It may come as a shock to a lot of people, but being a goalkeeper is actually relatively simple. Many people, either keepers desperate to learn the ‘secrets’ of becoming the best keeper they can be or parents trying to push a coach to teach their child the “advanced training”.
The myth: There are “Secret training techniques” only used by the professionals.
The home truth is that there is no secret advanced training out there that magically takes a keeper from zero to hero. In fact, goalkeeper training stays pretty much the same throughout a keepers career. Whether you’re a professional or just starting out, you’ll be practicing pretty much the same stuff. The difference is that the professionals train these training drills at higher a pace and shot strength which requires higher levels of physical fitness and greater command of technique.
This might seem unfortunate to some people but there are two ways to look at it:
You can see this as a negative - No, there isn’t a “magic bullet” that will help you make huge differences in your ability as a keeper. The training stays the same no matter the level. Bad news if you’re not comfortable training at your current level.
Or, you can see this as a HUGE positive! The training stays the same no matter the level - this means if you are comfortable and successful with your training at your current level, then you should have no problem moving onwards and upwards with your goalkeeping career. Of course, you have to stand out from the crowd and only the best keepers will ever make it to the top level of the game BUT you already know the steps to get there, you train them almost every day.
The idea with training as a goalkeeper is to become as comfortable as you can with moving your body and putting it between the ball and the back of the net. You need to be able to make clean saves consistently. And by consistently I mean every time. As basic as some of the training may seem, you really need to master these basics and become extremely proficient in them and develop the necessary muscle memory.
Muscle memory is incredibly important to keepers. You have to be able to react in a split second. That's when all those countless hours of "simple" training kick in and you find yourself making the save. Remember, one mistake and you've potentially lost your team the game - that's the nature of the position.
Once you have built up your muscle memory and you can make the save over and over again, you and your coach can take it up a level by increasing the pace and strength of the ball, include more aggressive angles, decrease the time between shots to reduce setup time, etc.
Obviously, this all comes with time, but just watch any professional keepers train and you’ll see that they all do the same thing.
So if you’re a keeper wondering what you’re doing wrong, then you just need to strip back your training and really focus on those basic principles - footwork, goal positioning, hand positioning and get them nailed. Then start ramping up the difficulty level and you’ll start seeing improvements.
Of course, this all takes time and it’s reason amazing keepers aren’t made overnight.
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