkeeper?

A goalkeeper is often the loneliest person in any football game. And any mistakes are very costly, meaning you’ll be under heavy scrutiny or criticism if the ball passes you and lands in the back of the net.

So, if you want to become the next great goalkeeper, you need to know what to do (and when to do it).

Here are 5 of the simple goalkeeper tips to help keep the ball away from your goal and to get your team attacking on the front foot.

#1 - Ball Distribution

As the goalkeeper, you need to get the ball to your teammates as quickly and accurately as possible. That way, you can give them a real edge when it comes to transitional play on the field.

Rapid distribution from the goalkeeper will often bring about a counterattack putting the opposition on the back foot thus leading to a possible score.

Many attacking moves will often start with a throw or kick from the goalkeeper. Once you have saved or caught the ball, you need to scan upfield for your best options.

If you are throwing under arm, roll the ball out at a pace. It provides the right zip to give the counterattack some motion allowing the defender to run on to the ball. It also usually more accuracy than kicking.

Most goalkeepers sometimes lob the ball as far as possible, especially when there are no safe passes on, this gives your defense ample time to re-group and take a breather especially if they have been under constant pressure.

#2 - Command of The Penalty Area

As a goalkeeper, you must always know where you are standing in goal in relation to the position of the ball.

You should also be aware of the position of your defenders and the opposition. This is especially important with free kicks and corners. With corners I believe in having defenders on both posts, this effectively reduces the area you need to defend to about 6 yards not the full 8 yards width of the goal.

#3 - Communication

Communication is essential in all team sports, this is even more vital when you’re a goalkeeper, you need to talk with your defenders at training, before and throughout the game. You need to tell your defenders where you require them to position as well as make them aware of what is happening out of their line of sight.

You need to maintain proper communication, especially with free kicks and corners to avoid any misunderstandings that might lead to losing the ball.

Child and adolescent counsellors, Thinking Families, explain that these communication skills also benefit kids off the field. They explain “the communication skills that children learn on the field can help to create more effective communicators off the field. This is a valuable life skill that can impact adult life, so this is a great skill for young goalkeepers to work on.”

#4 - One-on-One Situations

1v1‘s are possibly the most common save young goalkeepers get wrong, they are often caught between coming out and staying back to defend their goal.

When the opposition attacker outruns your defenders or beats the offside trap and finds himself with a clear line to the net the goalkeeper has to assess the situation and decide to either come out, jockey for the ball, block the ball or perform a smother dive at the players feet.

Whatever the choice you must stay on your feet as long as possible when and if you see the slightest error on the strikers part you need to act immediately, if no error is made stay upright, get low and jockey, the closer the striker is to you the lower you need to be with both palms out wide with arms in front of your knees. No matter which defensive position you take, the moment the foot strikes the ball you need to be set with both feet firmly planted, if you are still moving you can not react and usually end up falling backwards.

Sydney SEO writer Alexander Porter is also a goalkeeper and explains “if you get off your feet too early, they will make their mind about where to shoot and will also have a bigger space to shoot. You can crouch as low as possible and react as well as get your hands down so you can be able to save a shot that goes to the side.

#5 - Corner Kicks

The position you choose when a corner kick happens will depend on whether a left or right-footed player is kicking the ball.

You must be aware if it will be an in-swinger or an out-swinger, this will dictate your vertical position in goal. You should be slightly positioned back of center for all corner kicks, as it is easier to run forward than backwards.

If the ball is in-swinging, you should move closer to the goal to protect it. If the ball is out-swinging, you can stand a little further away from the goal, at least 3 or 4 meters. Make sure you are ready to catch the ball at the highest point with arms slightly bent in front of your eyes whilst facing the kicker.

As a goalkeeper, you have a huge advantage over other players because you have a greater reach and you can use your hands. Make sure your thumbs are behind the ball in a classic “W” formation, so it is secure and always come out with your “field side” knee raised for protection as well as extra elevation.

Are you looking to improve your ‘keeping skills this year?

Chat to the team from GK1 Goalkeeping academy to find out more!

Written by: Nicholas Sutherland

Edited by: Rocco Travierso

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    Josef Turvey (12) from Collingwood Park
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