Be Gentle With Me, It’s My First Time: A 53 Year Old Footy Rookie

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,483
The 718
Hi.

I've started playing soccer in a league. It's my first time playing soccer, or anything really, in a league with uniforms. I'm 53 years old.

As a kid, I was a sports junkie and a terrible athlete. I played backyard baseball and football year round with neighborhood kids, poorly. My mom was opposed to having her kids play in any kind of organized sports league, although I would have given anything. The closest I came was, my enthusiasm aroused by a game of the NASL's Connecticut Bicentennials in the nearly-deserted Yale Bowl, I asked to play in the town rec soccer league. Mom took me to sign up, but we drove around looking for the sign-up place and she gave up after a minute, saying she couldn't find it. I was sore disappointed.

In the years since I've become a fair-to-middling athlete. I played college intramurals in a variety of things, mostly on the right side of the dividing line between 'competent' and 'liability.' I love cycling and at my most committed I did 30-50 mile rides regularly. I commute to work although that's only 4 miles each way. I ran the NYC Marathon in '99 (slowly). I was a decent rec racquetball and softball player in my gym's leagues. I briefly joined a team of baseball geeks who played "vintage" baseball, ie with 1860's rules and equipment (wool uniforms, hot as fuck, no gloves). Most recently I have coached my daughter's softball team, which has had me fielding, throwing, etc. in practice and warmups 2-3/wk, again at the lower range of the bell curve of "good at this." And this year I was diagnosed with ADHD, which JFC I wish someone had figured out a long time ago. Now that I'm addressing it, I can tell that my being a "bad athlete" as a kid was a combination of no coaching, no attention span, and being Mr Magoo level blind, which no one figured out til I was 11.

Driven partially off my experience coaching my daughter through the ups and downs of learning a sport and learning how to handle failure, and wanting to be a bit of an example, and some life stuff, and wanting to get exercise and have fun, and footy being my sports obsession now, and, NOT AT ALL STILL BITTER about my mom abandoning the effort to sign me up when I was 7, I signed up to play footy in a 6 v 6 co-ed indoor league. It was supposedly a complete beginner's league. Turns out that my teammates are experienced and have played together before. Most are late 20's- early 30's. I was upfront about my lack of experience. They asked if I was cool with playing keeper. I am. We had three games before Xmas. We are 0-3 but lost by only 1-2 goals each time. I've done decently ok, although my teammates don't much trust me with back passes, etc. I've played every minute in goal so far. I get the sense that no one else really wants to do it.

It's on a basketball court with a futsal ball, which is small and quite hard, especially when blasted into your temple from close range. Different game than outdoor- quick, subtle, tricky.

My wife and my daughter especially have been absolutely delighted by me doing this. or Christmas, they got me a set of lessons from the same outfit that sponsors the league. Going to the first one this afternoon. Outdoors. Supposedly for complete novices, basic skills like dribbling, passing, shooting etc. I do like playing keeper so will probably do that going forward but this is not the keeper-only class, it's Footy Skills 101 which I will need in my program of Jorge Campos-like sweeper-keeper rec league dominance.

Anyway - now that the league is starting up again and I'm taking these lessons I'm going to be posting questions and reaching out for help. My teammates in the 6v6 league have been really cool and welcoming and I don't feel completely out of place, but I'd like to "get good fast" as much as possible so that I'm not a complete liability. I know that we have some older rec-league players and keepers here so I'll look forward to your input.

More soon.
 

SocrManiac

Tommy Seebach’s mustache
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
8,613
Somers, CT
I have a ton of thoughts I’ll need to organize, but I wanted to congratulate you for putting yourself out there.

I can’t recommend safety gear enough for futsal. That was the first sport I “retired” from. I never really enjoyed it due to the gym floor, but one tournament I played in put me over the edge. Early in the first game I took a rocket to the side of the head. Next thing I know I’m waking up in my bed at home. The next day. I apparently drove myself home (eek) after the tournament. As I cleaned out my soccer bag of the typical tournament detritus some time later, I pulled out a winner’s medal and t-shirt. Don’t remember a goddamn thing.

So, yeah, that was the end of futsal for me. I think the combination of the gym floor and 30 years’ worth of teaching my hands how to catch a size 5 ball made it the wrong game for me.

The biggest thing is to find yourself a team that isn’t out there to win at all costs and doesn’t rise to those who do. The folks that forget that you’re going to work the next day are the absolute worst. If the group hits a bar and knows each other outside of the game, that can be a good sign.

If you find yourself going home angry on a regular basis because of the behavior of your team or the opponents, it might be time to find another team. Joining open pickup days and talking to people is a great way of finding that right group that fits your personality.

Be safe, have fun, make memories, find friends. Those are the goals. If any are lacking, there’s always another group to play with.
 

BrazilianSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2006
3,749
Brasil
IMHO, Futsal is the reason Brazilians are so good at dribbling.

This Footy Skills 101 class will probably help, even if you intend to be a full-time keeper. In Futsal a keeper that can play with the feet adds a lot to the team.

Get yourself at least a specialized long pants (like this one)and long sleeves shirt, with extra elbow padding. It may not seem like much, but it does a great difference when you go to the ground. Knee and elbow pads can also help a lot, but they restrict mobility a bit, so it's a trade-off. If you're playing with a futsal ball, get a specialized, fingerless, glove (like this one) as it will give you a lot more control of the ball when compared to a regular keeper glove.

I didn't play in an era where head injuries were taken seriously, so I can't help you with head safety equipment. Never felt the need to use a jockstrap even after taking a couple shots to the balls, but I definitely would get one if playing Handball. The way those keepers have to spread themselves open is an invitation for trouble.
 

wonderland

New Member
Jul 20, 2005
522
Two simple things that came be overlooked with inexperience.

Always stay on your toes, don’t get caught ball watching and flat footed.

Talk. Tell your team what you are seeing, even basic stuff like watch the runner helps defenders and holds teammates accountable in a good way.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
22,287
Philadelphia
That's awesome OCST. Good on you man.

I have very limited futsal type experience. In the pickups games that I once played, the team that won was usually the team that committed the fewest bad turnovers in their own defensive third. As a keeper I would not be afraid to throw it long if the alternative is passing to a defensive player under pressure who can't handle pressure.

In terms of improving your foot skills, I know you live in an apartment but maybe get a futsal ball to just play with a little bit at home. Just manipulating a ball with your feet a bit in your spare time - rolling it with the bottom of your foot, other tiny little tricks - can help with the feel.

That's all I got.

Although you should also post some pictures of yourself in 1860s baseball gear.
 

dirtynine

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 17, 2002
8,378
Philly
I’ve only played sporadically as an adult, but I recall a unique challenge was finding shoes that didn’t scream “I’m a baller”. Nothing like a minimal-skill big slow guy like me rocking neon yellow kicks like I’m about to unleash step overs and nutmegs. I eventually sourced some tasteful black boots but it was surprisingly hard. Obviously nobody really cares but it’s something I actually put some thought into.
 

RG33

Certain Class of Poster
SoSH Member
Nov 28, 2005
7,160
CA
Soccer is the one sport that I never played, really got into, or know much about (aside from every 4 years enjoying the WC).

