EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Help! None of my players will go in goal

QUESTION

How do I get one of my players to want to play in goal? When I put players in goal they either cry or won’t pick up the ball…

ANSWER

The position of goalkeeper is a hard one to fill for many youth soccer coaches. It often seems as though every player wants to be a striker. Or a defender. Anything but the ‘goalie. Why is that? And what can we do about it?

1. ‘I don’t want to go in goal because…I’m afraid of letting the team down.’

Attackers, midfielders and defenders can all get away with making the occasional mistake but if a ‘keeper drops the ball in front of an attacker, scuffs a goal-kick or lets a shot go through her legs…well, you know what happens next. ! For a child, the fear of letting the team down is a powerful disincentive to go in goal.

2. ‘I don’t want to go in goal because…everyone will laugh at me!’

There are plenty of gleeful ‘Top Ten Goalie Mistakes’ videos on YouTube. ! Strangely, there aren’t so many ‘Top Ten Striker Mistakes’. ! It’s no wonder young players are put off going in goal when they read about and watch a famous goalkeeper’s career crumble in a second.

3. ‘I would want to go in goal if…I got the right coaching’.

It’s not surprising that young goalkeepers make mistakes – many youth soccer coaches never give their players any goalkeeper training. Some coaches say that’s because they don’t have the time and some say they don’t know how. But we should all devote some time in every coaching session to our ‘keepers. If you don’t know how to teach basic goalkeeping find a coach who does or check out the tips on footy4kids. Search for ‘goalkeeping’ on this page. I’ll also share one of my favourite goalkeeper practice plans in the next edition of Premium.

4. ‘I would want to go in goal if…I could wear some smart kit!’

Don’t make your ‘keeper wear old, dirty gloves and a top that’s seen better days. Buy and use a really top notch goalie kit. A bright top, warm trousers and some good quality gloves will make whoever plays in goal feel good about themselves.

5. ‘I would want to go in goal if…I wasn’t blamed when the other team scored’.

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