Dan Naden

Seven Resolutions for Exceptional Soccer Goalkeeping

Strong, consistent goalkeeping can often make the difference between a disappointing result and victory. I have a dream that you or a goalkeeper you know will see steady, demonstrative improvement every time you step on the field.

Why do ‘resolutions’ only have to be in favor at the beginning of the year?

The Seven Resolutions for Soccer Goalkeeping

  1. Take charge of your defense: Getting on the same page with your defense relating to formation, communication and desire can be a game-changer. Don’t be afraid to offer bold and direct instruction – you are in charge.

    You won’t reach the upper 90 of the goal to make the save unless you master the fundamentals.
  2. Come off your line with purpose: Staying on your line on a breakaway gives the attacker a huge advantage – a wide, juicy target with which to attempt a shot on goal. Instill doubt in the opposition by cutting off the angle in a hurry.
  3. Keep possession: Many goalkeepers, especially at the youth level, collect the ball and immediately punt it. It’s as if the ball is a ticking time bomb. When your team has possession, you have a chance to score and the other team does not. Make smart, thoughtful decisions when distributing the ball from the back.
  4. Pay attention on set pieces: Free kicks and corner kicks are always dangerous. They give the opposition a chance to put the ball in your net. Prepare in advance – with your defense – on the formations and strategies to keep the ball away from danger.
  5. Get in great shape: The best goalkeepers aren’t there because they tired of the endurance required as a field player. The best goalkeepers are often the best conditioned athletes on the team, exhibiting strength, agility, flexibility, and stamina. My brother, who was an exceptional goalie in his prime, won every full field sprint by a wide margin. When it was time for the two mile run, I always finished in the Top 5 on the team.
  6. Demonstrate superb ball skills: Watch any high-level soccer match and you’ll be surprised by how often the goalkeepers have the ball at their feet. Work arduously at dribbling, passing and ball control because you might need those skills with the game on the line. 
  7. Stay athletic and in position: Despite a keeper’s best efforts, some goals are just unavoidable. Most, however, occur because:
    a) the keeper wasn’t ready in an athletic position
    b) the keeper was out of position, taking the wrong angle on a shot or cross
    c) the defense wasn’t properly aligned.

    Using firm, consistent communication and a keen sense of positioning, and you’ll see your goals against average drop like a rock. Most important, you’ll have the most fun you’ve ever had as a goalkeeper.

Always Goalie Ready,

Dan Naden

 

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