Goalie Training Suggestions

bakahump

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So my daughter is the Goalie on her u12 team. She is pretty good. Partly from some talent, partly from having played Goalie for the last 3 seasons full time. So while other teams rotated girls through the position as a "Chore" IE "Ok Ann...you have to be goalie for the first half and Samantha you will be goalie in the second half" followed by groans. My Daughter liked it instantly, had some success, had no competition for the spot, wasnt scared of the ball and generally took the opportunity and ran with it.

So now she has 30+ games of experience playing against goalies who might have 3 games spread over a couple seasons.

My question is does anyone have some insight into some good drills to focus on? I assume Speed and Agility and lateral stuff but I am not a soccer guy other then enjoying watching her and her team. Any drills for Goalie kicks? Just have her do reps?

She was asked to join a premier team as the primary goalie but the cost was prohibitive. Instead we spent 1/10 of the money and had her do a couple goalie clinics, from which we saw some good results.

He coach/team is quite good but they tend to focus almost strictly on the girls on the field. Its almost like he considers her "good enough" for the time being while working with the field to get more bang for his practice time buck. obviously we would like her to improve if she can which is why I am soliciting ideas.
 

Zososoxfan

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I played keeper growing up before getting limited by my height and desire to play in the field at around 13 years old. Here's just my $0.02:

1. Depending on her ultimate goals, she SHOULD continue training as a field player. Keepers at high levels of the game are frequently asked to be part of breaking a press and in any event, should be confident in their foot skills. Most coaches and especially defenders will look very favorably at a keeper they can trust. Keep her training on field skills.

2. Keepers should work on keeping their feet on their ground and active (staying light on their toes), so they are ready to react to quick shots. Have her face the goal, turn on a whistle, and then fire a shot either immediately following the turn or just after--mixing up the timing, so she has to get used to quick reactions.

3. Emphasize angles. Other than learning when to come out for a ball, this is THE single most fundamental skill to the position. At a basic level, she needs to learn to pretty much always force a shot to the far post. In other words, never give up the near post. I'm not aware of any drills, but repeating shots from the same angle at different distances should get it done. For this drill, all shots should come from a moving ball, not a stationary one. When you or the trainer are preparing to shoot, roll it in front of you 1-2 steps before firing. Giving up a goal to the near post should result in taking some laps or other draconian measure ;-)

4. Double saves. The best saves are often a series of 2-3 saves in rapid succession. Rebound control is huge in soccer, but there will be times when it spills out. So, take a first shot that requires a dive or otherwise cannot be held, and when she's getting to her feet (or not) fire a second.

5. When to come out for a ball. One of the hardest skills to learn for sure. Very challenging to develop depth perception. Playing frisbee is actually really helpful for this. Without a third person in training, not sure how this can be taught.

6. Parrying the Ball. Underrated skill here. When a keeper blocks a shot, but can't hold it, their first reaction should be to parry it to the side of or over the goal. There's some technique to it, but it's also pretty intuitive. Flex the hands when diving to the side and focus on pushing shots wide and backwards. If a shot is coming in high and fast, teach to just set it over the goal rather than trying to grab it.

7. Crosses. You can certainly practice catching crosses from that angle, but just as important is teaching keepers that when they don't come out for an interception, to square up to where they think the shot may come from. In other words, if she judges that she isn't going to get the interception and the ball is heading towards the far post, she should be facing that direction prior to the ball reaching its likely landing/strike point.

8. Goal kicks. There is definitely some technique to striking a ball, but some of this is just what works for you. For most young players, the plant foot is the part screwed up most often. Keep drilling getting the plant foot in the proper place (approx. 6 in. from the ball) until it's automatic. Second, keep the foot flexed down and lock the ankle. A stiff ankle transfers power better than a loose one. If she's struggling to generate power, she can practice striking the ball and landing on her striking foot, which is hard to control but is a neat trick. If she's more advanced than I'm describing, you can work on keeping the ball low (to cut thru wind for example) versus when to hit a high ball for her teammates to get under. Some basic target practice to the sidelines is also an advanced skill.


Hope this helps.
 
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Saints Rest

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In addition to those excellent tips, I would add working with her on distributing the ball from her hand, either by rolling it smoothly but crisply on the ground (when no opponents are near) or by throwing it (over an opponent). Throwing or rolling a soccer ball can be tricky for someone with smaller hands, but it can be done. I might even suggest practicing with a basketball so that when she switches to a soccer ball, it feels so much lighter, smaller, and easier to control.
 

