Blog /

Friday, April 14, 2017

At training last night I was reminded of just how important confidence building is for our youngest goalkeepers and consequently how crucial it is to create a positive learning environment to help instill this confidence. The group was playing small sided games and one team had let up several goals in a short amount of time. Immediately after one of the goals, a teammate demanded “we need to switch goalkeepers!” as he attempted to take over in goal. The teammate was trying to do the right thing to help his team but, as you can imagine, the goalkeeper was very upset at the thought of being pulled out of the goal for making a mistake. You could see from his face he was upset. “We don't switch goalkeepers just because we let up a goal,” I said to the goalkeeper’s teammate. After a quick “good effort, that was a tough shot!” and high five to the young goalkeeper he said “thanks”, with a renewed confidence and a smile on his face. On my way home I thought back to that young goalkeeper. If I had let that moment pass by without giving him a quick bit of encouragement he might very well have shied away from playing in goal the next time for fear of making a mistake. Stepping into goal and taking on the challenge of keeping the ball out of the net takes a lot of courage, which is why it is so crucial that we are sensitive to the soccer environment we create for our young goalkeepers. At the early stages of goalkeeping, it is vitally important to allow players to work through their mistakes. Emphasizing their effort instead of their mistakes will help them build confidence in their own abilities and will help keep them wanting to play in goal. These moments are just as important as any technical or tactical training we can give them. Tom Director of Coaching Drive Goalkeeping