Coaching & training goalkeepers

Team trainings are necessary in developing the tactical skills a goalkeeper needs. It also enables the goalie to become an integral part of the teams defence and makes the defence trust his directions. cialis pills But the team training is not fit to train the specialist technical skills a goalkeeper needs. It is therefore imperative for the development of the goalkeeper that he receives specialised training to improve these skills. These specialist trainings require a special kind of coach who can bring out the best in his pupils.

What is a Goalkeeping Coach?
There are a lot of answers to the above question. In short it can be said that a GK coach is someone who facilitates the development and improvement of a goalkeeper both physically/technically and mentally. This sounds like two different fields, but in practice these are interwoven at the base of everything a goalkeepr does.

Contrary to a team coach who has a 1-on-many job, the GK coach has a 1-on-1 relationship with the goalkeeper. Even when training a group, you work with just 1 individual at a time. Therefore a GK coach must establish a bond of trust and friendship with his pupils. The goalkeeper must trust the coach to have his best interests at heart, but also not be afraid to speak his mind when he has a different view on things.

This bond is established not by just feeding balls, but by the way feedback is given, the GK’s ideas and views are discussed and by talking about the GK’s feelings about the team, the training and the games. In some occasions it can happen that during an entire training not a single ball is played because all the goalie needs is a good pep-talk and a venting of his frustrations and feeling.

The goalkeepers mental state
A goalkeeper has a special place in the team, this comes with special privileges and cool gear, but it requires a special mental state.
The GK can never be a match winner in the way an attacker can, but he can play a decisive role in the mental state of the entire team. A brilliant save can give the team the boost they need to turn the match in their favour. Also the GK must be ready for action during the entire game, not just physically, but also mentally. It can happen that a GK doesn’t have to do anything for the entire game, but must make a match winning save in the last minute. This requires a lot from the GK’s mental ability.

A GK coach must train his pupils to develop split second decision making, to never give up and be confident in themselves. A relaxed and controlled mind ensures relaxed and controlled movements.

The goalkeepers physical state
The specialist skills a GK requires demand a different physical state than that of his teammates. A thorough stamina base is required to be able to fulfil the full 70 minutes of a game as a GK is hardly ever substituted, but next to that core strength, sprint strength and quick recovery is needed.

Core strength is essential for a good ready position and explosive reflexes. Sprint strength is required because the short distances a GK needs to cover. And quick recovery is needed to be ready within a split second after each save.
The technical execution of the specialist GK skills must be trained by repetition and direct feedback. Repetition trains muscle memory and reduces reaction time, essential for any Goalkeeper. The feedback must prevent errors becoming habit.
The more control the GK has over his body, the better the execution of skills and the more controlled the movements will be.

Achieving your goals
To achieve the above states the GK coach must design his training sessions to the GK’s specific needs. The aim is to reduce the weak points and further improve the good points. Often GK-coaches concentrate too much on improving weak points, while further perfecting a GK’s strong points can prove a more solid alternative to substitute the weaker technique. For example: low stick/glove dive vs. splits.

The technique trainings are a means to give the GK confidence in his abilities and the feeling that he can save every ball. Drills with rebounds or extra attackers train the decision making abilities of a GK. Ask the GK to think of all the pro’s and con’s of different techniques to save a situation and show them in a drill. This is a very good method to enhance problem solving abilities.
The key is to push the GK to beyond his limits in a positive way, thus increasing his enjoyment of the game and making him want to be an even better Goalkeeper.

Becoming a GK coach
If you want to be a GK coach be ready to invest a lot of time. Watch games of your pupils to find their weak/strong points, research other keepers to see different styles, keep up to date with developments and set goals not only for your pupils, but for yourself as well.

Be creative when thinking up drills, don’t be afraid to use unconventional training aids. Make the drills realistic, designed to replicate game situations and suited to the level of play of the GK. Be critical to the way you are coaching to improve your didactical and psychological skills and make sure your hockey skills are up to the task.

But the most important thing is: Enjoy! There is nothing more rewarding then seeing one of your pupils making a world class save and leaving the pitch with a big smile on his face because he saved the championship.

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