One of the hardest positions to play in Soccer is the goalkeeper. The great ones are easy to spot, and the bad ones are easily blamed for the team’s loss. The pressure of protecting a wide net is quite hard to manage, and can really be stressful for beginners. It’s important to approach the position with care, and learn the nuances of guarding the net, and learning how to dive against a coming attack. The defenders can only do so much, so it’s important to practice and utilize some tips.
The first thing to do is avoid watching the opponent’s eyes or head movements. When a striker approaches the open net, or tries to chip in the ball, they’ll try to use their body language to throw you off, never focus on that, focus on the ball. There is a split second to decide which way to follow, and wait for the ball to move away from the foot before diving. This kind of split second decision-making can be difficult to manage at first, but it takes practice and focus.
To familiarize the body and mind to what needs to be done to protect the goal, have the team shoot at the goalkeeper one by one, and in a pack. The best bet to gaining confidence is to painstakingly go through the motions of trying to block the ball. Even if a player misses the ball, doesn’t stop the oncoming scoring attempts during practice, it’s important to continue practicing to alleviate the stress involved with protecting the net.
Lastly, make sure to promote confidence in goalkeepers by praising stops, and trying to clear stress. A clear mind can focus on the task at hand, and create nerves of steel in real game situations. Concentrating on a clear mind, and trying to stop the ball in practice will help in the long term.
If you use at least some of the tips listed above you and your team members will notice some great improvements in your performance. Belive me, I’ve been there myself and I know what am I talking about. Good luck!