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The Game Plan

David Hunter (1998) once wrote, ‘football is there for life. It never goes stale. ’ (p. 37). In a sport as lasting as football, every member of the team must strive to perform at his best, all the time. Like any other sport, every team member plays a crucial part in the game. The goalkeeper, for instance, must be well skilled and carefully trained for they are in the forefront of the offense and the final straw in the team’s defense (Benjamin, 2007). The following 8-week training scheme will help the goalie increase his efficacy in the team—which will definitely provide a better statistic result for himself and the team as well.

The Game Plan According to Jeff Benjamin (2007), there is a proper way of teaching goalkeeping techniques: footwork, catching, and proper positioning. Teaching them in that order is necessary to build proper foundation in the later and more advanced training. In a lecture that he gave for the South Dakota Soccer Team, goalkeeper turned soccer coach Brian Pitts (2008) told his students that there are a couple of techniques that one must have and develop fully to be able to be an effective goalie.

His points mostly revolved on the types of attacking distribution, attacking ideas, defense during the play, setting-up of plays, and other defensive considerations. Aside from the physical training that the goalkeeper must endure, he must also undergo some psychological training to prepare him to be an effective decision maker, especially on that crucial split-second decision making (Benjamin, 2007). The Rough Play For the 8-week duration of this training, we will be distribute the four areas—fitness, technical, tactical, and psychological in a two-week interval, respectively.

As the weeks go by, lessons from the previous week shall be inculcated with the additional training program. Say for example, before beginning with the technical training on the start of the third week, fitness drills will be performed first. Then so on, and so forth until the day of the last week, which is the culmination game wherein everything that is taught must be applied in the game. Fit for a goalie. Fitness training should be first in line because to be able to function properly as a goalkeeper, one must be physically fit to the demands of the role.

A good set of warm-up and footwork exercises are crucial for the preparation of a goalkeeper. Rhythm is one of the vital things that a goalkeeper must learn. We can inculcate this through doing continuous warm-up exercises that promote that—jogging with various movements. Do it in variation: forward, lateral, backward and varying directions (Thomas, 2006, p. 10). Of course, like in any other sport, stretching, flexibility, and mobility drills are fundamental as well. As for the goalkeeper, focus should be on shoulders, trunk, lower back, groins, hamstrings and calves (Thomas, 2006, p.

10). Another thing that would promote good rhythm in a goalie is footwork. As part of the warm-up exercise, we can use the drill made by Martin Thomas for Middlesex County. Image 1 on the left illustrates how basic footwork drills should be done. The focus of this exercise lies on the goalkeeper’s balance, coordination, rhythm, tempo, and shape (2006, p. 10). Act like one. To be a good and effective goalkeeper, one must be able to act like one. ‘If the goalkeeper feels comfortable and has a good and consistent handling of the ball then it is not a problem’ (Thomas, 2006, p.

2). For the purpose of this training, basic positioning and stance are to be taught. We will be adapting a couple more of Middlesex Coaching and Managers Association’s goalkeeping practices for this part. As per Coach Thomas, first to establish is the ‘Set Position’. Frequent difficulties encountered with this stance are as follows: goalkeeper’s starting position vis-a-vis to the ball, movement towards the line of the ball, and the initial assessment on which technique is most effective for the situation (p. 2).

To prevent those difficulties from affecting the game, the main idea is that the goalkeeper must be able feel at ease. Distance of feet from each other should approximately be shoulder width apart; for a balanced position, most of the weight should be on the front half of the feet and body weight geared slightly forward; elbows must be narrow with and chest is facing the ball while hands must be ball width apart and should be located in front of the bodyline; lastly, head should be kept still (p. 2). Another useful method according to Thomas (2006) is the ‘Cup Technique’.

Basically, this move is concerned on the goalkeeper’s ability to secure the ball when he catches it, thus ‘cupping’ with the use of his hands and body. Key pointers for this move are that the goal keeper must keep his chest square and the hands must be in front of the bodyline. Elbows should be tucked in with palms facing up. Don’t forget to spread the fingers. The midriff should be the part of the body that’s going to take the impact of the ball (p. 4). Image 2 portrays the Up-Down Agility and Diving drill which workouts the capability of the keeper to catch and run for the ball.

This drill is one of the basic moves that one must be able to practice and execute well. Antic for tactics. The goalkeeper is not just responsible for the defensive play of the team but also with the communication of every member in the field. Four important key words for this part are: loud, clear, calm, and concise (Thomas, 2006, p. 9). Also, the goalie is the one responsible for the traffic of the team inside the playing field. Keepers also play the ‘second coach out on the field’ (Benjamin, 2003). The two basic call outs for the goalie are ‘away’ and ‘keeper’.

The first one is a tell-sign that the goalkeeper is recovering to defend the goal and the command tells the defenders to go to their pushing out positions. The second call out, on the other hand, tells that his route should be quickest and shortest route to score. The key here is timing and proper angle (Thomas, 2006, p. 9). Think as you walk. As Jeff Benjamin (2003) wrote, ‘the position of the goalkeeper is one of the most psychologically demanding on the field…you can’t be stupid and play goal, but perhaps you must be a little crazy’.

It’s not all about pressure on trying to do well in every game, but also having fun. One can truly enjoy his post, on whatever game he may be in, if he loves what he is doing. Finding the perfect position for you in a team is not that easy. You must be able to think like one to be able to act like one. As for everything else, perfection comes after continuous repetition. ‘Doing it right every time is what separates a good goalkeeper from a great one’ (Benjamin, 2003). The Goalie Scores After the eight-week goalkeeper training, the trainee is expected to increase his over-all performance statistics.

Aside from that, the keeper should be able to exhibit a huge improvement on his personality in the field. Because he is now knowledgeable of his duties and roles in the court, he is now likely to be keener in every move that he commit. In addition to the drills mentioned above, further exercises can be included in the regular routine so as to continuously develop the skills of the goalkeeper. Handling corners and dealing with crosses are perhaps one of those techniques that the keeper must be keen on.

Moving on an advanced level for this drill will ensure that the keeper will be able to practice his assessment decision, communication skills, timing of take off, and of course, catch-punch skills (Thomas, 2006, p. 17). Increasing the repetitions for this exercise will also help the keeper improve. Another consideration that one might want to take is the goalkeeper’s way of communicating with the rest of the team. As mentioned earlier, the keeper is not just the defender on that post, but he is also the second coach on the field.

With that in mind, interactive drills involving the rest of the team must also be done. This 6v6 plus goalkeeper drill aims to utilize the accuracy of the keeper’s throwing and kicking technique. His communication and transition skills are also to be measured here. For the goalkeeper to be able to prove effective and reliable, he must be able to put not only in his actions, but in his mind as well that the game depends on how he performs and enjoy his role in the team. Reference List Benjamin, J. (2007). Jeff Benjamin’s Goalkeeper Coaching.

Retrived April 27, 2010, from http://www. jbgoalkeeping. com/. Benjamin, J. (2003). Goalkeeping Tactics. Jeff Benjamin’s Goalkeeper Coaching. Retrieved April 30, 2010, from http://www. jbgoalkeeping. com/tactics. html. Davis, H. (1998). Football Might Not Be Better Than Sex, but at Least It Lasts Longer. New Statesman, 127, 4381. Gale Group. Pitts, B. (2008). The Role of the Goalkeeper in Attack and Defense: From a Goalkeepers Perspective. South Dakota: Author. Thomas, M. (2006). 20 Goal Keeping Practices. Ruislip, Middlesex.

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