I’m just stopping by to say that I love your post — and that it is super cool what you are doing, the attitude in which you are doing it, and the example that you are setting for your daughter. Good for you man — enjoy it and best of luck!
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
8,643
Hi.

I've started playing soccer in a league. It's my first time playing soccer, or anything really, in a league with uniforms. I'm 53 years old.

As a kid, I was a sports junkie and a terrible athlete. I played backyard baseball and football year round with neighborhood kids, poorly. My mom was opposed to having her kids play in any kind of organized sports league, although I would have given anything. The closest I came was, my enthusiasm aroused by a game of the NASL's Connecticut Bicentennials in the nearly-deserted Yale Bowl, I asked to play in the town rec soccer league. Mom took me to sign up, but we drove around looking for the sign-up place and she gave up after a minute, saying she couldn't find it. I was sore disappointed.

In the years since I've become a fair-to-middling athlete. I played college intramurals in a variety of things, mostly on the right side of the dividing line between 'competent' and 'liability.' I love cycling and at my most committed I did 30-50 mile rides regularly. I commute to work although that's only 4 miles each way. I ran the NYC Marathon in '99 (slowly). I was a decent rec racquetball and softball player in my gym's leagues. I briefly joined a team of baseball geeks who played "vintage" baseball, ie with 1860's rules and equipment (wool uniforms, hot as fuck, no gloves). Most recently I have coached my daughter's softball team, which has had me fielding, throwing, etc. in practice and warmups 2-3/wk, again at the lower range of the bell curve of "good at this." And this year I was diagnosed with ADHD, which JFC I wish someone had figured out a long time ago. Now that I'm addressing it, I can tell that my being a "bad athlete" as a kid was a combination of no coaching, no attention span, and being Mr Magoo level blind, which no one figured out til I was 11.

Driven partially off my experience coaching my daughter through the ups and downs of learning a sport and learning how to handle failure, and wanting to be a bit of an example, and some life stuff, and wanting to get exercise and have fun, and footy being my sports obsession now, and, NOT AT ALL STILL BITTER about my mom abandoning the effort to sign me up when I was 7, I signed up to play footy in a 6 v 6 co-ed indoor league. It was supposedly a complete beginner's league. Turns out that my teammates are experienced and have played together before. Most are late 20's- early 30's. I was upfront about my lack of experience. They asked if I was cool with playing keeper. I am. We had three games before Xmas. We are 0-3 but lost by only 1-2 goals each time. I've done decently ok, although my teammates don't much trust me with back passes, etc. I've played every minute in goal so far. I get the sense that no one else really wants to do it.

It's on a basketball court with a futsal ball, which is small and quite hard, especially when blasted into your temple from close range. Different game than outdoor- quick, subtle, tricky.

My wife and my daughter especially have been absolutely delighted by me doing this. or Christmas, they got me a set of lessons from the same outfit that sponsors the league. Going to the first one this afternoon. Outdoors. Supposedly for complete novices, basic skills like dribbling, passing, shooting etc. I do like playing keeper so will probably do that going forward but this is not the keeper-only class, it's Footy Skills 101 which I will need in my program of Jorge Campos-like sweeper-keeper rec league dominance.

Anyway - now that the league is starting up again and I'm taking these lessons I'm going to be posting questions and reaching out for help. My teammates in the 6v6 league have been really cool and welcoming and I don't feel completely out of place, but I'd like to "get good fast" as much as possible so that I'm not a complete liability. I know that we have some older rec-league players and keepers here so I'll look forward to your input.

More soon.
First off, were you in that Conan olde time baseball bit years back? That was a great one.

Good for you getting out there. I didn’t realize how much I missed the specific kind of physical and social outlet playing is until I stopped for a bit. In December 2019 I tweaked my right knee and needed to take a few months off. Then the pandemic hit…I never got serious about recovery and started packing on pounds…but finally got back to it this summer. I feel so much better in several ways getting out there every week.

I’m 43 now and was previously playing 7v7 30+ winter indoor and 18+ summer outdoor. 30+ was a slower speed, but we could never crack the top half of the table - the opposition were always too fluid and practiced. But we twice won our summer league and usually finished top 3 because the young’uns loved to run and try that tricky shit, but rarely played as a unit.

Anyway, because I was out of shape, I signed on to a 40+ league. It’s great. Everyone is trying to stay healthy and avoid injuries. The play is thoughtful and fun, not particularly fast. Very few assholes in the league. I’m having a great time.

Keepers are rare and valuable. It’s so hard to find good ones that many teams I’ve been on will collectively pay the keeper’s dues to make sure he stays with us. If you stick in net, you should have a lot of options.

I always want a keeper who talks - tell me what you see, tell me who is lurking & looking to get in behind, and be loud & decisive about what‘s your ball and what’s mine. Don’t be a Pickford out there and get all red in the face over every little thing, but constant communication is great.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
21,386
Pittsburgh, PA
Love this, and the opening post.

I have only a few tips, some of them obvious:

- "get good fast" means comfort with the ball. Go out and practice passing back and forth with someone, as often as you possibly can. Ideally 3-4 times per week, schedule and partners willing. Be intentional about it, work on trapping it, work on putting it to a lightly jogging target, and receiving it while lightly jogging. Most coaching of beginners aims for practice to maximize the number of touches you get per hour.

- find a pickup game that takes all comers. There are a million in NYC. Just Play NYC is a mobile app where you can find a game. There are many others. I literally could give you a dozen others if you want. Head out there, weather be damned, and play. If you're cold, you're not running hard enough also, indoor costs a lot more, whereas pickup outdoors might literally be free. Do that once a week in addition to your indoor rec league. Ideally, find someone there willing to stay after and do some skills work, or even someone who's looking for the same things you are and make arrangements to meet up and drill a bit.

- there are way more people who want to coach soccer than can be supported by the market. Reach out to some youth programs and ask about adult coaching. If you're prepared to spend a little money I'm sure you can find someone, and/or let them gather a little troupe that you can drill with. I can ask Brooklyn AYSO if you'd like.

- endurance is the most easily obtainable edge available. You won't develop it as fast as the 25yos, but if your 4 mile commute could be a run once or twice a week*, and you're doing a pickup game and aiming to have it finish with you exhausted, you can and will get better conditioning, faster than you realize. Endurance doesn't mean "fast", it means a bigger gas tank, and it's half force-of-will and half preparation.

- get one of those trainer nets that hold the ball at foot's length like a tetherball. Practice your kick precision while standing around, maybe even while watching a game.

* I guess on days where you have no client meetings :)
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
53,486
This is awesome.

I play keeper for a few indoor teams as well, although not futsol, but on turf. I started like 4 years ago, in the field, but moved to keeper because, like you said, not many want to do it. Now I play keeper fulltime on 3 teams, and get asked to guest play by other teams that are missing a keeper for a game. I always tell people, I'm not necessarily good, but I am willing. I'm 50, and play in the regular leagues, and there are teams running out all guys in their mid-20s and it's awesome to beat them.

Just get used to talking to your defense things like "Dave--over your right shoulder" and "slide left" and then becoming confident enough to come out and claim the ball.

Because we're all played in beer and social leagues, I always tell my defender "if you clear the ball further away from goal than it was I'm happy" even if I had called it. You'll get better just by playing, learning the angles and the ball movement. Keep us updated.
 

wiffleballhero

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 28, 2009
4,506
In the simulacrum
This is great. Good luck.

