Teach Your Young Goalkeepers to Talk

Goalkeeping is something that takes a lot of experience to be really successful. This is exactly why you see top-level goalkeepers playing into their 40s. The prime age for a goalkeeper is actually about 30 years old.

Why? It is all about experience and how well you are able to direct and command your penalty area and goal. The more situations you experience, the better you will be to thwart out opportunities before they actually happen. A big way to do this is by communication. Knowing what, when and how to say it is critical for the goalkeeper.

One of the areas that I get asked a lot about is "how do I get my goalkeeper to talk more?" Well to answer that we need to know what age goalkeeper we are dealing with. For example, if you have a 9-year-old goalkeeper, you certainly can not expect to see and hear your goalkeeper communicating the same things that you see on TV, just like you would not expect the field player to communicate well at this age either. Players at this age are totally fixated on the soccer ball and can't really comprehend anything else that might be going on in the game.

But, the 18-22 year old goalkeeper is expected to be more comfortable with their individual personality and should understand game situations and see a lot more things within the game--and thus have the ability to communicate more and with purpose.

At the young ages of their development, we cannot expect too much from goalkeepers in regard to communication, especially during the ages of 10-13. What I would recommend is to quiz your goalkeeper. Ask them "what should you be communicating to your teammates?" The answer you will most likely get? "I don't know."

Most young goalkeepers do not talk because they do not know what to say--it is that simple. They have hardly experienced anything yet in their young soccer careers and we are expecting them to talk like the 35-year-old professional that we all watch on television. This is extremely unrealistic and unfair to that young goalkeeper, especially if we truly understand the childhood development of that particular age.

When I work with young goalkeepers in our Goalkeeper Schools, we focus on getting young goalkeepers to communicate five things at the young ages (10-15):

  • "Turn"-- telling a teammate when they have time and can turn the ball
  • "Man-on" -- telling a teammate when they are under pressure
  • "Push-up" -- telling their defenders to squeeze up the field and push our shape forward
  • "Away" -- tell teammates that they need to clear the ball away because you are holding your ground in goal
  • "Keepers" -- telling your teammates that you are coming for the ball

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM