Now that most High School seasons are complete (congrats to State Champions!), and Club soccer has begun to wind down, I always urge serious, aspiring young GKs to continue their development by 'Watching'.
Both Men's and Women's NCAA tournament play is now in full effect across the country. If you are a young GK, and have a chance, go to one of these collegiate play-off matches and watch (i.e., STUDY) the GKs. If you can, go early and watch warm-ups. Better still, if you can, watch warm-ups from behind the goal! Pay attention to how the collegiate GKs prepare and move through their warm-up routines. Watch how they concentrate on each and every ball being played to them (shots, crosses, serves, etc.). Watch how they concentrate as they play balls with feet during warm-ups. If you're close enough, listen to how they communicate--even in warm-ups--with each other, their GK Coach, and other teammates.
Once the match begins, pay attention to both GKs. Watch how they concentrate on the game. Watch how they continually adjust their angles, listen to how they communicate and direct their defenders and teammates. Watch how they deal with set-pieces, how they direct players, and how--if needed--they deal with scoring events (shots on goal, serves and crosses into their box, 1v1 occasions, pass-backs, support behind their back line of defenders). All of this is part-and-parcel of playing in Goal at the higher levels. (Imagine what it must be like to play in Goal in a professional match!) Don't just watch the game like a normal fan. Watch the game like a serious GK. Watch and enjoy the game, but "key" on the GKs.
If you can't get to a college match live, as my dear friend (and fellow GK Coach), Greg Deutsch says, "Try to watch as many games as you can on TV. And don't just 'watch' the GKs....STUDY the GKs!" Even on TV, you can see how the GKs get in position, how they deal with opposition attacks, and how they communicate to their team. An added bonus of watching on TV is that you have the luxury of instant replay, and can study the build up of the other team, mistakes made by defenders, saves made by the GKs, and even GK errors.
One thing to remember here, youngsters......even the BEST Goalkeepers make mistakes. Even college level and world class professional GKs make mistakes-- Just. Like. You. Do. It's part of the position. To err is human.....to learn from your errors is GKing!
The willingness to constantly learn, might well be the most important aspect of development for a young GK. Watch and Learn!
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May your goalposts be 3 feet wide. May the opposition shoot everything right at you!
All the Best--EV
(Thx for the photo,Google!)