Strikers get the best view on the pitch of their teams soccer goalie bailing them out with save after save! It is tough to argue that goalkeepers have the most difficult job on the pitch and the ones that have the most affect on the outcome of the game. Becoming a top goalie takes a certain breed of person who doesn't shy away from the big stage and can step up when their team needs them most. Because of the pressure of the position that exists already tryouts for this position can be twice as nerve wracking knowing that your every little move is under a microscope and one misstep or unlucky bounce can be the difference between you making the team or going home with just a story.
If you've ever wanted to know what it takes to be a top goalkeeper at the highest level and how to perform at tryouts to get you on those elite rosters then you've come to the right place. If you're dying to get some training in and nobody is available then have a read below on some of the best ways to get in a keeper specific workout on your own, we will all have moments where training in the team environment isn't available (pandemic cough cough) so we have to get creative and keep the grind going. Drills, skills, tips and advice to become a top soccer goalie, let's get to work.
1. Dealing With High Balls - Whether it is a cross being whipped in, a throw ball in the air or a drop kick from the other keeper that is coming your way your ability to be able to confidently deal with high balls is crucial. A soccer goalie that is affective at this skill not only has the strength, agility and calm hands to time the catch perfectly but also the confidence that they can retrieve any ball in their box. Reading the flight, speed, spin and height of the ball are all split second decisions that need to be made for you to master this critical skill.
2. Dives - Whether it's diving forwards, to the side or backwards being competent with all of your dives both high and low play an important role in your success as a keeper. Exploding in every direction while maintaining your balance and body control is what separates highly athletic goalies with talent from pro's with perfect technique. Taking time to work on your technique as a soccer goalie is something you should be doing everyday even if it's in your bedroom floor just going through the different motions.
3. Clearances - You see it even at the highest levels every weekend when a soccer goalie tries to do too much when clearing the ball will do the trick. Some make mistakes because they aren't comfortable clearing the ball with both feet or other parts of their body, get used to clearing danger with one time clearances with both feet from all different angles along with your head too. Sometimes keepers think they have more time than they do or that every one of their passes has to be some perfect magical ball, just clear the ball as far as you can if you're unsure and chalk it up to one less chance the opponent has to score.
4. Side Volley - An accurate side volley the length of the field to one your strikers can be one of the most lethal forms of a counter attack from point A to point B in seconds. You need to concentrate in aiming the ball to where your player is going to be not where they are, this way you can lead them to collect the ball in their stride without having to stop and wait for the ball. Having a pointed foot, with a locked ankle and an angle of contact that comes from the side are all crucial techniques in perfecting an affective side volley to catch your opponents off guard.
5. Throwing (Short & Long) - We've all seen goalkeepers start the attack for their teams with accurate long throws or short leading ones to prime the first stage of the teams attack. This goes to show how important your decision making when distributing with your hands really is, there are several different techniques you need to have in your arsenal to distribute the ball both in the air and on the ground that take years of practice. Over the head, side arm or long getting out before training and working on your throws as a keeper are vital for you to develop your all around game.
1. Keep It Simple Early - Whether it's a goalkeeper only training session, a finishing session or a team scrimmage you're going to want to ease into the first exercises and not try and take too many risks that can burn you and build a poor first impression. You try and dribble out of the back or put too much flare on a save that leads to a goal the coaches could right you off then and there. On the other hand if you make some solid saves, make no mistakes and look solid you will start to build some momentum during your tryout that will open the door to a couple spectacular moments down the road. Stick to the basics, play safe and every once in a while towards the end of practice try that low risk, high reward save or pass.
2. Talk To Calm The Nerves - Without any doubt you will be a nervous wreck when trying out so try communicating on the field and organizing the team to shake off some of those nerves. Not only will it look good that you're a communicator and an organizer of the team but also it will help you internally as well.
3. You Aren't The Center Of The Universe - The coach of the team has a hundred different problems to worry about this week including his current players, his own contract, family life, health and the list goes on and on. Just because you're trying out don't think that they are looking at your every second of every training session, you are one small insignificant dot in their training session, when you start thinking like that hopefully it should calm you down and allow you to relax and just play.