Juggle on your own as much as you can. Like right now! It is always a good way to develop touch and you can do it by yourself almost anywhere.

There should be a soccer beer league thread like there is for hockey. Maybe this can be it!

Edit: also, work on basic off (usually left) foot competency. At a minimum, aspire to trap and deliver a clean pass with your left.
 
Last edited:

Tangled Up In Red

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
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Nov 8, 2004
4,528
Bernal
In terms of improving your foot skills, I know you live in an apartment but maybe get a futsal ball to just play with a little bit at home. Just manipulating a ball with your feet a bit in your spare time - rolling it with the bottom of your foot, other tiny little tricks - can help with the feel.
100% this!

I always want a keeper who talks - tell me what you see, tell me who is lurking & looking to get in behind, and be loud & decisive about what‘s your ball and what’s mine. Don’t be a Pickford out there and get all red in the face over every little thing, but constant communication is great.
100% on these, too!
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,483
The 718
Thanks everyone. I'm having a lot of fun with this.

The Saturday class was 17 people (5? women). Outside on turf. Not sure if I was the oldest. I was by no means the least fit, but I was seriously sucking wind after some of the dribbling drills. Instaface, I'm in decent endurance shape, but I have to up my sprint fitness - 30 seconds at top gear and I'm gassed. On a coldish winter day I had that butterscotch wheeze going.

Several drills re: dribbling around stuff. Emphasis on right and left foot, inside and outside of foot.

Then very basic passing. Settling the pass with the instep and the outside of the foot.

Closing with games of 4v4/5v5 in small rectangles. I've played only keeper in the indoor 6v6 so haven't yet been in that heavy traffic. I didn't really think I knew what I was doing, but one of my teammates said, "you say you never played before but you were always in the right spot." I just tried to go where no one else was.

Man, that first touch is everything. I never appreciated the skill of settling the ball softly, and shielding it or getting rid quickly. It's so easy for a defender to just pick it off your foot and be off with it, if it clangs just a bit.

Get yourself at least a specialized long pants (like this one)and long sleeves shirt, with extra elbow padding. It may not seem like much, but it does a great difference when you go to the ground. Knee and elbow pads can also help a lot, but they restrict mobility a bit, so it's a trade-off. If you're playing with a futsal ball, get a specialized, fingerless, glove (like this one) as it will give you a lot more control of the ball when compared to a regular keeper glove.
The 6v6 league is casual. The uniform is a T-shirt and some players show up even without that. Shin guards are supposedly required but more than half of the players in my 6v6 indoor league don't wear them. I think that's nuts, but whatever. Anyway, I got this padded 3/4 sleeve goalie shirt. to wear under the league shirt which for my team unfortunately is Anfield red. (I've subtly worn Everton white-with-blue-crest kit shorts but no one has caught on). In 3 games on the basketball court, I've had more impacts on my elbows and upper body. I don't want to gear up too much because I'd look like the n00b who's trying too hard. Which I am, but if I can play with a little bit more abandon, that's cool.

The biggest thing is to find yourself a team that isn’t out there to win at all costs and doesn’t rise to those who do. The folks that forget that you’re going to work the next day are the absolute worst. If the group hits a bar and knows each other outside of the game, that can be a good sign.

If you find yourself going home angry on a regular basis because of the behavior of your team or the opponents, it might be time to find another team. Joining open pickup days and talking to people is a great way of finding that right group that fits your personality.
The folks in my Mon/Tue 6v6 side are cool but seem to scatter after the game. I wouldn't be surprised to see the folks in my Saturday newbies class get more of a social thing going, it's got more of that Brooklyn-scruffy-wierdo vibe and there is the coach for a focal point who is forcing peopel to talk to each other. He's a former college keeper.

Talk. Tell your team what you are seeing, even basic stuff like watch the runner helps defenders and holds teammates accountable in a good way.
Just get used to talking to your defense things like "Dave--over your right shoulder" and "slide left" and then becoming confident enough to come out and claim the ball.
Is there universal lingo for this kind of thing?

I have very limited futsal type experience. In the pickups games that I once played, the team that won was usually the team that committed the fewest bad turnovers in their own defensive third. As a keeper I would not be afraid to throw it long if the alternative is passing to a defensive player under pressure who can't handle pressure.
The usual back two are a woman who I think played in college and a huge Dutch? Danish? Belgian guy. Together they clean up almost everything, it's impressive. They both can take a pass and turn. I'm starting to look further up the pitch (court?) also.

Although you should also post some pictures of yourself in 1860s baseball gear.
No.

First off, were you in that Conan olde time baseball bit years back? That was a great one.
No, but those were teams that the team that I played for, played against.

I’ve only played sporadically as an adult, but I recall a unique challenge was finding shoes that didn’t scream “I’m a baller”. Nothing like a minimal-skill big slow guy like me rocking neon yellow kicks like I’m about to unleash step overs and nutmegs. I eventually sourced some tasteful black boots but it was surprisingly hard. Obviously nobody really cares but it’s something I actually put some thought into.
I did this also. As a civilian I will have fun with loud shoes but here I want to be inconspicuous so I got plain black adidas/white stripes.


- "get good fast" means comfort with the ball. Go out and practice passing back and forth with someone, as often as you possibly can. Ideally 3-4 times per week, schedule and partners willing. Be intentional about it, work on trapping it, work on putting it to a lightly jogging target, and receiving it while lightly jogging. Most coaching of beginners aims for practice to maximize the number of touches you get per hour.
Juggle on your own as much as you can. Like right now! It is always a good way to develop touch and you can do it by yourself almost anywhere.
Edit: also, work on basic off (usually left) foot competency. At a minimum, aspire to trap and deliver a clean pass with your left.
In terms of improving your foot skills, I know you live in an apartment but maybe get a futsal ball to just play with a little bit at home. Just manipulating a ball with your feet a bit in your spare time - rolling it with the bottom of your foot, other tiny little tricks - can help with the feel.
I got a size 4/futsal and the outdoor class needs a size 5. I try to dribble or use the boingy-thing a couple of times a day as a mental health break. Also, and most fun, my daughter and I went to the park with our softball gloves and the soccer ball. I started out having her pass the soccer ball back and forth to me, and then we played catch. What was really cool is that is a really good athlete, she has outgrown me as a coach in softball - but I can show her what I've learned in soccer (she tries to toe-poke everything, using the instep or outside of the foot didn't occur to her).

So yeah, this is fun.

More tomorrow after our 6v6.
 

BrazilianSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2006
3,749
Brasil
I know you don't want to look as a try-hard, but goalkeeper has different safety needs. If you think long pants are too showy, look into padded shorts. It helps a lot to avoid tight bruises when going to the ground. And as we get older, we don't recover as fast...
 

fletcherpost

sosh's feckin' poet laureate
Lifetime Member
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Jul 15, 2005
12,093
Glasgow, Scotland
I love that you're practicing with your daughter. You're a smart guy, you'll learn fast...your foot is like all the clubs in the golf bag, you can slice, curl, chip, toe poke, side foot....work on your tekkers, your first touch, can't do nothing without a good first touch.

