I saw a few different matches this weekend, all professional, and was struck by the number of games where the GK had to make multiple saves. When I say multiple saves, I'm talking more than 2 in a "flurry" around the goalmouth.
ALL of these GKs "played to the whistle". In other words, they didn't stop working or scrambling until the ball was off the pitch or out of danger, or of course, the whistle had blown.
Too often we train our GKs to deal with one particular event. Save a shot. Catch a cross. Cut out a low-driven entering cross. Play out a bad back-pass. But the reality is, that often, the GK has to make 2, 3, or more saves until things "settle". Top level GK Coaches train their GKs for this situation. Parry a shot, scramble to get back in position, box another shot, block a third shot, kick-out a fourth shot or serve. In order to have any chance of making these saves, a GK needs to have trained in such a scenario.
But the KEY(s) to making these saves--both in matches and in training--are to keep your eyes on the ball, keep churning/moving your legs and feet, keep yourself "square" to the shooter, and be brave enough to keep jumping in front of the ball using any means necessary to keep it out of your goal. Now, this is easy to write; and much harder to do. As stated before, you need to train at it, and of course in match play, you also need to have a bit of luck to pull it off.
Sometimes, even with all the best intentions, effort, courage, and flying around, you get scored on. But sometimes...you pull off 3 miraculous saves and your team gets a HUGE lift out of your brave GKing display, win the ball, and take off down the pitch and score at the other end!!
All because you "played to the whistle" and didn't give up. All because you "put it all on the line", refused to give in, and "saved the day"! And as EVERY GK will tell you, the feeling after pulling off a string of unbelievable saves cannot be equaled!
Always "Play. To. The. Whistle."
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May your goalposts be 3 feet wide. May the other team shoot everything right at you! (2 or 3 times!)
All the Best--EV