1. Causing Your Own Problems - If you're not going to make the team let it be because the coach thinks you're not quite ready and you need to work on certain things and not because you shot yourself in the foot. You want to leave the tryout saying I did everything in my power and it didn't work out because of finances, or they have too many keepers or I need to work on this, this and this. If you made some bone head mistakes like dribbling out of the back you'll never know which part of your game needs to work because you'll think the only reason you didn't make it is because of that error.
2. Playing Outside Of Your Game - If you're a shot stopper than be that, if you're great at dealing with crosses and high balls focus on that and if you have fantastic distribution skills than excel at that. Don't try and be something that you're not and get yourself into trouble, stick to what you know you're good at and excel at that part of your game. Too often keepers try and do things that didn't get them to the tryout in the first place and ruin their chances of making the team, stick to the basics and what you know will bring you success.
3. Hurting Other Players - There's a good chance the team you're trying out with has several established players and a team who may be preparing for their season. The last thing you want to do is come in there as the new guy and start whacking and injuring players the coach is relying on for the upcoming games. Not only will everyone look at you like you're crazy but the coach might be so fed up with you and whoever brought you here that they don't pay attention to you the rest of the tryout or just send you home then and there.
1. Use A Wall - Every driven players best friend. When you're forced to train on your own grab a ball and use a wall as a rebounder to work on your reaction time, your hands, your first touch, clearances, dives and anything else where a ball is coming your way. The more comfortable you get move closer to the wall to increase your reaction time needed. Simply standing in ready position and drop kicking the ball against the wall back to you and catching it with both hands 100 or so times a day will get you sharp and prepared for whatever is ahead of you that week.
2. Technique Shadowing - Rehearsing your soccer goalie technique whether it's in the family room, kitchen or bedroom is a great way to keep that muscle memory and technique sharp. Training the mind to do the same movements over and over again is a critical step in keeping the rust off of your game.
3. Distribution - Getting a bag a balls, going to a nearby field and working on all your different types of distribution requires nothing but a couple of balls and some motivation. Work on both feet from the ground, side volleys and throwing it with your hands. These technical aspects can be worked on daily and the beauty is you don't need anyone else to get better at it.
4. SAQ - Sprints, speed ladders and lateral movements are all critical soccer goalie physical elements we all need. So if it's a day away from the team and you need to get some work in on the physical side of the game getting in a SAQ (speed, agility and quickness) workout in can be incredibly beneficial to your overall game.
5. Strength Training - Strength is the foundation that every great goalkeeper sits on. From the explosion of their movements, holding off players in the air and injury prevention implementing a strength workout plan all on your own is a must if you have dreams of playing at Barcelona one day.
If you're looking for more soccer goalie drills you can do on your own or with a group feel free to find the Top 10 Best Keeper Drills right here.
Have you ever heard of a goalie names Chilavert before? Jose Luis Chilavert was a Paraguayan soccer goalie who was an absolute maniac on the pitch. One thing he did do for his team though is take penalty kicks and all free kicks and scored them at an incredible rate. If you think you could be your teams set piece taker then prove to the team and your coach that you're the guy for the job by showing them what you have at training, you wouldn't be the first.
Of course! Not with their hands though. It's common late in matches when a team is down to send the keeper forward on a late free kick or corner kick sent into the box to try and get on the end of it. It has happened before at the highest level and causes a lot of confusion and panic in the box for whatever reason, look up some soccer goalie goals and you will be blown away by what you see.
Depending on the coach and the system they play a keeper can be asked to play a high line in behind the center backs acting as a sweeper to clear the ball well outside their own penalty area. Of course keepers can't touch the ball with their hands outside the penalty area but it's common now more than ever for keepers to play well off of their line and assist in building up the play and making clearances at midfield. If you want to watch a pro do it better than anyone ever before then have a a look at Manuel Neuer and you'll see what I mean.