Fundamental Youth Soccer

Surviving as a coach of a club team without a Goalkeeper Coach

Hervi Rualo USSF ‘C’ Licensed
And FUNdamental GK Staff Advisor

Not every club coach has the luxury of having a goalkeeper coach on their staff. Since I started training goalkeepers about 20 years ago, players have often expressed their frustrations on not getting enough training as goalkeepers during their club training sessions. Goalkeepers at all level have always expressed their desire to be trained by a knowledgeable and qualified goalkeeper coach. If you ask around the league, teams with goalkeeper coaches are the exception rather than the rule. So the question that most coaches struggle with is “How do I survive and compete during the soccer season without a goalkeeper coach?”

Here’s the simple answer. If no one else is available to coach the goalkeepers, then the responsibility and job is yours. As a coach we play a lot of roles: trainer, counselor, van driver, fundraiser, psychologist, etc. In a nutshell as coaches we want to get the job done and get it done right. Coaching goalkeepers is not much different. However, like being a fundraiser specialist, you need to know some basic things before you get started.

“Learning the basic techniques and using the proper terminology” is an important learning step. If you know nothing else about teaching goalkeepers, you should familiarize yourself with these 3 basic techniques: Stance, Catching and Diving. Also, learn the proper terminology used by goalkeepers. This will give you credibility when you’re working with keepers. The old saying “you may not be able to walk the walk but you have the ability to talk the talk” makes for an important teaching tool to have.

Compare goalkeeper training to you walking into a job knowing your position is very valuable but you don’t know anything and do not have the skills to get the job done right. Have I created a picture of fear yet? Then here comes a person who has been assigned to help you out but they are not comfortable with the subject matter. Your confidence will drop and your respect for the person assigned to help you will slowly but surely disappear in time.

Fear no more. The Goalkeeping licensing courses are available through your state associations. There are also numerous Goalkeeping Videos and Books on the market. As soon as time permits, enroll in a goalkeeper course. If you have a local High School, College or University near your area and their soccer team has a goalkeeper coach, ask the head coach if you can attend and observe their training sessions.

The Goalkeeping licensing course will show you how to teach the fundamental basic goalkeeping skills. The courses will deal with ‘how to’ organize training sessions that involve the keepers. This will promote a better team chemistry, and will improve the involvement of the keeper in defending and attacking. Most important of all, a training session involving the keeper will improve the goalkeeper’s awareness of team tactics and at the same time work on their field playing skills.

Lastly, a 30 to 45 minutes of goalkeeper training, once a week will greatly increase your goalkeeper’s technical skills through repetitive exercises on specific areas of concern involving shot stopping. Most of these once a week trainings should involve technical skill development. If you as a coach are hard pressed to find a separate training date for your goalkeeper, I suggest that you take one of your training sessions that week and work with your goalkeeper for the first 30 minutes of your scheduled training session. Let your assistant coach or one of your team captains lead the field players on their warm-up that day.

These once a week session with your goalkeeper will improve not only your goalkeeper’s skills, but will also improve the coach player relationship that you’ll have with your keeper. So take the first step to success and enroll in a Goalkeeping licensing course or purchase the FUNdamental Soccer – Goalkeeping book by Karl Dewazien. The book will get you started on the road to goalkeeping success!

FUNdamental Readers if you have any goalkeeper questions you would like covered? Please address them to: Hervis’ Hints.