Decision making is an area where goalkeepers must excel. Unlike playing in any other position where mistakes can be rectified, being a goalkeeper comes with the knowledge that a mistake will almost certainly result in a goal. At the end of last year, I wrote a small piece on what it takes to be a goalkeeper. I discussed four traits which I consider essentials for anyone looking to excel and have a future “between the sticks”. The four attributes I spoke about were:
Following on from this, I wanted to mention four more things which I believe are equally important for anyone who wants to play at the top level.
Decision making is an area where goalkeepers must excel. Unlike playing in any other position where mistakes can be rectified, being a goalkeeper comes with the knowledge that a mistake will almost certainly result in a goal. With only a split second to make decisions, a goalkeeper must always go with their instinct and hope that it is right. If not, your team could well find themselves 1-0 down.
Confidence is another huge part of being a goalkeeper. Being the last line of defence isn’t an easy job and, as mentioned above, there is a lot of pressure surrounding goalkeepers of all ages and levels. For this reason, it is essential that we goalkeepers have a large amount of belief in our own ability. We must be commanding. We must demand respect. We must truly believe that we are great. If a goalkeeper is not confident, they will not be trusted by the players around them which will have a negative impact on the team. A goalkeeper has the ability lift the rest of the team through the way they handle themselves so confidence is another essential part of a goalkeeper’s make up.
As stated in my previous article a goalkeeper’s footwork is a key ingredient to success. In order for the feet to move quickly and the hands to come up and make a save, a high level of co-ordination is required. Without it, an individual may be able to move their feet well but without the ability to get the hands across and make a save at the same time, one cannot call themselves a goalkeeper. Co-ordination is yet another important quality required to be a good goalkeeper.
The fourth trait I wish to talk about today is a relatively modern attribute that never used to be ‘important’ if you wanted to be a goalkeeper. With the way football is developing and with the huge emphasis put on possession football, a modern day goalkeeper must be comfortable with a ball at their feet. In the past, a goalkeeper would get the ball and simply kick it as far as they could up the field. This has all changed now and today, goalkeepers are required to pass and receive the ball. If a young goalkeeper is looking to develop and play at a high level, it is important they do not neglect their ball skills. A day per week spent training with the outfield players will be hugely beneficial in the long run.
In summary, being a goalkeeper requires a lot of dedication and hard work. I am willing to go as far as saying it is more difficult to become a goalkeeper than it is to become a football player, such are the demands of the modern game. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye which is why us goalkeepers should be treated with huge respect in the footballing world. We are superstars.