Goalkeeper can be a lonely position on the football pitch, with mistakes scrutinised more keenly than outstanding saves or simply a steady performance.
Most professional clubs employ a specialist coach for their goalkeepers, a luxury rarely available lower down the leagues or in junior football. The Football Association has recognised this gap and now offers goalkeeping coaching courses via local FAs around the country.
There are areas where players can improve, however, with the help of existing coaches.
Ball distribution is a key skill which has changed in recent years. Two outstanding teams in the Premiership have signed Brazilian keepers renowned for the distribution skills, Liverpool’s Alisson and Ederson at Manchester City. Inevitably, other clubs are seeking to copy this style. demanding keepers launch counterattacks with accurate passes from foot or by throwing long to a team-mate. These skills need constant practice and repetition through simple soccer drills. Excellent soccer drills can be found online.
All top goalkeepers are keen to command their penalty area, and this can give confidence to other defenders, especially when dealing with set pieces. This involves being aware where your teammates are and what their task is, and knowing where the danger will come from.
To achieve this dominance, the keeper must be able to communicate clearly with his defenders during the game. They will often have a clearer view of where the danger to their goal is likely to come from. Discussing situations before the game will help communication on the pitch.
However well your defence is drilled, a time will come when you are one-on-one with an opponent bearing down on your goal. Working on these situations on the training pitch will prepare the keeper for this situation. Making yourself big by staying on your feet for as long as you can will reduce options for the opponent and force them to make the first move.
Corners can sometimes be a keeper’s nightmare, as the opposition puts players in the six-yard box and defenders move back to mark them, reducing the space the keeper can command and making it difficult for them to come to deal with the ball. If the ball is swung into this area, you will have to be confident and use your reach to give you an advantage.