Right and wrong?

Apparently people actually read these, so it's long overdue for a new one!

We have different coaches at IGA, with varied backgrounds and coaching styles. What one coach says may be different to what another says... this can be confusing for young goalkeepers. Does that mean one of the coaches is wrong?

To answer this, think about Man City. Their last two keepers, Bravo and Hart, are completely different in terms of playing style. Clearly as young goalkeepers, their training had different focuses. Does that mean one is good and one is bad? Absolutely not, they both have their own strengths and weaknesses. 

Take a basic technique, such as punting the ball. Some coaches are set that the drop kick is the only option to use (I can't get on board with this, personally). Others promote the sidewinder kick, and others believe in more of a straight-on, American football style punt. Different styles tend to work better for different players based on gender, physique and so on. The more techniques you are coached on and try, the more chance you have to find the best fit for you. 

At the end of the day, if you a/ keep the ball out of the net and b/ can get the ball to your team mates... you're probably doing it right. 


Dealing with wind.

Spring and fall in Indiana can see some windy days, with gusts blowing across the field and causing mayhem for goalkeepers who aren't engaged in the game. What are some of the considerations for a goalkeeper?

1. Know which way the wind is blowing.. and don't assume it won't change direction! (Corner flags are a great way to tell this).

2. Shots with the wind behind them will travel at great speeds. Be prepared to parry/deflect away, vs catching. Conversely, shots against the wind will die, so you may need to attack the ball.

3. Consider your starting position on the field. When the opposition is playing against a strong headwind, they will struggle to play long balls. As your team mates step up and pressure, so your starting position will become higher up the field. Be ready to sweep up balls that don't carry to you!

4. On set pieces, adjust your starting position as necessary. Will a corner kick have a crosswind behind it? Maybe drop back a yard deeper than usual. Is an inswinging free kick going to have the wind behind it? Get those heels back to your goal line.

5. How will your distribution be affected? Punts against the wind will hang, so is a throw or roll a better option? Think about these possibilities before they happen.

Good luck, keepers!


We spent a great session indoors on Sunday working on communicating with our defenders. So many field coaches complain that their goalkeeper doesn't talk enough, but little time or focus is ever given to teaching this skill. As a recap for all the keepers who were there, here is what we looked at:

1/ An attacker has the ball in front of the defender.. we call the defender's name, and tell them to step (to pressure the ball). Secondly, we tell the defender which way to force the attacker - we were typically forcing out, trying to take the attacker away from goal.

2/ With a second defender, we would tell them to "pinch in" or "tuck in" to the middle, to give cover. This was done after ensuring we had pressure on the ball.

3/ In a 2 attacker/2 defender situation, we did all of the above. In addition, if the attackers passed the ball square, we told the covering/second defender to step and pressure the ball.

If a defender got their attacker facing away from goal, we tell the defender to "get tight", and not allow the attacker to turn.

All of this was done loudly, clearly and early. It was awesome to see our ten year keepers directing play in front of them! As fun as it is to save shots, it makes life a lot easier when we can organize the play so we don't have to hit the ground as much.

Let it snow..

Playing soccer in Indiana has many challenges, especially during the winter. Cold weather and snow are major issues for a goalkeeper to deal with - here are a few tips to help you survive the elements!

1. Dress appropriately. To perform, you still need to be able to move, so a big winter coat probably isn't a great idea. Several thin layers will help keep you warm, and allow for full movement.

2. Keep active. You should always be moving in goal as you adjust your positioning, but knee tucks can help keep the body prepared for more explosive movements. Also, keep fingers and toes moving!

3. Warm up properly. It may not be appealing to be diving in snow, but if you don't get fully loosened up in warm up, then you put yourself at risk of injury once the game starts.

4. Use halftime to get warmth back into your hands. Replace GK gloves with regular gloves, and either use hand warmers, or hold a warm beverage to get the blood flowing into those digits again.

5. While playing... don't let snow accumulate in your cleats. Bang them on the post to clear snow and mud; it will help avoid slippage. 

6. When taking goal kicks, try to clear an area for both the ball and your plant foot, to reduce the risk of slipping when you strike to ball. 

Best of luck out there!


The whistle blows, the referee places the ball on the spot. Too many times, goalkeepers take it for granted that the penalty taker has the advantage. Wrong! The expectation is that the player taking the kick should score. As goalkeepers, we should do all we can to increase the pressure that is already on them... but how?

Firstly, the longer they wait, the better. This isn't to say we should deliberately time-waste, but we also should not be standing on the line, waiting. Let the taker be first to get into position, then move to your line. Body language is important here - this is your box, your area! Keep your head up, and move with purpose. Don't avoid eye contact.. if the forward looks at you, smile and wink. It suggests you know something they don't!

When you're on your line, you want to place doubt in their mind, and there are many different ways to do this. Starting off-center, pointing in one direction, and moving laterally on your line are all tactics to try and influence the kicker to suggest you're favoring one side or the other. 

Another time, we will look at the technique of saving penalties.. for now, try to win the battle before the ball is kicked. If you get stuck for ideas, you could do worse than get ideas from former Liverpool keeper Bruce Grobbelaar!

Goalkeeper Communication

Coaches are always hammering goalkeepers to communicate, but sometimes forget that communication is learned just like a technique. We don't expect our keepers to be able to make a diving save without coaching, so why should communication be any different?

Hopefully we are all aware that a call is needed when we are claiming a ball - "Keeper!" Loud, clear, and early. On any cross/corner/free kick when we are not in a position to get the ball, "Away" lets our defenders know the ball is their responsibility. 

As we gain experience, it's necessary to start organizing our back line when we can recognize problems. "Step up", "Drop", "Slide left", and "Slide right" get our defenders moving as a unit in front of us. Sometimes we need to communicate with a single player. If that is the case, we need to use their name first, then an instruction. For example, "Bob, step up." 

Remember, we are communicating, not commentating. Keep your instructions loud, clear, and concise. The more you use your brain and mouth, the cleaner your uniform will be at the end of the game (hopefully)!