Zososoxfan

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In addition to those excellent tips, I would add working with her on distributing the ball from her hand, either by rolling it smoothly but crisply on the ground (when no opponents are near) or by throwing it (over an opponent). Throwing or rolling a soccer ball can be tricky for someone with smaller hands, but it can be done. I might even suggest practicing with a basketball so that when she switches to a soccer ball, it feels so much lighter, smaller, and easier to control.
Great point, and I'd add that she should practice distributing with overhand throws to both the left and the right.

Punting is another skill that is hard to learn. If she is really coordinated, I'd try to teach her the side strike technique because it allows for a low trajectory to setup a counter attack. Otherwise, a typical punting style (holding the ball with the hand opposite of the striking foot, and coming from an angle) is fine. If she's struggling to generate distance, you can try dropkicks too--definitely helped me with distance, but is harder to maintain consistency in my experience.
 

BrazilianSoxFan

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And keep in mind that good, willing, goalies are rare commodities. Don't know how things work in the US, but if she really is good don't be afraid to ask the club for a discount or have her costs comped by them.
 

bakahump

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Thanks guys.

Interesting how much of your advice line up with what we have seen/know. You guys might know what your talking about :D

@Zososoxfan
1. Yea she works on the field but its definitely the weakest part of her game (as you would expect from someone playing 3 years almost (95%) of her time in goal.
2. When she tried out for the Premier team and does goalie clinics through them, they often do the "turn and react" drill. Most of the time it was "right to her" (at least IMHO). But as I say they are the experts so I figured there must be training value in that.
3. I would say she is pretty strong at angles. Some is coaching and a large part is the experience she has from so many games. Obviously its something that can get stronger but she is "solid". I was not aware of the "Rolling into a shot" thing. Good tip.
4. Double Saves was something that the Tryout and Clinic emphasized. She did well on them. She actually makes us pretty nervous during the course of the game when she doesnt cleanly catch a shot. "usually" she makes the second save in a "I got this" manner but it is terror inducing at times as a parent. :)
5. She is getting better at Coming out. I think a big thing is being "Decisive". She went through the early phases of learning to come out where she would start....stop...restart....realize oh shit....then often get beat. This past season she was saying "Screw it" more and being decisive....and beating girls to the ball and knocking it away well out in the box. She still got beat but I figured that was a practice thing of knowing what she could get too and how fast the incoming player was. And that occasionally your gonna make the wrong choice. This is about the most terror inducing time watching her leaving the goal WIDE open. But We realize its what they are supposed to do alot of the time.
6. She has developed the deflection skill over the last 6 months or so. Using the "over the net" or off to the side deflections. I think she might also be using this more then she should. Popping a shot into the air then catching it. Maybe thats the technique.....
7. Definitely needs to work on Crosses. Its still pretty rare at u12 for a corner or wing kick to cross, but when it does happen she isnt aggressive in going for the ball. It seems like she is more worried about being "in position" to make a save rather then getting the ball before it can become a shot. But that might just be my novice take of whats happening.
8. Her Kicks from the ground pretty much suck (or at least I think so). We often have a a really good Defenseman girl take the kick. I will tell her about the "ankle lock" thing. Her punts are good to excellent. Often getting across midfield on a u12 field. They often lead to breaks for her offense. "Turning the field" is definitely a strength. She can sometimes kick too high....which results in a high bounce (or occasional head) that her team controls sometimes (other times not). So the "Side foot thing" might be an interesting thing to investigate. She is strong (a bigger girl on her team) so she has the muscle....just think its a technique refinement thing.

@Saints Rest
She is pretty good at Most throws. Grenade throw she can get it 20 yards maybe more. Over head probably needs some work. Rolls are very underutilized on her team currently. I suspect that none of the u12s are worried about getting beat that bad so there is pretty constant pressure which does not lend itself to rolls. She is working on getting rid of the ball quicker. Occasionally will make the save then spend 10-20 seconds looking at this girl or that girl or another girl trying to decide the best option. The Basketball is a great idea (she is in that season now LOL).


@BrazilianSoxFan

We wondered about that. They were really putting on a "full court press" this spring when we were considering it. I didnt want to sound cheap or insult anyone so I tried to dance around the idea. I asked "Would she be the primary Goalie or do you plan on her splitting time?" They told me that "She is the only goalie we are looking at for u12." Regardless we never got to the point where they offered or we asked for a discount. I think my wife did mention that it was alot of money a couple times. And when we finally declined we cited cost as the reason. If she continue to be strong maybe the opportunity will present itself again. I will probably kick myself for not investing the money now. Out of 3 athletic kids she is probably the best and soccer (goal) is her talent. So some kind of scholarship wouldnt suprise me some day (I am not so crazy to think a D1.....but D2 could be a possibility.) And from what I have heard those are much more of a possibility for Premier players/teams.

