If there’s one tool that is not often spoken about in the world of goalkeeping, that thing is the sports bottle. Now something as simple as a sports bottle might not seem like something worth thinking about, let alone writing about - but you’d be wrong.
Let me break it down for you, then you can decide for yourself just how important it could be for your performance.
We all know how important staying hydrated is - especially mid-game. The main problem here is that too many keepers underestimate how important it is to have a constant supply of water available for whenever there is a break in play. The basic principle of staying hydrated is “little and often”.
Speed is key
Part of what makes a sports bottle so useful is perfect for using at speed, you can simply grab from the back of the goal, squeeze the water in your mouth and carry on. You don’t need to mess around with lids, screw tops, etc - which is especially difficult in gloves.
For goalkeepers this is especially important because you need to be constantly aware of everything that is happening in the game as this can make all the difference when it comes to the crunch.
Keeping your gloves wet
Too many keepers are spitting on their gloves to keep them moist. Not only is this a pretty bad way of keeping gloves wet, but it can also shorten the lifespan of your gloves.
I’m not sure why this is (or even if it’s true!). But some trainers and coaches say that the enzymes and bacteria in your spit can break down the latex faster and could actually help to dry the glove out faster - making the latex less effective at its job.
You’d be much better off just squeezing water from your sports bottle onto your gloves and getting a nice, even spread of moisture.
Hygiene is key
A squeezable sports bottle allows you to stay hydrated without mouth contact on the bottle. This is great if your defenders need to rehydrate quickly - you can be sure you won’t pass any unwanted nasties between you. Which brings me onto my next point...
Aids communication with your defenders
If your defenders know you’ve got water when they need it, you better believe that they will use it. This gives you - as a keeper who should be focusing on your leadership skills - to quickly huddle with your teammates and work on your strategy for the game. You really need to be able to direct your defenders if you see a gap opening up time and time again and having something that will bring them to you is a very handy tool.
As you can see, a seemingly simple thing can become a very useful tool that can make an measurable difference to your game. I’m not saying it will make a bad goalkeeper good, but it can definitely help give you an edge when the opposition keeper is fumbling over his screw top plastic bottle.