At Pro GK, we believe that it is imperative to work on every facet of your game. If you excel in one aspect of the position it is easy to overlook the others. However, as the last line of defense we cannot take the risk of a weakness being exposed. To avoid that, we have what we believe to be the 4 key components that make up 'The Complete Goalkeeper' : the technical, the mental, the physical and the intangibles.
To be a complete goalkeeper you must first be technically sound. At Pro GK, it is our #1 emphasis because it can mean the difference between being a starter or the backup. At the next level, coaches can quickly spot a goalkeeper with a weak technical foundation. To all aspiring goalkeepers, it is important to remember that technique isn't something that you naturally develop. It is something that needs to be worked on consistently until perfected. That being said, we have put together clips of the most important techniques and drills to use to improve those techniques. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and get started!
Note: Great examples of goalkeepers with tremendous technique are:
Tottenham's Hugo Lloris and FC Barcelona's Marc Andre Ter Stegen.
The physical aspect of the game will always be important but it becomes a focal point between the ages of 15-17. Prior to that, most goalkeepers can get by with their shot stopping and natural ability. However, with the increased physicality at the college and professional levels, it becomes the difference. To start, we recommend light weight lifting and highly encourage plyometric exercises. To compliment your workouts, it is also important to develop a nutrition plan that works for you. To see positive results, consistency is required.
We encourage ALL goalkeepers to begin their physical development as soon as possible (download our Plyometric workouts). Nutrition and lifting plans coming soon!
The mental aspect of the game is often overlooked. Not because it is the least important but because many find it difficult to openly admit that it is an issue for them. In reality, we have all dealt with the unique nerves that come with playing the goalkeeper position. That is why it is imperative to train your mind and find various ways to channel your confidence.
Inner confidence is essential when developing your mind. At ProGk, we believe that confidence comes from knowing that you have taken all the necessary steps to prepare yourself for game day. We make sure that our goalkeepers see as many game-like scenarios throughout their weekly trainings. While we understand that nerves are a part of the game, it is important to remember that letting those nerves effect you in competition gives your opponent an advantage that they did not earn.
The intangibles include, but are not limited to: Communication, Anticipation + Positioning, and Consistency.
a) First, let's start with Communication. Communicating with your defense is one of the most underrated skills that a goalkeeper can possess. Since we can see the entire field, we have the ability to spot any attack before it transpires. Being able to communicate what you see in an articulate and concise way is what will separate you from the rest.
b) Second is Anticipation + Positioning. A saying that best encompasses these skills is, "the great goalkeepers are those that don't have to make the spectacular save because they're always in the right position." This quote holds a lot of truth because if you can anticipate the next play, you're likely putting yourself in the best position possible to make the save. For example, if your back line is holding a high line and you notice the opponent winding up to serve the ball, you will likely anticipate a ball played over your defenders. This anticipation will cause you to cheat off of your line and put you in the best position to cut off any danger before it happens.
c) Lastly is Consistency. When we look at the goalkeepers that have had long and illustrious careers, they all had one trait in common; consistency. What separates them from the others is the peace of mind they offer to their coaches and players. There is something to be said about a goalkeeper that is dependable and helps solve problems rather than create them.