She is good (humble brag...cause you know I should get credit cause her mother let me have sex one night 13 years ago :) ). in 15 games she had 7 shut outs and allowed .60 gaa. She had a really good Defenseman who was by no means an afterthought and contributed ALOT to these numbers. Between the 2 of them they shut down alot of offenses. At one point we had 4 Shutouts in a row and 330 consecutive minutes without a goal against. All this in a D1 Bracket (so while not premier....the best "free" competition in the state).

Time will tell if she is really good or not.

Thanks again for the Tips and please keep them coming as they occur to you.
 

BrazilianSoxFan

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I asked "Would she be the primary Goalie or do you plan on her splitting time?" They told me that "She is the only goalie we are looking at for u12."
If I were a betting man, I would place some money in that they lied to you, or at the very least deflected the question. A good team wouldn't go into the season with only one goalkeeper.

That answer and their latter actions tells me that they're probably comfortable at the position and looked at her as a mild upgrade at best. She may be the only new goalie that they were looking into, but they probably already have one that they can trust in their roster, and maybe even a competent backup that they would be happy with if your girl didn't sign.

I was a Futsal goalie in my youth. And while what I said before is true, good goalies are rare, it's also true that if a team already has one, a second good goalie is a luxury.

Keep in mind that, If your kid gets into a good team that already has a goalie that the coach trusts, it can be very hard for a reserve GK to get a chance to "steal" the job of the starter. That can be very mentally draining for a young kid.
 
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bakahump

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That makes total sense. I do know that they had no "permanent" goalie in the previous years 11U that was coming up. They also played alot of 7-4, 8-6 type games. Going about .500
I will also say that in her age group they had no other female goalies at their clinics (that we attended). I got the feeling she was it. or they would Rotate as they had done the year before But your scenario certainly makes sense.

Obviously regardless they were comfortable enough (or they didnt see enough promise in her) not to willingly offer a discount of some type without us asking. And I didnt feel comfortable doing so.

Water under the bridge. If she has promise people will notice and I might not be so shy next time.
 

nayrbrey

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All The information posted here is amazing. It always amazes me about the huge volume of resources on SoSH about all sorts of things. The only thing I will add is to work on her communication with the players. Our main Goalkeeper on the u10 team is awesome at that. Telling the D where he wants them, calling for the ball (“Keeper! Keeper!”) when he wants it, and such. I basically told him he’s in charge out there and he instantly took to that.
Good luck.
 

CPT Neuron

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Baka - send me a message or connect with me offline, I am still fairly well tied into the community here in Maine in Youth Soccer. I'm also pretty well tied in with some of the Premier clubs as well.
 

bakahump

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Funny Side story.....the coaches at the Permier team are Scottish or maybe Irish. Maddie goes to a clinic and comes home. We ask "did you learn anything new?"
My 12yo daughter says "Oh yes <in what was close to heavy borgue accent as a 12 yo can get she says> when they say "Dasda shitdare!" It means I made a good save. And when they say "BloodyELLL MAD-D" it means I shoulda got it."
 

DrewDawg

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No specific advice, but I know that a good keeper is worth their weight in gold and teams that have them at the youth level have a huge advantage.

I say this because my daughter's team does not.
 

DrewDawg

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@DrewDawg do you guys rotate through the team? Or do you have a girl who just isnt doing that well?
We have 2 girls, and this is now a U17/U18 level travel team, and neither are up to the relative standards of the other players. Keepers are in short supply and they are simply unable to find one.

For the most part, defenders can't play the ball back to them. That compresses the field, it makes defenders sometimes have to simply concede a throw-in to relieve pressure momentarily--our girls are skilled to play out of the back. Not being able to play it back hurts. Knowing the keepers aren't up to snuff makes the girls try to be perfect on defense. And these are 16 and 17 year olds. They are not going to be perfect. There's also the pressure on the offense knowing that even if we have a 1 goal lead, we cannot absorb pressure, we have to keep pushing. We've had games with 75% possession but lose 3-2 because the other team had maybe just 5 attacking runs in the second half and converted 2 of them.

