July 31, 2007
It never fails to get to me, that period during a game where all you hear are the cars swooping by on the main road, and the birds chirping in their trees. One of the most blatant things a goalkeeper can do is not communicate effectively. Communication is the difference between great and mediocre goalkeepers, winning and losing. When a goalkeeper communicates, he/she puts forward a powerful process of momentum and uplifts a team whom are losing focus. Let’s look at some ways a goalkeeper can communicate effectively to maximize their own performance.
Be Loud: Don’t be a mouse in goals. As a commander of your defense you must articulate your commands loudly. If your team mates can’t hear you, they will not be able to mark opposing players or manoeuvre in your 18 effectively. Gaps will be exposed, walls won’t cover any attacking situation, and blunders from crosses and other attacking situations will ensue.
Delegate: Great commanders know how to delegate duties to others within their war-zone. Goalkeepers need to learn how to talk turkey with their team mates in their 18 yard box and beyond. No one is going to command your goal area for you. Therefore, it is best to be able to allocate time during the training week, where you delegate duties to your defenders so that they contribute more effectively to your defensive effort.
Keep Moving: Goalkeeping is 80% mental. If the mind is quiet, then you are certainly not on your game. Goalkeepers need to learn how to move through the full 90 minutes of the game. Standing within your 18 does not help. Continually moving during your game, staying on your toes and communicating continually can help the mind stay focused and lead to better performance.
Never be silent during a game. Silence does not equate to great goalkeeping. Goalkeepers who learn how to communicate effectively ultimately become better at their game, and do their work more effectively. So, take time to learn the effective process of communication, we talk about it in our “10 Weeks To Goalkeeping Success” report which is free for all of you.
July 30, 2007
With a transfer embargo placed on the once mighty club, it seems that the gaffer Dennis Wise may be asked to don the goalkeeper gloves. Two trialists did impress, Casper Ankergren and Scott Loach, but it seems that the Elland Rd. club have their hands tied until the powers that be decide to allow them to tap into the player market. Graham Stack (renowned for his boxing ability) was also someone Leeds unfortunately let slip. Check out some goalkeeping antics in the following videos, both are very dodgy.
You probably saw this on The Offside the other week, but still a good laugh, Graham Stack knows how to dish out a punch.
July 28, 2007
Paco sent me an email detailing the time he saw Chivas silence a giant. There was a standout goalkeeper during that game (which Chivas one 4-0), who got a pot luck chance, and showed brilliant reflexes to help his team change the shape of the game against one of South America’s best. The first save during this game shows Chuy Corona’s ability. Mind you, years back Corona suffered a debilitating knee injury and doctors were close to amputating his leg! Didn’t stop this goalkeeper strutting his stuff. Thanks again Paco, gang, check out the video.
July 27, 2007
With the young shot stopper being voted player of the year by Schalke 04 fans recently, I decided to check out what he would look like in training. The following video gives a further insight into the way the German’s train their goalkeepers. Something I noticed here is that there is a nice flow, and very laid back style to the whole goalkeeper training session, which is important as it allows you to stay focused on technique, and also provides a good workout. Note: Neuer was also voted the best goalkeeper by his peers in the Bundesliga…so definitely someone to watch.
July 26, 2007
Shot Stopper Noor Sabri dedicated Iraq’s win against South Korea to family members whom he and his team mates have lost in the past few months. It’s humbling to hear a dedication like Sabri’s and the Asian Cup has truly been a great thing to watch. The quality of play has been cut throat and I truly think that the world should watch out for lesser Asian Cup participants in the coming years, as some have shown what they can do to teams such as Australia and others. Nonetheless, it was a nail biting penalty shootout and Noor Sabri saved the day for Iraq. Following is a video of the shootout.
July 26, 2007
Faryd Mondragon is plying his trade at FC Koln in Germany. He has a pretty cool background being born to Colombian and Lebanese parents, and having also played with Galatasaray in Turkey. The following video gives a little insight into the way German goalkeepers train. Don’t have a clue what Faryd or the commentator are saying, it is all in German, but check out the training drills and take away some ideas for your own goalkeeper training.
