How to Coach Your Team’s Young Goalkeepers

Admin@ | July 12, 2017 | 0 | Soccer

While at least at a basic level all other positions can be coached and drilled similarly, most general drills are not helpful to one of your most important positions, your goalkeepers.

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Goalkeepers effectively play by a different set of rules, use a different set of techniques, and almost play a different game to the rest of the players on your team. So how can you effectively coach goalkeepers at a youth level?

Ensure Everyone is Clear on the Rules for Keepers

Obviously all of the players you are coaching need to know the rules of the game, but at a youth level, keepers often play by a different set of rules, even when compared to those just a year or two older or even those in a different league.

Many youth leagues place restrictions on how keepers can use their hands, and especially how they can get rid of the ball, so ensure that both you as a coach and your players are familiar with the set of rules that they are going to be playing under, not just the general rules of the game.

Focus on the Basics

It is always exciting to see a top goalkeeper make a one handed save, or maintain a lead through a daring dive, but these techniques are much more advanced than they seem, and can even be dangerous to young and inexperienced players.

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Instead of training one-handed saves, focus on where a player can hold their hands, and how to make catches safely and regularly. Make sure your players have access to the goalkeeper specific football team kits, like gloves from, even if just to minimise injury.

Keep Calm and Positive

Any player can be demotivated by negativity, but there is a lot of added pressure on goalkeepers, so it is very easy for a coach or teammate to inadvertently demoralise a young goalkeeper.

Make sure your warmups for goalkeepers emphasise skills the player has with only a few really difficult shots, instead of putting them in a position where they will fail more than they succeed before the game even begins.

More than that, make sure you, and the rest of the team, don’t fall into the habit of blaming the goalkeeper for goals scored against them. Nothing will destroy a player’s ambition faster than being blamed for every loss.

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