I'm not much gpood but i can stil bend the ball with the inside of my foot or the outside, it's not that hard...just science, or maybe maths...or a bit of both, who cares?

Keepie uppies or juggling as you guys call it - see of you can get to 20, then go for 50...does wonders for your confidence and ball control. I wanna see you playing center midfield at some point.

It has to be fun...some folk take it too seriously. My best footie days were when i played with men and women on the same court/pitch...neutralizes a lot of the testosterone and mulitplies the fun. I know too many guys who have broken bones from playing with guys who were trying to relive some dead old dreams from their youth that never happened. Fuck those guys.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Nov 8, 2004
4,528
Bernal
I didn't really think I knew what I was doing, but one of my teammates said, "you say you never played before but you were always in the right spot." I just tried to go where no one else was.
In those games, and really any game where you don't have positional responsibility, moving to open/vacated space is super valuable. Both offensively and defensively.

Man, that first touch is everything. I never appreciated the skill of settling the ball softly, and shielding it or getting rid quickly. It's so easy for a defender to just pick it off your foot and be off with it, if it clangs just a bit.
This is the silver bullet for so many new (and old) players. Sometimes the first touch can be firm, but into space. Other times soft and slight. But never dead.

And to both of these points, the biggest KEY, imo, is to be constantly scanning the field, not watching the ball. There is a study, somewhere, that explains the brilliance of certain players who may not otherwise 'appear' brilliant. I think Xavi was the case study as a player who turns his head to look around an elite number of times throughout a match. And it fits with a player who rarely made mistakes, always knew which way to turn and where to position defensively. I actually notice that constant field-scanning is one of the first things for me to fade, when I get physically or mentally fatigued. As a goal-keeper, equally important (paired with communication).
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
21,386
Pittsburgh, PA
I was by no means the least fit, but I was seriously sucking wind after some of the dribbling drills. Instaface, I'm in decent endurance shape, but I have to up my sprint fitness - 30 seconds at top gear and I'm gassed. On a coldish winter day I had that butterscotch wheeze going.
I feel that. It's great, isn't it? Really makes you feel alive. I also have some good news: you'll get your sprint endurance up pretty well and be able to put in minutes, way more easily than you would be able to (say) up your peak level and be able to, I dunno, burn some fools with pace. So getting to a level where you're able to be equally (in)effective throughout most of the game is actually pretty achieveable. I've found that the first 3 times I try to up a level (or get back to playing after a long layoff), I'm destroyed rather quickly... and usually sore the next day. But starting with the 4th time, I've adjusted and can usually handle it.

Closing with games of 4v4/5v5 in small rectangles. I've played only keeper in the indoor 6v6 so haven't yet been in that heavy traffic. I didn't really think I knew what I was doing, but one of my teammates said, "you say you never played before but you were always in the right spot." I just tried to go where no one else was.
Watching a lot of footie (as you do) actually helps a lot with this, I think you develop a sense of what the right play is in most situations, even if executing it is a whole other matter. It's not as good as, you know, being out there taking actual reps, but it's not nothing, either. Slows the game down a bit for ya. Gives you a mental image to emulate.

Also, and most fun, my daughter and I went to the park with our softball gloves and the soccer ball. I started out having her pass the soccer ball back and forth to me, and then we played catch. What was really cool is that is a really good athlete, she has outgrown me as a coach in softball - but I can show her what I've learned in soccer (she tries to toe-poke everything, using the instep or outside of the foot didn't occur to her).
That's awesome. The payoff for being a parent, right there.
 

Catcher Block

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Mar 7, 2006
5,799
St. Louis
Is there universal lingo for this kind of thing?
You'll pick up your own lingo as you play with people more and hear their own terminology, but there are some common phrases you can use when talking on the field.

A very useful call is to yell "turn!" if someone receiving a pass doesn't have anyone defending them from behind, so they can turn and move upfield quicker. The opposite is "man on!" if they're being closed-down by a defender and need to pass the ball back to the original player. Simple things that let them know they can act quicker and keep playing flowing.

The other thing you'll say a lot is "time!" as in "you have time...take your time." I played for ~20 years and still have the reflex to yell this at the TV or at my kid's games. You'll always be communicating this so teammates know when they have time so they know they can shoot, slow things down, or dribble into the space in front of them, rather than make a hurried pass and turn the ball over.


Perhaps more importantly, you have the luxury of seeing more of the field than your teammates, so you'll be an extra set of eyes communicating to everyone in the back half of the field. Goalies, especially, should develop that booming voice that everyone can hear, so time slows down when they shout that they're coming to get the ball and everyone else gets the hell out of the way.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,483
The 718
You'll pick up your own lingo as you play with people more and hear their own terminology, but there are some common phrases you can use when talking on the field.

A very useful call is to yell "turn!" if someone receiving a pass doesn't have anyone defending them from behind, so they can turn and move upfield quicker. The opposite is "man on!" if they're being closed-down by a defender and need to pass the ball back to the original player. Simple things that let them know they can act quicker and keep playing flowing.

The other thing you'll say a lot is "time!" as in "you have time...take your time." I played for ~20 years and still have the reflex to yell this at the TV or at my kid's games. You'll always be communicating this so teammates know when they have time so they know they can shoot, slow things down, or dribble into the space in front of them, rather than make a hurried pass and turn the ball over.


Perhaps more importantly, you have the luxury of seeing more of the field than your teammates, so you'll be an extra set of eyes communicating to everyone in the back half of the field. Goalies, especially, should develop that booming voice that everyone can hear, so time slows down when they shout that they're coming to get the ball and everyone else gets the hell out of the way.
so “MINE”? Or is there something else that’s universal for the keeper to claim it?
 

OCST

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The most common scenario is I see a runner about to get behind the last defender and I want to warn them to get back. What’s the shout? “ HEY” has a ~50% success rate but that may not exceed the control group in limited sampling.
 

Zomp

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Everyone is different, right? I always tried to positive reinforce decision makings for teammates. Talking on defense is always important but talking while your team has possession is just as. For example if a teammate has the ball and they are looking upfield, I used to say "See john, see Tony". The point being the decision was theirs to make, but I wanted to make sure they knew where every option was. If there was an obvious pass or opportunity, we'd raise the volume and stress the person who should receive the ball.

Even if it was a simple pass to and from a person just to create space. A "good ball" or "yeeeesssss" as they do it will give confidence.
 

fletcherpost

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The most common scenario is I see a runner about to get behind the last defender and I want to warn them to get back. What’s the shout? “ HEY” has a ~50% success rate but that may not exceed the control group in limited sampling.
Always say the name of your player. Then state the precise action you want them to do, in the least amount of words. If they are looking at you, some large gesturing. (Peter Schmeichel was a great gesticulator and communicator.) Then give the reason. If you think about it, it's all about how much time do you have and what is the priority. If you've literally got a split second, you have to go with the name first. If the player can't turn to face you, cos of the nature of the play at that time, you need to shout the instruction clear and concise and develop a short-hand that your team become famliar with and can react to in the moment.

Aye, Zomp's right. 'See John, See Tony' - love that. 'Mark up' is a common shout in Scotland. It just means mark your player - NOW.

