• It is a great bug bare of mine to see coaches, players and even some parents criticise young goalkeepers if they make a mistake or concede an ‘easy’ goal. I often wonder why goalkeepers as young as 6 are subject to such criticism. Being a goalkeeper is an extremely lonely place and inevitably if a goalkeeper makes a mistake it leads to a goal being conceded. Now before we look at the goalkeeper we must look at what has just happened in front of him or her; have they been exposed to the Alamo? Has the ball been given away in a dangerous area? Has this young goalkeeper even been given the correct training to be competent in this position?
  • After a small debate on Twitter it has become evident that not many Grassroots football clubs value the role of a goalkeeper within a team. I have seen this first hand with many teams with goalkeepers often being ostracised during team training, left to their own devices with no real direction from the coaches. So my question is; how do we expect a young player to be competent in goal if we have given them no prior training, knowledge or guidance? It’s like expecting a person to complete open heart surgery without giving them any prior knowledge or training!
  • I believe that all children, whether they take an interest in the position and play in goal on the odd occasion or they believe from a young age that they want to be a goalkeeper clubs should provide coaching for them. Whether they have a competent coach on hand at the club or hire a coach from outside of the club to coach all of their goalkeepers. I’m not saying this is all they should do, as I believe coaches should be able to include goalkeepers in their coaching sessions also. Whether they include them in footwork exercises or create a session with multiple outcomes for both outfield players and goalkeeper(s).
  • In addition to the above I believe schools, coaches and parents should be doing more to instil basic fundamental skills into their children whether they be outfield players or goalkeepers. These 3 fundamental skills are Agility, Balance and Coordination (ABC’s). Without these being instilled and taught from an early age we severely hamper a child’s development. It may sound simple but these 3 basic fundamental skills are neglected at so many levels.
  • Having coached first hand at one Grassroots football club in the North East and seeing the development of each individual along with receiving great feedback from coaches and parents I truly believe that having a specialist goalkeeper coach at each Grassroots Football Club is vital, they are just as vital as the Secretary, Treasurer, Welfare Officer and the coaches that conduct training sessions. Having specialist goalkeeper coaches not only helps with nurturing talent and filling a young goalkeeper with confidence but it may also help increase the number of quality goalkeepers our nation is producing. Of all the goalkeepers in the top leagues in Europe only 3 English goalkeepers are playing regularly for their respective teams. For me that is rather embarrassing reading.
  • So, before we point the finger of blame towards our young goalkeepers let’s take the above points into account and ask ourselves ‘could I have done more?’ ‘Could we be doing more?’

This Article was from the Elite Goalkeeper Academy Website and made intresting reading.