Tonight the US national Team plays Uruguay in a "friendly". If you are a follower of US Soccer, or just a soccer fan, you know that the US "laid an egg" against Mexico in our last friendly.
The USMNT looks absolutely AWFUL against Mexico. Zach Steffen, our current National Team GK, had an "off" game. He wasn't terrible, but he certainly wasn't sharp.
Which brings me to our teaching point today, regarding Goalkeepers.
In any team, the GK is important. He/she cannot win games, but they can--more than any other player--help keep their team from losing games. We've all heard of or seen matches where if not for the GK, the desired result would have been bad. Likewise, we've all seen games where the GK "cost" his/her team the game due to GK errors. Fact of the matter is, kids, if you're a GK, you're gonna' make mistakes. You're gonna' get scored on. It's a tough position, and it's a fact of life.
Enter here--the need for good, solid GK training.
The reason GKs train hard throughout the season is to keep sharp so that when the need arises, the GK is proficient with handling most any situation that the game presents and enables his/her team to stay in a position to win the game. At the pro level, GKs can "save points" for their side with a strong performance. So, as you can see, daily training is of utmost importance to a GK. A good, well-planned, training regimen is "key" to a GK's success. GK Coaches are always aware of this and will tailor training sessions to maximize their GK's abilities and improve their GK's weaknesses. Then, come game day, the GK is expected to play well incorporating all of what they've learned and worked on--not just during the prior week's training--but throughout their career. (That is why most professional GKs hit their "peak" around 30 years old and older. They've gleaned all of this experience--both good and bad--to make them a better GK).
So, as my old coaching pal, BK says...."So, what's the moral of the story?"
The moral of the story is, work hard at each training session. Take the good and the bad from games played and LEARN from it. Treat your GKing as a 'journey' and realize that you will never be perfect, but you are always striving for perfection. Realize, and accept, that there will be good days, and bad days, and GREAT days in Goal.
I always tell my GKs..."If you can do everything that you're supposed to do during the match and give us 1 or 2 saves that you're NOT supposed to make...we win the game. If during playoffs, you can do everything that your supposed to do in goal, and give us 2 to 3 saves per game that you're NOT supposed to make...we win Championships".
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May your Goalposts be 3 feet wide, and may the opposition shoot everything right at you.
Good Luck tonight, Zach.
All the Best--EV
Pictured is the late, GREAT Gordon Banks. Sporting the 'old Green Shirt'. He was a Goalkeeping God. (Thanks Google Image and the Soccer Bible)