The goalie sees the game from a unique POV, so you have info on the game flow that no one else has. It's toally cool to have a wee word with a player and give them the low down on what an opposing player is 'up to'.
 

DJnVa

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so “MINE”? Or is there something else that’s universal for the keeper to claim it?
"KEEP!" I still have defenders clear the ball after I call it and usually just tell them "I'm calling it because I can get to it, but as long as you clear it, we're fine." This is indoor mind you, so I'm not getting a 20-foot running start to pick off a cross. In outdoor I expect my defenders to get out of the way after I call it because the collisions can be a bit heavier.

The most common scenario is I see a runner about to get behind the last defender and I want to warn them to get back. What’s the shout? “ HEY” has a ~50% success rate but that may not exceed the control group in limited sampling.
The trick is seeing it before they are "about to get behind". My chatter is a lot of "Jimmy--on your left" or "Nick--moving behind you to the right". These instructions are to let them know where players are. There's also the "DO THIS NOW" instruction "Kevin--SLIDE LEFT".

Your players should pick it up quickly because you'll be doing it all game long. It's all about getting familiar with your team. The worst is when I guest play for other indoor squads and don't really know everyone's name. It gets frustrating very quickly.
 

67YAZ

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I’ll add to this from a defender’s perspective.

I want to hear the keeper’s POV because it expands my vision. Clever attackers will try to hover in my blindspot, and I want to hear that. Sometimes I get too ball-focused and forget to scan, so the prompt is necessary.

On a counter, if the ball is on my side of the pitch, I’m stepping up to slow down the attack.

If the ball is on the other side, I’m moving towards the most central unmarked attacker making a run. In this case, the keeper needs to call out someone to pick up the free attackers, usually calling out who needs to cover the “backpost” run.

If the ball is coming up the middle, you should call out which defender does to the ball and who covers if neither has taken a decisive step yet.
 

Catcher Block

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so “MINE”? Or is there something else that’s universal for the keeper to claim it?
KEEPER!!! (or KEEP!) is the universal call. With a booming voice, this is equally effective in intimidating any attackers from trying to contest for the ball you're coming out to grab and warning your defenders that you're going to wreck them if they don't get out of your way.

The most successful GK communicators I've played with didn't necessarily talk all game, but you felt their commands in your soul anytime they opened their mouth. Ignore them at your peril, etc.

That being said, if the running commentary comes naturally to you and is a benefit to your defenders, I would fully embrace that.
 
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OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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This is all fantastic. Thanks.

I confess that I don't know everyone's name yet. That will change.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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On a counter, if the ball is on my side of the pitch, I’m stepping up to slow down the attack.

If the ball is on the other side, I’m moving towards the most central unmarked attacker making a run. In this case, the keeper needs to call out someone to pick up the free attackers, usually calling out who needs to cover the “backpost” run.

If the ball is coming up the middle, you should call out which defender does to the ball and who covers if neither has taken a decisive step yet.
This is where I need to acquire some nous. A few times I've been distracted by the runner and cheated to cover the runner, and been beat easily by the shooter. But really, in any kind of an odd-man rush the odds of a goal are very high, a shooter with a clear look in this game is going to score more often than not. The games are 40 minutes and we've lost each game so far, 7-5, 10-9, and 11-10, I think.
 

SocrManiac

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A ton of great advice here. I'll just give a quick goalkeeper communication coaching rundown.

You need to find your voice and your team needs to learn what you're saying AND learn to trust you.

The fastest way to develop trust isn't by assigning defenders. It's by telling people receiving the ball accurately what is happening around them. It's great practice for you and keeps you engaged. It can be dangerous if you start fixating on it, but it's a good introduction.

The first thing you need to gage is if the teammate receiving the ball has time or not. "TIME!" or "ON/MAN ON!" as appropriate. That then develops. You can say "TURN!" if you're confident your teammate can turn with the ball and face the attacking goal. If there's a marker, you can say "LEFT SHOULDER" if they're approaching from the person's left side. Adding "shoulder" allows the player to not think about your left or theirs.

The other "first thing" (since they're equally important) is "KEEPER" and "AWAY." Tell your teammates if you want the ball, tell your teammates to clear. This is HUGELY important and, when it doesn't go right even at the professional level, you see it on the broadcast. There are many facets to this. If a teammate is calling YOU to take the ball by shouting "Keeper," you need to have a chat about whose responsibility that call is (hint: not the teammate's). In some situations, a ball you've called will be cleared anyway. That's going to happen. It often sucks, but the defenders are taught to play safe. As the trust levels build, those instances will diminish but they will never go away.

Once you're comfortable and that trust is established, start to marshal your defense. This can get tricky, because you need to use terms that are as universal as possible in order to communicate with a diverse group that doesn't practice together. Over time, it will develop, but initially it's going to be pretty basic stuff.

If possible, start with the player's name as an "activator." A command without an assignment is useless, unless you're shouting a team-level command (reminding to find marks on a corner, for example). So, it's "ADAM, BACK POST RUNNER!" That will shorten significantly over time as an understanding is developed. If Adam is on the weak side and has good awareness, the command might be "Adam, post" or "Adam, blind." Until you've established a confident rapport, however, more detail is better, assuming you can get the words out before the play is over.

Defenders make instinctive decisions. During counters especially, you'll have the whole picture and see the overloads coming. Knowing when to tell a defender to attack the ball "Joe, STEP!" versus hold is critical. You can break a counterattack by pushing your defender to the ball in the moments when a run is covered. If that passing lane is open, pushing the defender to attack will release the pass and take your guy out of the play.

In terms of set piece defending... There are places on the field where you should be comfortable that you'll stop the vast majority of strikes on your goal. You'll get beaten by great shots, but goalkeeping is a statistical position. You cover the vast majority of outcomes and if you're beaten by an outlier, it happens. This is why the best goalkeepers age very well. They never work very hard and they rarely rely on athletic gifts. So, all of this is about setting up your defenders to cover the most dangerous positions. The most obvious example of this is keepers that put defenders on one or both posts during a corner. Those are difficult places to cover. Having help can save a goal. It doesn't stop there, however. If you're better diving to your right than diving to your left, you might put a zonal marker in the right side of the box where the most dangerous right-footed top corner curlers can come from. If no attacker has time to line up that shot and it never comes, you've saved the goal without moving. If you have a defender great at sensing and blocking shots and the opponents have a sniper, you mark them up when possible. Play your team's strengths, take away the opponent's strengths.
 

The Gray Eagle

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You'll pick up your own lingo as you play with people more and hear their own terminology, but there are some common phrases you can use when talking on the field.

A very useful call is to yell "turn!" if someone receiving a pass doesn't have anyone defending them from behind, so they can turn and move upfield quicker. The opposite is "man on!" if they're being closed-down by a defender and need to pass the ball back to the original player. Simple things that let them know they can act quicker and keep playing flowing.

The other thing you'll say a lot is "time!" as in "you have time...take your time." I played for ~20 years and still have the reflex to yell this at the TV or at my kid's games. You'll always be communicating this so teammates know when they have time so they know they can shoot, slow things down, or dribble into the space in front of them, rather than make a hurried pass and turn the ball over.


