Keeping it Real – It’s not just about saving a ball…

I have just finished reading a post by one of our former coaches, Andy Elleray(now a performance analyst in the premiership), which he goes on to discuss, using facts and figures, that goalkeeper coaches must have more in their training plans than just training for saving goals.


Yes, OK that is what a goalkeeper is there for, to stop the balls from hitting the back of the net, so you’d expect that most of the time coaching would be to dedicate to catching and saves. This is certainly apparent in initial training courses for up and coming coaches that are dedicated to handling and diving. However, I would agree that such a course is beneficial for new keepers to the game and those needing to improve the basics. Although as the keeper gets older and progresses the training must then consider the wider picture.

That was the reason why we assessed in many different areas in our recent assessment at the Academy, to look at (but not limited to) diving, handling, positioning, fitness, confidence, communication, kicking, distribution and even dribbling skills. For a Goalkeeper has to be proficient in more areas than ever before.

Take distribution, a key area we looked at and as Andy’s analysis shows this is a big component of real life for a Goalkeeper as it could equate to 70-80% of their time in a match situation. 

So yes training needs to cater for a larger variety of skills now. It doesn’t mean that we now spend more time focussing on distribution, as all skills are important. But also it goes even further than this that training must consider the requirements and situations that present themselves in a football match -Always ‘keeping it real’.

I saw an article in FourFourTwo of a coaching senario with Joe Hart, that I have since seen coached, where a goalkeeper has their back to the Server and only turns to face the server when the coach tells them to. They then have to make a last minute decision as the server also volleys the ball in on the call (to turn).

I understand the idea of this as the Goalkeeper has to react quickly and it could perhaps improve their reactions. But my issue is that when ever in a match does a Goalkeeper have their back turned like this? Could we perhaps change it that the Goalkeeper is on the floor and has to jump up on command to catch a ball served to say for a high catch, or to the other side of the goal, as rebounds and Goalkeeper reactions to this as a follow up save, is more life-like?

The final part then to ‘keeping it real’ would be that if you train for life-like situations you can then get the Goalkeeper to write them down as an ‘imagery script’ and train their mind ready for a game in which such senarios may present themselves. The Goalkeeper then has an idea of what they need to do, as they have a script imprinted in their mind and they have also then trained for such situations…

Keeping it real – What do you think?


Posted on Wed 08 February 2012, in Goalkeeper Coaching, Goalkeeper Development, Goalkeepers, Performance Analysis, Psychological Development, Psychology, Worcester Goalkeeper Academy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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