Was working last night with 2 of our GK age groups at Tennessee Soccer Club. The first group was u13s and the second group was u18s. Both groups had approximately 8 GKs in attendance. Coach Chris lead the shot-stopping training by putting together a couple of drills that 1.) Required shot-stopping, and 2.) Required basic passing and shooting. As usual, we incorporated all GKs into the drills. The drills quickly degraded. The reason? FEET.
In GK parlance, 'FEET' usually means 2 things. 1.} the ability to quickly move into ball-path by moving one's feet. i.e.; 'Foot quickness' , and 2.) being able to properly pass and serve a ball from one's feet. i.e.; 'Playing with Feet'.
BOTH uses of this term are VITAL in the development/improvement of a GK. All of our GKs last night--both age-groups--were fine shot-stoppers. Both age groups possess decent athletic ability. Both age groups show good work-rate and commitment. The area sorely lacking in both age group's GK abilities are their 'Feet'.
I brought the boys together after each training session and explained to them the absolute need for extra work on developing their foot skills. My plea to the GKs was "Do your homework!" By that I mean, work on your serving in your own time. Don't just show up at Club training and expect your 'feet' to become better. Developing the ability to move quickly and play a good ball with feet depends on 'alone time' with the ball. You don't need Coaches, or other players, or other GKs to improve your 'feet'. You need a ball, a wall, time, and repetition. In short, you need about 20-30 minutes a day with the ball at your 'feet'. That's your 'homework'." The modern GK plays the ball more with his/her feet than with hands. Training should mirror that statistic. But even then, the GK needs to develop a basic proficiency in both agility/quick movement and ball serving in order to maximize GK training.
Do your Homework!!
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May your goalposts be 3 feet wide. May the opposition hit everything right at you.
All the Best--EV