Perhaps more importantly, you have the luxury of seeing more of the field than your teammates, so you'll be an extra set of eyes communicating to everyone in the back half of the field. Goalies, especially, should develop that booming voice that everyone can hear, so time slows down when they shout that they're coming to get the ball and everyone else gets the hell out of the way.
These are great points, and these are all easy to do and important for a goalkeeper at any level, even (especially?) the lowest levels. Just getting in the habit of saying "Turn" and "Man on" will make your team better.

Tips about how to fail: when you give up a goal, you have to mentally let it go right away, even if it was clearly all your fault and everyone knows it. You need to be able to switch focus to stopping the next one, instead of worrying about the one that went in. If you give up a bad goal, don't get daunted, you still need to stay confident and aggressive and come out to cut down the angle whenever necessary.

And don't be an a-hole goalie who always yells and gestures at teammates when they mess up. You're on the same team, you should have each other's backs when anyone makes a mistake. The focus should always be on you all making the next play. You will probably at some point need to explain to a defender what they need to do better next time, but that can be done quietly and calmly, and that will make it more effective than humiliating a teammate in front of everyone.

The pros often yell and wave their arms at teammates who make mistakes to make sure everyone knows it wasn't their fault that the goal went in, or almost did. That is so unnecessary for amateurs to do, but a lot of them see the pros doing it so they think it's part of being a goalie. It's not. It's an a-hole thing to do and makes your team worse.
 

InstaFace

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Yeah all the above is great advice. "AWAY!" as a shorthand for "boot it to Row Z, anywhere will do", if they're the last chance before a swarm is about to take the ball in a dangerous spot.

Most important advice above is the positive reinforcement. It's not enough to avoid being an asshole to people about mistakes, you've gotta have words of encouragement and of praise and high-fives at the ready. People will play harder for teammates who they think appreciate them, and everyone will have a better time, which is what it's about.

As for positioning, there's two basic things to work on:

1) Always have your near post covered. Get as close to it as you need to in order to prevent a shot going in on that side. Shots to the far post have far lower margin of error (depending on angle, of course) and you want to force them to do something tougher. Maybe there are some exceptions on things like certain set pieces, but as a beginning, basic statement, you can act like it's universally true.

2) For breakaways / dead-on attempts, their setup touch (or hard dribble touch on a breakaway) is your cue to break towards them. If they see the GK barreling down on their position, you want them to have the least amount of time to consider clever stuff like rounding you, and have to either panic and take a bad shot or yield you the ball. Coming out cuts down the angle they have to work with. Don't worry about how you spread for a shot, so long as you can still cover something directly under you (i.e., don't jump at them without dragging a foot to prevent the 5-hole). Even if the touch isn't so heavy, moving right when they touch it means that by the time they are in position for the next touch, you've covered the maximum amount of ground towards them and given them the least amount of time to consider options. It also makes you look brave to your defenders, like you're not asking them to do anything you wouldn't do yourself.

The vast majority of shots you face will be along the ground or no more than waist height. If they can roof one on you, tip your cap, but your priority is to cover the ground shot.

There's no worse feeling than spilling a catchable shot, or one you tried to catch or block that went under you. Spend a chunk of practice just facing your teammates' outside shots (like, not PKs, just let them swarm around the box and try their luck), and learning what you can punch, deflect, kick-save, or catch (and get reps at not screwing them up respectively). During warmups or cooldowns, they won't be spending much energy peppering you, but you'll be working your ass off trying to stop one shot after another, so it's one opportunity to make up the gap between how hard you'll run during a game vs their efforts.
 

SocrManiac

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1) Always have your near post covered. Get as close to it as you need to in order to prevent a shot going in on that side. Shots to the far post have far lower margin of error (depending on angle, of course) and you want to force them to do something tougher. Maybe there are some exceptions on things like certain set pieces, but as a beginning, basic statement, you can act like it's universally true.
:(
 

SocrManiac

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you disagree? I was only a youth goalie, so that's the kind of thing that was drilled into me. I welcome correction.

(or was this some sort of long-running bit in this forum that I'm not picking up on?)
Yeah, I'm not a fan of the near post thing. It seems to live large in commentary, but professional goalkeepers tend to disagree as well. It's a myth. I do tend to have a reputation around here for this stuff, so I figured the sad face would be enough.

First... A goal is a goal. Doesn't matter where it's conceded. Goalkeepers hate being beat, period. There isn't necessarily a higher hatred to be beaten near post.

As you progress in skill, defending the near post and conceding the far is just allowing good forwards to score easy goals. You should be positioned to cover as much of the goal as possible at all times.

If you have an absolutely right footed striker bearing down on you toward your left? Yeah, you'll probably shade the near post since it's improbable he can get a shot off toward the far post. A talented striker that can open his hips up, though? No way. You're just creating more margin for error for a curler. Imagine if the near post was more heavily guarded against a right sided, left footed striker like Mo Salah. He'd just gratefully swing shots in with little concern for hitting the ball perfectly.

I said upthread, goalkeeping is risk analysis, mitigation, and continuous stabs at realtime statistics and probabilities. If the assumption behind the near post bias was that right footed players play on the right and left footed players play on the left, you might be able to make a case for guarding the near post, but that's just not reality.
 

Zososoxfan

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Yeah, I'm not a fan of the near post thing. It seems to live large in commentary, but professional goalkeepers tend to disagree as well. It's a myth. I do tend to have a reputation around here for this stuff, so I figured the sad face would be enough.

First... A goal is a goal. Doesn't matter where it's conceded. Goalkeepers hate being beat, period. There isn't necessarily a higher hatred to be beaten near post.

As you progress in skill, defending the near post and conceding the far is just allowing good forwards to score easy goals. You should be positioned to cover as much of the goal as possible at all times.

If you have an absolutely right footed striker bearing down on you toward your left? Yeah, you'll probably shade the near post since it's improbable he can get a shot off toward the far post. A talented striker that can open his hips up, though? No way. You're just creating more margin for error for a curler. Imagine if the near post was more heavily guarded against a right sided, left footed striker like Mo Salah. He'd just gratefully swing shots in with little concern for hitting the ball perfectly.

I said upthread, goalkeeping is risk analysis, mitigation, and continuous stabs at realtime statistics and probabilities. If the assumption behind the near post bias was that right footed players play on the right and left footed players play on the left, you might be able to make a case for guarding the near post, but that's just not reality.
First and foremost, good on you @OCST . This is awesome and I'm happy for you.

Re near post, what Socr wrote is all well and true but much more applicable to full size goals/fields. In small sided games/on small goals, you really do need to hold your near post first and foremost. Squeezing those shots to the far post is definitely a good first priority. Anecdotally, having your (read: my) keeper giving up goals to the near post are brutal.

I haven't read thru the whole thread closely but one thing I'd also add is rebound control. IOW, making the initial save sometimes isn't enough and in the same vein as hockey the best goalies think one step ahead. For a new keeper like yourself, my advice is for any shot that bounces in front of you but may not be from a particularly dangerous area (think shots from long range, or tight angles) that gives you some trepidation, don't be afraid to push it out over the goal line and concede a corner/FK (not sure about futsal rules). My current keeper is OK, not the best nor the worst I've played with in this league, but he has a couple of glaring weaknesses and this is one of them. I don't mind if he concedes unnecessary corners because in small sided games corners are not that big of an advantage, and my team certainly looks at them as a good opportunity to counter. When the alternative is spilling it out directly in front of him, it really should be a priority for him to just push it around the post safely and away from danger.
 