I've had the coach say to me numerous times that he really wishes this group could play a season with a good keeper.

On the off chance that we catch a team just right, the defense plays "perfect" and the keepers actually play well we are really good. Made run to tourney final a few weeks back, playing 3 higher ranked teams. But typically it's a 1-0 halftime lead that turns into a 2-1 loss or 2-2 draw.
 
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bakahump

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Thats tough.

We are not playing the ball back yet. She will struggle with that if she doesnt improve her foot skills (we have had her do some of those clinics too) and power. She gets work during practice too but its tough splitting time with Footskills and Goal. I think the power is a technique thing....she just sucks at kicking off the ground. But her Punts are quit good.

Our problem is strikers. We dont seem to have any girls that can really put alot of scoring pressure on. Usually is a rush of a good punt or a pin ball goal out front. But no one can really beat there man and get to goal. I assume its the age and that some will grow into it.

We often have 1-1 ties or 2-1 losses. Our defense and Goal are the opposite of you. If we allow even 1 we are probably sunk.

So I feel your pain. Too bad the age difference LOL.

As a player my daughter has a great attitude. Its "on to Cinncinati" after a goal. Thats obviously helpful as a goal. I have seen so many 12yo Part timers simply melt after someone scores on them.
Its also "weird" being a keepers parent. You realize that alot of shots are (or odd rushes) are taking care of by our defense (and As I Say we have a really good center Fullback that sweeps left and right and helps ALOT). But You also see shots that have no business being taken and leave Maddie hung out to dry. Sure occasionally she will make the "Wow" save but often its 1 on 1 and she gets beat. You dont want to tell her its "her fault" but she does have a role to perform.... It weird. Of course that same attitude often manifests as "Well I did my job and only allowed 1 goal" even after a 1-0 loss. She isnt stuck up or a bitch about it....just a weird dynamic. I assume its again part of the position.
Thoughts??
 

DrewDawg

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I'm not sure how to discuss those things--as you said it's weird. There's "failure" that looks like her fault but anyone that knows soccer knows it's not. But as a kid, that's a difficult thing. In soccer, a player that's 1 on 1 with the keeper should score most of the time. And most people are looking at the keeper when a goal is scored, neglecting the fact that a defender didn't track back or a defender 30 yards away didn't step up and kept a player onside. You would hope that the coaches would know better.
 

bakahump

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Our Coaches and many of our Parents are really good about it. Often during a game they will mention to me conversationally (and her separately after...as an affirmation) That "that goal wasnt on her" or wasnt her fault.

Occasionally you can see the kids looking sideways at her though. But for the most part they are a good and supportive group.

It helps that i think the worst she ever did is 3-4 goals against (with maybe 1 soft). Which is bad but not a "Time to pull her" bad.

I always feel weird about it and dont know how to respond. She certainly has given up a soft goal on occasion and I usually point out that those are the types of saves she has to make. On tough ones I tell her keep working and make as many as you can. (I dont always play capt obvious....but when I do..)

Thanks for every ones conversation/thoughts on her, youth soccer and the "Goalie Experience".
 

DrewDawg

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I player keeper in an indoor league and I know every goal I allow feels like my fault.

It's also the type of position that means when she makes a mistake it's really obvious. A striker mishits a ball and everyone sighs, but they're right back at it.
 

BrazilianSoxFan

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I've always been a Futsal keeper. Still remember how completely lost I was when playing "normal" football for the first time. Misjudging the ball bounces, own-goal on an ill-executed punch, horrible positioning.

But hey, still grabbed a penalty! Was it because I gave up and stood still and the penalty taker shot it straight into my chest? Maybe, but it still counts!
 

bakahump

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Maddie had one of those. Defense committed a Hand ball right at the top of the box. They line up for the PK....I swear there was a drum roll.....girl kicked it.....hit maddie right in the chest. I dont think she moved. Everyone cheered (including Bakette and I....i also may have fist pumped) like she had just solved the Middle east issue.
On the ride home "Yea that was the easiest save I had all day".

HJHAHAHHA
 

bakahump

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Won Keeper of the year last night from our Town Club. Club consists of u9-u14yos. She won as a u12. Boys winner was a u14.
Her coach stumped for her last year as a u11, but club had a rule that only u13 and u14 were eligible. (U14 Winner last year was really good anyway). He argued hard enough that they changed it to allow any age and this year after discussion she got it. Some U13 and u14 girls not happy.

Best part was her team erupting and a couple of officers in the club coming up after and saying that she was a great kid and could be a special player.