Following on our article on the art and science of goalkeeping, here are some of the goalkeeper training tips that I utilize with my students as well as what I think is the best goalkeeping equipment out there today:
I. Best Goalkeeper Training Tips
Drills to do Alone
One of the most important things for a goalkeeper to learn correctly is to dive. With a correct diving technique the chance at injury is far less and your football/soccer career can proceed longer. One drill that I have my students do is to put a ball in front of a post at the six yard box. Then put your hand on the far post, take two side steps and dive toward the ball. This will make you attack the ball and learn to land correctly. When you are comfortable with that, add another ball to jump over, and so on. Once one side is comfortable, switch sides and dive the other way.
Drills to do with Someone Else
Drills for a keeper are always easier with another person involved. Here you can incorporate the same drill as above, but have the other person kick it to the space. Once comfortable with that, have the person take full on shots while you dive over a ball or even another player on their knees to incorporate the power dive.
Handling and Catching
Catching a ball cleanly will help prevent any rebounds. The best drill for this is the simplest of all, just have another player kick a ball directly at you. Utilize the “W” technique for your hands (Thumbs together to create a W), and catch the ball cleanly. Once caught bring to your chest. For the low shots bring it in to your chest and fall on your arms. To incorporate catching and handling in your dive, make sure you catch the ball that is kicked or thrown to you and pin it to the ground.
In order to work on the footwork, a keeper must utilize everything they can to make the drill a success. Set up five balls about a foot apart, and another ball at an angle about five feet away. Small jumps over the balls, then once you land dive toward the ball at the angle. After a few times, switch sides and work on the other way.
This again is best utilized with another person that can throw the ball back to you, however you need to set up target areas to hit with your throws and kicks. If you are alone, then use the goal as your target and step out to midfield. Ideally you should be able to throw a ball just as far as you can kick it if doing it correctly.
Get the top scorers on your team and have them take shots from all over the 18 yard box. Then have them mix it up and try some break away shots. This will force you to work on your angles and also help you learn where the best angles are to where it becomes second nature to you during a match.
II. Best Goalkeeper Equipment
The best gloves on the market will all depend on your preference of companies. Adidas, Reusch, Nike and Puma all make great gloves. I have personally worn all of them and prefer Reusch as they are only a goalkeeping manufacturer. Try a few out and make your own decision.
One thing that many companies have started to do is finger protection, and I will be the first to say I do not like it. I have played with the finger protection and it actually taught me to deflect everything and catch nothing, thus having to learn again how to catch correctly. This is extremely overrated in my opinion. Underrated is the extra foam on the palm and fingers of gloves. This added protection will give you the ability to catch more and relieve the ‘sting’ of the shot. But much like the finger protection, too much and you will catch nothing because of a lack of feel for the ball.
Many of my players ask if they should wear long sleeves or short sleeves. This is a personal preference, but I prefer short sleeves. If you are diving correctly you should not need the long sleeves, but the pitch you are playing on can determine this answer. Hard ground with little grass you need long sleeves. Playing at Old Trafford I think you can manage short sleeves.
Shorts or Pants
Again a personal preference of how you feel. Shorts for me, unless training, is the only way to go during a game because the shorts give you more mobility. Depending on the pitch I would suggest shorts, but again if it is a hard ground with little grass you need more protection, so pants are the way to go. But 9 times out to 10 I say put on the shorts!
There are more drills that keepers can do to enhance their performance, these were just a few of my favorites that I utilized when I played and that I teach my keepers during training sessions.
The biggest factor is to learn how to push yourself into greater performance. Once you can find that threshold you will be able to achieve anything because the mental aspect will be attained.
I hope these tips help and if you have any questions feel free to ask.