DJnVa

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Yeah, I'm not a fan of the near post thing. It seems to live large in commentary, but professional goalkeepers tend to disagree as well. It's a myth. I do tend to have a reputation around here for this stuff, so I figured the sad face would be enough.

First... A goal is a goal. Doesn't matter where it's conceded. Goalkeepers hate being beat, period. There isn't necessarily a higher hatred to be beaten near post.
This is my blind spot. When I moved to playing keeper a few years back, the first 2 goals I gave up were near post. So of course I got it in my head to stop that. And what happened---the good players beat me far post all day long. But I still couldn't get myself off the near post. It's a conscious effort now to do so.
 

InstaFace

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Yeah, I'm not a fan of the near post thing. It seems to live large in commentary, but professional goalkeepers tend to disagree as well. It's a myth. I do tend to have a reputation around here for this stuff, so I figured the sad face would be enough.
Yeah that's all fine, I don't pretend to have any insight into how professional goalkeepers think about these things. And I said nothing about relative levels of hatred. (also, I find that Tifo Football video unpersuasive as to the probabilities, as it makes no such argument and kinda strawmans the whole thing).

I'm basing this purely off probabilistic thinking as well. Most players he faces are going to be right-footed, he can't be expected to know an opponent's footedness, and if they cut back inside like Arjen Robben obviously you shift in response. But for an approaching shooter coming at something other than a straight-on angle, we have to assume that OCST's reaction time (especially on a smaller field) doesn't give him much range for a reaction to a shot, either. So if he positions to take away the near post, what remains that can beat him is a fairly narrow angle range for the far post. But if he gives up a share of the near post in order to cover more of the far post, the shooter has more margin for error on that near side, because it's that much closer to him, and OCST would have to be prepared to react in both directions, as opposed to just "block vs dive-right". So I think the probabilities would say "position yourself as close to the near post as can ensure that you can deny everything but a perfect shot on that side".

There's qualitative considerations, too:

- You can knock a near-post shot aside to safety more readily if you're positioned there, whereas if you're middling the angle, partial deflections are more likely to go in
- You might get help on a back-post shot, whereas you can count on none between you and your near post
- A low-level shooter is likely to blast and pray, rather than be able to precisely aim a shot, and if they do it's likeliest to head towards the part of the goal closest to them
- It's a lot easier to be precise in your positioning and fully ready for a shot when you know exactly how far away from that near post you can be and still have it covered. Middling the angle is more guesswork and likelier to leave you in a sub-optimal spot as a n00b. That's certainly how I felt!

If OCST gets to a point where he's aware of his opponents' footedness and tendencies and who's got a far-post curler in their bag, and can practice his footwork to select an exact angle in the moment, then maybe some deeper analytics can help him optimize at that point beyond a simple rule-of-thumb. And if so, he'll be well past benefitting from any advice I might be able to give him :)
 

SocrManiac

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First and foremost, good on you @OCST
Re near post, what Socr wrote is all well and true but much more applicable to full size goals/fields. In small sided games/on small goals, you really do need to hold your near post first and foremost. Squeezing those shots to the far post is definitely a good first priority. Anecdotally, having your (read: my) keeper giving up goals to the near post are brutal.
I love that we're talking about the most important position on the field. I'm going to continue to disagree here, though. The only reason it could be brutal is because there's a built-in bias here, or the keeper is positioned incorrectly for a different reason. Coincidentally, as I think this through, I suspect that I'm starting to understand the problem- we're talking about a specific situation with amateur keepers where it looks like a near post goal has been created, but it's more of a problem of the keeper closing the angle incorrectly.

Let me start here. I cannot think of a situation where I'd create a hard and fast exception to this rule: When facing an imminent shot (we'll set aside set pieces and crossed balls for a moment), a goalkeeper should be positioned somewhere on an imaginary line between the center point of the goal and the ball/shooting center of the striker. I think this is even more critical in small goals and shorter sided games where shots can come from a lot closer. Any time you are showing more goal area from six yards away, you're creating a huge target.

What I think people are trying to carve out as an exception is this. If we're talking about near post coverage in terms of shallow angle shots in indoor the rule above still applies, but I think amateurs are less likely to get their position on that imaginary line correct in terms of separation from the center point of the goal and the ball. Where the keeper is standing on that imaginary line is the problem. If the ball is tight to the goal line and a few yards away from the near post, the goalkeeper is necessarily going to be on that near post. That's not near post bias, that's just positioning. Let me get out MS Paint to illustrate...

This would look like a case of not guarding the near post, but I'd argue it's being too close to the line:
59922

The keeper should be stepped out further along that line to cut down the angle. It's then just a case of getting the arms or a leg out to cover that near post.
59923

Is this where we're crossing the streams?

Let me also throw in here that amatuer/Sunday League keepers tend to be weakest at maintaining their position on our imaginary line as the ball moves across the goal. It takes a lot of experience to know how to pay attention to the ball and the opponent's intent with it as well as the keeper's position on the field (gauged by the lines on the field and awareness of the centerline of the other goal). Glancing back at the post is something that even amateur strikers know to look for and take advantage of.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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That brings up another good point for a keeper, esp in futsal. Play further out than you think. Players can't chip you and being an active defender/ball player is useful.
Practice backpedaling, really.
And to Maniac's point above, you as/more likely to block a shot by taking the aggressive position and being big than you are to react & save a shot by staying on your line.
 

67YAZ

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This is where I need to acquire some nous. A few times I've been distracted by the runner and cheated to cover the runner, and been beat easily by the shooter. But really, in any kind of an odd-man rush the odds of a goal are very high, a shooter with a clear look in this game is going to score more often than not. The games are 40 minutes and we've lost each game so far, 7-5, 10-9, and 11-10, I think.
You're not wrong, and without the offside rule for 6v6, you can really get stretched out.

If you're goal-side of an attacker driving forward with the ball on his foot and his head up, you have to close down on an angle that also fills the dangerous passing lane. If he's goal-side of you, it's time to think about taking the professional yellow card.

But, in general, you're just trying to make it as slow and difficult a possible for the opponent to convert the chance. Make the attacker complete a weighted, curving pass or try to chip over you. Make him try that step-over-elastico-Cruyff-turn thing he saw on TikTok.

Always remember - as a defender, it's not your fault you got in this situation. It's the bastard who turned the ball over. Unless you're the one who turned the ball over, in which case there was nothing you could do about the opponent making a world class play to win the ball.

(I say this as a right footed, right side defender who loves to play the diagonal ball forward. When one of those gets intercepted watch out!)
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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So much good stuff, thanks. Off to earn a living before tonight's game.

Some stuff re: the futsal ball on the basketball court:

-The ball doesn't get in the air that much. Corners are not header attempts for the most part- the dangerous corner is a fast diagonal to a runner/lurker at the top of the box before the defenders get set. But the field and goal are small enough and the box so crowded on a corner that corners aren't great scoring opportunities. The one I gave up was just pinball.

-Similarly most shots are knee high or lower. It seems hard to get loft on the ball off the wood floor, especially at speed. I got chipped last game and it was just tip-your-cap.