July 25, 2007
Congratulations on your great website. It’s great coming across a site like yours. There are several thoughts I want to share to see what you think about, so I’ll through them:
1) Pato Abbondanzieri, The Getafe-Argentinean gk. I don’t know if you have mentioned it before in your site, I haven’t had the chance to check the 400+ posts, but he is very important in the new role goalkeepers play nowadays and how training should change as a result of these changes. You stress the evolution of GKs, therefore Its important to take a look at this guy.
He might be in general terms a bad shot stopper, however shot stopping is not the only thing a gk has to deal with. Crosses, punts, pks, ruling your box, and reading the game are huge part of goalkeeping. The latter situations are performed brilliantly by Abbondanzieri. He might be one of the best (if not the best) performing them. That’s why he is in such a great level even though he is a poor shot stopper.
Take a look on how he cuts crosses, how he reads the game, comes out of his box, play with his feet and his punts. Oh my God, his punts!!! There nobody on this planet that punts the ball better than him, from the ground as well as of his hand. I had the chance to see him play. His punts are long and accurate, little hanging time, rotation to the ball to facilitate the reception, and most important of all, he is constant.
Pay attention to these things. Imagine if all the gks where taught to punt like him, instead of conforming with “as far away as you can get it”. The game of football would be much more spectacular and quick. It’s something that would change the face of the game. This brings me to a conclusion on how we are still dealing with old goalkeeping paradigms. The coaches of nowadays grew up with the back pass rule and other paradigms and this is reflected on how the other aspects of the game (others than shot stopping) are poorly treated during practice. It’s time to get more real. Although shot stopping is very important, it is not all there is. You might face only 3 or 4 shots in an entire match while in the rest you are going to deal with crosses, reading the game, being vocal, playing your box, punts, and playing with your feet.
I’m going to risk in my following statement because it can vary from match to match and team to team. Generally, a match is 30% shot stopping and 70 % other than that, those things that Abbondanzieri does so well. I don’t think practices match this percentage.
However there is good news. There’s change. When I was training in Cruz Azul in Mexico city a couple of summers ago I remember we used to have a two hour practice once a week dedicated to just punting and distribution. More good news, I see goalkeepers like Petr Cech and Robinson learning how to do the sidekick.
Like a gk coach I had once said: “You can be a wonderful shot stopper, but if you can’t punt and use your feet, you are like a brand new Ferrari, with no engine. You are no good”. Let’s strive to be complete goalkeepers, for our own good, and for the good of the game.
Before leaving Abbondanzieri, he is excellent saving pks. He reads the player and chooses one side but he doesn’t dive, he just gives a very little step to that side and waits until the kick.
2) I was wondering if you have had the chance of studying the different gks schools and find pros and cons. The German gk schools are all about acrobatics and breaking the dive very fancy with rolls. Also, before the shot comes they do a big hop. Kahn is from this school.
Then we have the European school which I don’t know where it has its origins. A lot of side steps characterize this style, while before every shot there is a swing in the arms from back of the body to the sides, palms facing each other. Barthez does this, as well as Casillas and many others.
There are other gks that are more static before the shot like Van der Sar.
What do you think about this? Pros and cons?
3) Please Try to take a look at Mexican gk Jose de Jesus aka “Chuy” Corona. I hope he moves on to a bigger team, but this guy is seriously amazing, great hands, great technique, great cutting angles and he can play with his feet and punt.
I know its a long email!! I’m very glad being able to share my thoughts.
Uh-huh…so after all that, his name is Paco! Paco, thank you for sharing this great insight with the Keeper Skool community. My thoughts:
1) Yes, the game has transitioned significantly. The nature of the goalkeepers role entails that they know how to use their feet, and other parts of their body effectively.
2) Very good call with your analysis that 70% of the game now revolves around other facets of the game. But…catching the ball effectively is the first and most important aspect a goalkeeper’s development, can’t catch a ball effectively, why you keeping for?
3) In my experience of different styles of goalkeeping, I would never try to align myself with the style of just one goalkeeper, though an analysis of many different goalkeeping styles should be taught at an early age. Being a martial artist in just one style (for example) does not make you a complete martial artist, same with goalkeeping. Being fluent in many different styles is a must. If goalkeepers have the time, money and resources, they should learn many different styles from many different teachers, then choose the style with the right “feeling” for them. Wishful thinking I know, but in all cases adaptation to styles of play is critical also. I developed very much in the Croatian style which emphasises footwork (always on your toes) and much acrobatics.
