Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

It’s easy to say but ‘dont blame the goalkeeper!’

By David Clarke

Rob Green knows all about errors after he made one in the World Cup for England against the USA. Then there’s Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczęsny, whose mix-up with Laurent Koscielny gave Birmingham City’s Obefami Martins the ball to score and win the Carling Cup.

“Unfortunately, that’s the life of a goalkeeper,” said the Birmingham City goalie Ben Foster. “You can make a few good saves and then when you let one in at the last minute you’re the villain. But you can see that he’s brimming with confidence and has all the ability in the world. He just needs to put this behind him and move on – he’s got a great career ahead of him.”

Confidence is the important word in the goalkeeping world.

Last season one of my youth teams was drawn away to one of the more famous U12 teams in the UK. We were under no illusions that it would be a hard match, but we spoke about how we would just treat it the same as any other game.

The boys were excited about playing at a ground with a stand and advertising hoardings around the pitch. Half way through the first half we were playing well, and had created a few chances.

The opposition were getting rattled and had put some heavy challenges on my striker. Our opponents tried a long range shot which was trundling towards my goalkeeper. Safe in the knowledge it was an easy shot for him pick up, I called my striker over to talk to him about the heavy challenges he was taking.

I didn’t want him to react to them, and was telling him so when the opposition team suddenly started cheering and shouting. I looked up to see my goalkeeper with his head in his hands and the ball in the back of the net. One of my defenders was shouting at him, and the rest of the team had a look of disbelief on their faces.

“What happened?” asked my striker. I didn’t know. Apparently he had bent down to pick the ball up and taken his eye off it and somehow he missed the ball which rolled through his legs into the net.

One of my players was giving him some stick so I took the player dishing out the abuse off the pitch and put a substitute on. We spoke at half time about how easy it is to make a mistake and the rest of the team gave their support to our goalkeeper.

We joked about it at training, and we never referred to it as the mistake that lost us the game. A young player’s confidence can so easily be broken by incidents like this.

1 Comment so far
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Thank you for writing this blog, I am a parent of a U10’s keeper and he has had to put up with a lot, we have only lost 2 games out of 8 but the games, the last game we lost he got ribbing from a team mate and he got very upset, so i will get him to read this when he gets home from school. Again thank you very much.

Comment by Teri Ward

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