-The futsal ball moves hard and fast, so getting a hand on it is not enough. I've given up a couple of goals where I got a strong hand on it for a slap or punch and it still had enough force to get through.

-I've been beaten 5-hole several times.
 

SocrManiac

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I found it useful to drop my knee to the horizontal, parallel to my shoulders in order to cover the five hole. You’re in a crouch, arms out and low…

Here. Of course the internet has a picture.



This is, of course, for covering an imminent shot. This picture is more of the "after. Knee should be slightly off the floor, less of a gap between foot and knee before the shot is taken.
 

OCST

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Lost 11-7 last night. Overall played well some good saves but had 3 balls go off/through my hands and in, including the one that jammed my left index finger which is still stiff and swollen. Felt good with ball at my feet after some more practice and drills: some good distribution. Most of all just felt more at ease. This was our teams worst game, not very disciplined and we got undone by a sniper who kept sneaking down the side to my right. More when I can type.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,483
The 718
The swelling in my finger has gone down enough so I can type, but not enough where I'd be comfortable playing again today. So this week's assignment is to learn about how to protect my hands, re: both technique and equipment.

I've read about spines in keepers' gloves, and about taping fingers. Some futsal keepers don't use gloves or use the fingerless gloves upthread, but the reason given is to have a good feel for the ball re: throwing, etc. and I'm doing fine with that with my standard-issue Nike $35 keepers' gloves. If there's anything I can do with equipment to protect my hands better against injury I'd like to.

Technique.... how I'm trying to stop shots... that's something I've just started to look at. I've seen stuff about hand-strengthening exercises for keepers - of course I'm used to Ian Darke enthusing about the "STRONG RIGHT HAND OF KASPER SCHMEICHEL" or whatever. I have some weakness in my left hand due to nerve damage so I'm used to doing hand-rehab exercises for that anyway.... other than exercise, with regard to the technique of shot-stopping or ball-handling, what can I look at? The shot that banged up this finger and went in, I could not have got two hands to it, fwiw.
 

SocrManiac

Tommy Seebach’s mustache
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
8,613
Somers, CT
I saw a horror injury with reinforced gloves and swore I'd never wear them. They also take some getting used to, forcing you to re-learn how to catch the ball. That aside, you aren't making many clean stops in futsal. They might be the ticket to protecting your fingers. I found taping anything other than my ring and pinky together to be unbearable. When I was nursing an injury, I would often use electrical tape to "splint" a single finger. You basically run a length of tape from your knuckle, down the finger, around the tip, and back down toward the palm. You then cross-wrap until you get the desired reinforcement. You maintain a lot of feel and the electrical tape has inherent flex that makes it feel more natural. Athletic tape feels like a club and something just waiting to get caught and hurt something further upstream.

A strong right hand is obviously referring to the ability to redirect the energy of a shot away from goal without flexing away. It's really your entire body, though, and any link in the chain (wrist, elbow, shoulder) can let you down. I think any type of general strengthening regimen would be fine for this. Reminds me of one of my all-time favorite goalkeeper saves: Neuer on CR7. I still don't know how this was physically possible:
View: https://twitter.com/RickFCB_/status/1552996389977735168

His elbow should have been a billion tiny pieces.

In terms of technique... Making a decision if you're sticking with futsal or potentially looking to play a more traditional indoor and/or outdoor would probably inform this more. Futsal is much more about body shape and reflexes than any other variant. The more traditional goalkeeping style isn't great about getting the body down to the ground as quickly (and comfortably) as futsal requires. I wouldn't even initially dump that much time and energy into catching technique if it's primarily going to be futsal. You're far better served learning how to make the body big while creating as little gap as possible so you can quickly meeting a shot from close range. I think the link upthread to Futsal technique is a great place to start. If you want something more generalized, let me know. There are some fantastic primers on goalkeeping on YouTube. Learning how to cushion your catches with essentially your entire body, knowing what muscle groups to land on, how to initiate a collapse dive, power dive, etc.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,483
The 718
Thanks sm. What I'm playing right now isn't strictly futsal. It's 6v6 on a basketball court (futsal is 5v5), they happen to be using a futsal ball, which is size 4 but also seems to be harder. I don't think I'll be sticking with this necessarily, this happened to be the absolute-beginner league that was close to me and that I could make the games (turned out not to be absolute-beginner but here I am). The program sponsors leagues throughout the city, year round, anywhere from 5v5 to 8v8, outdoor grass and turf, indoor turf and hard-surface. This might be my last time in a futsal-type situation. FWIW the players are a little frustrated with the speed of the ball on the basketball court.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
53,486
The swelling in my finger has gone down enough so I can type, but not enough where I'd be comfortable playing again today. So this week's assignment is to learn about how to protect my hands, re: both technique and equipment.

I've read about spines in keepers' gloves, and about taping fingers. Some futsal keepers don't use gloves or use the fingerless gloves upthread, but the reason given is to have a good feel for the ball re: throwing, etc. and I'm doing fine with that with my standard-issue Nike $35 keepers' gloves. If there's anything I can do with equipment to protect my hands better against injury I'd like to.

Technique.... how I'm trying to stop shots... that's something I've just started to look at. I've seen stuff about hand-strengthening exercises for keepers - of course I'm used to Ian Darke enthusing about the "STRONG RIGHT HAND OF KASPER SCHMEICHEL" or whatever. I have some weakness in my left hand due to nerve damage so I'm used to doing hand-rehab exercises for that anyway.... other than exercise, with regard to the technique of shot-stopping or ball-handling, what can I look at? The shot that banged up this finger and went in, I could not have got two hands to it, fwiw.

I dislocated my ring finger on my left hand playing--shot just caught it perfectly, I guess. Wasn't really painful but the x-ray looked cool. Nurse reset it the next day and I played that night.

60001

Re: gloves--I have finger spines in mine, but I've played without as well. I'm just more comfortable with them. With your gloves, I am assuming you wet them pregame right? For some reason I didn't know that when I started and it makes a difference in play and in wear and tear (read: money) on the gloves.

We played a team last night--in their last 8 games they're 8-0, with a 50-20 GF/GA. With 10 minutes left we were only down 3-2 then a guy ripped one to my left, got my full palm onto it but it just knocked my hand out of the way and into the net. That one stung--literally and figuratively. Team we play next has 8 players that played D2 soccer--their keeper was 3rd team All-American. And my team has....me. :)
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,483
The 718
I dislocated my ring finger on my left hand playing--shot just caught it perfectly, I guess. Wasn't really painful but the x-ray looked cool. Nurse reset it the next day and I played that night.


Re: gloves--I have finger spines in mine, but I've played without as well. I'm just more comfortable with them. With your gloves, I am assuming you wet them pregame right? For some reason I didn't know that when I started and it makes a difference in play and in wear and tear (read: money) on the gloves.

We played a team last night--in their last 8 games they're 8-0, with a 50-20 GF/GA. With 10 minutes left we were only down 3-2 then a guy ripped one to my left, got my full palm onto it but it just knocked my hand out of the way and into the net. That one stung--literally and figuratively. Team we play next has 8 players that played D2 soccer--their keeper was 3rd team All-American. And my team has....me. :)
That X-ray is rough.

thanks for the glove wetting tip