Paco, again we thank you…great insights! We’ll analyze Pato Abbondanzieri and Chuy Corona (if I can find some videos) in individual posts.
July 24, 2007
Lately, I keep getting this recurring vision. Imagine a place on the net, where goalkeepers can go to find out information about everything related to goalkeeping…yeah, well you found it here at Keeper Skool and everyone loves JB. But, you should always have a few good resources under your belt when it comes to enhancing your goalkeeping performance, and Glenn Robertson (owner of Academy GK) contacted me to have a look inside their full membership site. So here is my review.
At first glance Academy GK looks totally polished, the type of site where you would expect to pay a premium to have access to, but guess what…it’s free to sign-up! When you become a full member at 14 pounds, you get full access to a very easy to use (and navigate) interface. Here are some of the super cool features of Academy GK full membership area:
- The Boot Room: You can access full interviews with some of the best goalkeepers plying their trade in the Premiership. I read a very cool interview with Rob Green of West Ham.
- The Academy: If your looking for training from some of the best goalkeeper coaches you can check out this section. For example, this month there are some super drills by James Hollman Head Goalkeeper Coach of Norwich City.
- Players Lounge: Connect with your peers via Skype.
- The Treatment Room: Go learn some more about the science of goalkeeping from Richard Whall Msc. Richard has worked with many professional teams in regards to sports science for the competitive goalkeeper.
July 24, 2007
Shay Given had a long stint out of the sticks with his groin injury, and many professional footballers have at one time experienced this debilitating pain, some having to hang up the boots and gloves for good. In 2005, returning from England, I started getting that niggling pain. It actually started to become somewhat serious, with the need for constant treatment. All of this pain and money dished out could have been easily prevented by doing some…wait for it…stretches. Like you didn’t know that already, and you’d be surprised how many footballers forget to stretch.
The researchers enrolled 315 major league soccer players in a preseason groin injury prevention program to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The 20-minute program was used as a prepractice warm-up two to three times a week during the preseason period. It included three phases — warm-up, dynamic stretching, and strengthening.
The participating athletes had a groin injury incidence of 0.44 injuries per 1,000 hours, while a control group had a groin injury rate of 0.61 injuries per 1,000 hours.
“Our 28% injury reduction rate is highly significant,” says principal investigator Michael B. Gerhardt, M.D., director of the Center for Athletic Hip and Groin Disorders in Santa Monica, Calif., and team physician for US Soccer and Chivas USA, a major league soccer team. “We were anticipating a 5-10% reduction rate, so we were pleasantly surprised that the injury reduction number was so high.” American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, (July 2007).
If your itching to get out on the pitch, but think that doing stretches are ho-hum or just a little too boring for you, think wisely. Having a 15-20 minute stretch after a good 10-20 minute warm up will give you an added edge to your goalkeeping. Also, it may play the difference in whether you play for a memory…or a lifetime.
July 23, 2007
With the shocking head injury that Petr Cech endured in last seasons Premiership, and the increase of speed and intensity in the round ball game, it seems that we are still not thinking with our noggin. If you watch Aussie football codes like league or union, you will notice many of the players wearing head gear…and they don’t even use their heads (scrum excluded)! Recent scientific research has pointed to the growing concern among soccer players and administrators for the need to protect players heads during competition. Let’s look at the research findings.
In the first attempt to rely on results from the field instead of the lab, this innovative study was carried out just after the 2006 soccer season and included 268 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years from the Oakville Soccer Club. Although only 52 of them wore headgear during this period, the results are significant: the risk of concussion was 2.65 times higher for players who were not protected. In fact, 52.8% of the adolescents who did not wear headgear reported being injured compared to only 26.9% of those who did. These results are indeed noteworthy, particularly since approximately 80% of sports-related injuries are not recognized or reported. Prevention is therefore an essential means of protection. (Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine, July 2007).
FIFA has stated that players can choose to wear headgear but this is not mandatory. So, the question remains, should headgear be worn by competitive goalkeepers? When we look at the high intensity, high impact state of today’s game, the role of the goalkeeper coming off his line for one-to-one situations, or challenging for high balls in the air can cause injury. When will headgear become a mandatory piece of equipment in the goalkeeper bag…should it?