The fact that a goalie today must do much more than just prevent goals has already thoroughly been explained in the article “The Goalie Is The Game Decider”.
We should not, however, forget that a goalie must focus primarily on performing their specific function in the field. A playing goalie is not everything, because compared to the other players on the field he has a huge advantage: he is allowed to use his hands to control the ball and defend. Targeted, modern goalie training can only be successful if the coach knows the demands on a goalie.
Requirements of a good goalie
Footwork and hand use
The most important function of a goalie is the repulsion of shots on the goal, and of course, the headers. For this purpose, he not only uses his hands but good footwork is also required. However, he can also prevent shots on the goal if he perhaps participated in the game a short time beforehand.
He should be able to control flat, semi-high and high balls without using his hands.
Passing is not a problem for a goalie, with both legs of course. He learns this with pure, hard goalie training, and must be integrated into squad training.
Goal kicks and drops
The low and high punt must be controlled, as should the rolling and throwing of the ball. The days when a field player assumed the flat punt are over, because that player is now missing from the field as the open man.
Catch and flight
He should of course be able to catch. To be able to jump, fist and pike are additional goalie techniques. This also includes the interception of open spaces and the clearing of corner kicks.Unfortunately, many goalies use these attributes, including great pikes for the spectators. The modern goalie does not need this. He knows what he can do and does not need to prove himself. Repelling the ball slightly in a good positioned play is more important than a mad plunge.
Agility and bounce
A keeper should be mobile, have tremendous jumping ability and be able to assert themselves, things which of course demand a strong physique.
A goalie with weak reflexes is never a good goalie. Fast, adaptive responses to game situations are not just a matter of training or innate characteristics, but also of play practice, and the subsequent growing routine encourages these characteristics.
The goalie is the leader of the rearguard. Communicating and associated conducting are important tasks.
The eleventh field player
A goalie plays with and does not clear off the line. In this respect, he must adapt his position to the game at hand. He offers to pass and allows passes at the points of intersection of his defense. The goalie is the modern Libero and keeps playing, even when the game has become thoroughly risky. He initiates the attack and must be able to quickly switch position when losing possession of the ball, just like any fielder.
With positional play, a goalie always has the ideal coverage of the goal in mind. This includes very good orientation skills, an important component in coordination training. Not only, therefore, is coordination training important for goalies, but also just as important for an outfield player.
A goalie should be able to anticipate, even read a game. The only way to do this is through match practice; therefore he must be just as tactically trained as his teammates.
A goalie is also tackle strong and should be trained well for 1:1. He should exploit the advantage of being able to use his hands.
Even if a goalie is seldom or ever needed by superiority of his team, he must always be ready to prevent an opponent’s action. He can never switch off.
Focusing and leading
A goalie is always a leader and is accepted by the team. Through his immense desire to win and his focus on the game, he has the confidence of his team. The great goalies of this world have one thing in common: they are always focused, their body language and the perseverance of their voice impresses the team and opponents. Not least because most goalies go by the reputation of being a bit “crazy”.
Sauerzapf/Görtz thus summarized the requirements for the goalie in the German-TV-report “The new generation of goalies”:
Modern goalies need the reactions of the ‘youth’, the experience of the ‘old’, the appropriate physical conditions and the technical skills of a good soccer player.
Early targeted goalie training is a mistake
What can we learn from the list of requirements for a goalie? If we train the specific characteristics too early, a child or young person would never be a good goalie. In really good goalie training that may well not be true, but a goalie only becomes a goalie when he is constantly put in the field for a long time.
A targeted and solitary goalie training should not start before U12/U13. Therefore, a rotation should be held on the goalie position in children’s soccer, because no one knows if an eight year old, even after two or more years, is ready to stand on goal. On the other hand, the interest in the goalie position develops later and this is only possible if the child is used as a goalie. ‘Rotation’ is the magic word in goalie training and is often underestimated or falls victim to a fixed focus on results. Only children, who absolutely do not want to be a goalie, should not be forced.
Fear and pain are always bad, but it often comes down to how the coach ‘sells’ the goalie position.
Why does it still so often go wrong?
Make no mistake about it, it usually revolves around the result and the player we put on goal is the one who is best able to respond. Therefore it is not right, and it is worth it to entertain the thought of perhaps changing something.
It is also easier to specifically train a goalie, because the demands on modern goalie training are very complex. A goalie is an all-round player and that makes training so hard. It is not only important that the goalie is trained by his trainer or co-trainer, but equally important that the goalie deals with ‘real’ players, which means a lot of training in the composite team. Individual training is still very important, but modern goalie training has become much more diversified and comprehensive.