Patience is paramount: Teaching goalies to react instead of guessing

Yesterday, we talked about mastering the catcher position in baseball, and how having a talented athlete at that position can make all the difference in a game situation. In terms of importance on the field, a soccer goalie is just as important to his or her team as a catcher.

Coaches need to find a way to refine the skills of their goalies. After purchasing practice soccer goals, coaches should begin teaching athletes how to play the goalie position. The goalie position is largely a reactionary one, as most players who have mastered the position will recommend that goalies try not to guess when they block a shot. There is simply too much net to cover for a goalie to over-commit to one location based on a guess.

If a goalie is caught leaning in a the wrong direction, a forward may pick up on the movement and attack in the other direction. This mistake by the goalie could lead to a potentially embarrassing goal. As a forward charges in, a goalie should wait until the last possible moment to make his or her move.

To help goalies master this skill, coaches can line up forwards in a line in front of the goal with youth soccer balls placed in front of each of them. Each player is then randomly assigned a number, which is shouted out by the coach one at a time. Players should quickly shoot the ball when their number is called, so as to ensure that the goalie is never sure where the shot is coming from.

As such, he or she will not be able to cheat a shot. If the goalie starts to shade one side of the net, coaches should direct players to start attacking the other side.

Goalies can also benefit from having access to top-notch soccer equipment, such as youth goalie gloves, to effectively make stops. Coaches can also visit for additional training exercises.