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Goalkeeping essential skills for juniors

Football goalkeeping requires a combination of physical, technical, and mental skills. There are several misconceptions about goalkeeping in football, here are some of the most common:

Goalkeeping is an easy position: This is perhaps the biggest misconception about goalkeeping. It is a demanding position that requires a combination of physical, technical, and mental skills. A goalkeeper needs to be able to make split-second decisions, anticipate the movements of the opposition, and communicate effectively with their teammates.

Goalkeepers are just shot stoppers: While shot stopping is a crucial part of a goalkeeper's role, there is much more to it than just making saves. Goalkeepers need to be able to organize their defence, communicate with their teammates, distribute the ball effectively, and play an active role in the team's tactics and strategy.

Height is the most crucial factor for goalkeepers: While height can be an advantage for goalkeepers, it is not the most important factor. Agility, reflexes, and decision-making skills are also important, and there have been many successful goalkeepers who are not particularly tall.

Goalkeepers are not good with their feet: While it is true that goalkeepers are not typically involved in the build-up play as much as outfield players, they still need to be able to use their feet effectively. In modern football, goalkeepers are often expected to be able to play the ball out from the back and start attacks.

Goalkeepers don't need to be fit: Goalkeepers need to be as fit as any other player on the field. They need to be able to move quickly, jump, and react to shots. A lack of fitness can lead to poor decision-making and mistakes, which can cost the team goals.

Here are some essential skills and practices we think are key to perfect goalkeeping:

  1. Footwork: Good footwork is essential for goalkeepers to move quickly and efficiently around the goal area. Practice diverse types of footwork, such as shuffling, side-stepping, and pivoting.

  2. Diving: Diving is a crucial skill for goalkeepers to make saves. Work on diving to both sides, as well as diving low and high.

  3. Positioning: A goalkeeper needs to have good positioning to be in the right place to make saves. Study the game and learn how to position yourself to cut down angles and make it difficult for attackers to score.

  4. Handling: Handling the ball well is important for goalkeepers. Practice catching, punching, and parrying the ball.

  5. Distribution: Good distribution skills allow a goalkeeper to quickly distribute the ball to their teammates and start counterattacks. Work on throwing, kicking, and rolling the ball accurately and with good technique.

  6. Communication: A goalkeeper needs to be a good communicator to direct their teammates and organize the defence. Practice communicating with your teammates during games and training sessions.

  7. Mental toughness: Goalkeeping can be a mentally challenging position, especially when mistakes are made. Develop mental toughness and the ability to stay focused and composed in high-pressure situations.

  8. Fitness: Goalkeepers need to have good fitness levels to be able to move quickly and react to shots. Include cardio and strength training exercises in your training routine.

  9. Game awareness: Being aware of the game situation is important for goalkeepers to make good decisions. Study the game and learn about different attacking styles, tactics, and strategies.

  10. Consistent training: Consistent training is important to develop and maintain good goalkeeping skills. Practice regularly and seek feedback from coaches and teammates to identify areas for improvement.

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