Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

What to do with the goalkeeper when you get hammered

They are different to all your other players… goalkeepers are a law unto themselves. I was reading the reports on England goalkeeper David James who has let 10 goals in, in just two games for English premiership team Portsmouth. He says in the past he would have been unable to speak to anyone for days. I can sympathise with that – if any of my teams lost two games in a row badly then I was like a bear with a sore head.

But now James says “I try to get on with it, i take the dogs out for a walk and try to move and prepare for the next game. I have a debrief with my psychologist…” PSYCHOLOGIST… now that is where the similarities end. 

Coaches of youth teams don’t have psychologists to hand when they lose a game and neither does the under 12 goalkeeper. The goalkeeper will be in the car getting a pasting from dad while your in the bar bemoaning your luck.

But that’s the problem for goalkeepers… their errors are highlighted every time the ball goes in the net, they have nowhere to hide. You cannot let your goalkeeper take the blame or he won’t be your goalkeeper much longer. Protect him and nuture him so that he wants to play in goal no matter what the score is.

At training nights make sure he joins in with all the fun bits – the match, skills, fitness –  before you send him into the goal for some goalkeeper practice. It is important for you and the team that he feels part of it all. 

You can also get him to be vocal at training to shout at his defenders so in matches you can hear him bossing everyone around.

If you encourage him when he makes a mistake rather than criticise most of the players will pat him on the back and support him… have a go and they will crucify him.

Goalkeepers are vital to your team let’s make sure they don’t go home crying.

Here’s a few goalkeeping errors to show that it happens to even the very best…


2 Comments so far
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I have a few drills that my current keeper is excellent in. If he has a bad game, the next night in training, I get him saving shots again with some of the drills he excels at.

Comment by Gary

its easy to put the blame on the goal keeper when your team is winning. As you say its about support and being a team

Comment by football coaching drills

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