Apr 3, 2013

The Lonely Position - "It's Good To Talk"

By Lloyd Yaxley

Since moving across the pond i have noticed two different types of goalkeepers that i come across all the time whilst watching youth games:

1. The kid who just stands there and is completely mute....or

2. The Goalkeeper who will not stop talking and end up being like a commentator as the play is going on!

For me both are as bad as each other!

There are some calls that i hear "the commentator" say that make me cringe every time (this is my favorite one, i'll paint the picture a little) ball goes out for a corner kick and they shout "MARK UP, EVERYONE MARK UP"  so 3 players mark the same player, ball gets crossed and someone has a free header 7 yards out, then they say "I said Mark UP"

We will come back to the above later...

Lets talk about "Mr Mute" why is he/she so silent? one reason may be they do not want to be the goalkeeper they just ended up playing there or another reason may be they just have no idea what to say as they have never watched a game live or on TV before. The final and most obvious reason is they have never been taught!!

So lets start with the very very basics!!

I always ask my young keepers why do we communicate?

- So the defense know how we are going to deal with the situation
- So the opposition know i am coming to get it.
- Organisation

With those points in mind you do not need to shout "Keeper" when you are making a save!! There are no other players involved in this situation as the ball zooms past the defenders and fly's towards goal! They expect you to make that save.

"KEEPER" encourage your goalkeepers to shout this when they are going to take control of the situation DO NOT SHOUT "Leave it" "I've got it" "Mine"

But why does it matter -

so everyone knows that the crazy person who can use their hands is coming to get the ball and if you are in their way guess what......smash!

Its a bit like a police car having a siren......why so everyone knows it is a police car coming and to get out the way if they had a horn like every other car no one would pay attention!

Now when do they shout "keeper"? not when the ball touches your hands!!!! If that is the case you have called just a little late!



Through ball is played splitting the defense - you come sprinting out and smother the ball from the strikers feet. CALL AS SOON AS YOU TAKE THAT FIRST STEP OUT.

As your Goalkeepers get older there will be other situations such as a cross where a early and decisive call is going to help with their timing- with crosses my coach used to say "call early move late" that way you can call judge the flight,adjust your feet then make the catch or punch!

If you do not want to come and gather the pass or do not want to catch the cross then the call is "AWAY" so your team knows to get it away!
Last weekend i honestly heard a goalkeeper say from a cross "OK defenders lets clear it" Just shout AWAY the call is to the point and quick and not a commentary!

Goalkeepers have a split second to make a decision so your calls need to be sharp and get your point across!

Keeper and away a pretty self explanatory, so what else is missing? Being able to see play developing and snuffing it out. this is a huge weakness within American Goalkeepers i feel- why.. they do not watch games on TV or go to games.

If you are having to make a save - one or several of the other 10 players have done something wrong or something has broken down somewhere. It is your job to get them organised with short precise communication.

What the goalkeeper must do is see the danger about to happen, read the game and then break it down!

Do we need to "step up", "drop off" "tuck over" " Gary Right shoulder" "Megan open up" all short quick and to the point.

I really could write a encyclopedia on different calls a goalkeeper might make and why but that is not for me to say the goalkeeper must work it out.and figure out their own style of communication.

One of the big issues with "the commentator" is their team mates just end up ignoring them or fading their voice out. its a bit like when your mum is telling you off if she stands there for 10 minutes giving you a piece of her mind and after 20 seconds all you hear is blah blah blah blah. Same with the Goalkeeper constantly talking for no reason- verbal diarrhea.

All together make your shouts to the point and quick, if you do not get a reaction from the player your voice needs to intensify or get loader so a sense of urgency comes across.

Great example of this is free kick is given 20 yards out..... goalkeeper walks to his post and goes " ermmmmmmmmmmm 3 no 4 ermmm gary you go in the middle ermm ok right right no no left a little ok thats good no actually right a yard"


Quick decision...to the point communication

"3,THREE right, Right RIGHT, STOP" now i get into position.

For each set piece give players responsibility, especially if this is something that hasn't been worked on in training "Shelly near post, Steph mark 9" that way if #9 scores Steph is at fault, if you just say"mark up" there is no urgency or quickness about the call.

To finish this edition of "the lonely position" Parents, Coaches and GK's always ask how can i get better at my communicating?

The Magic formula is to WATCH GAMES Here are several different ways!

1. Sit on the couch see situations developing and see if you can call it before the player makes the pass, see if you see anyone unmarked from the corner kick

2. Go to a local High School game or older brother or sisters game and do the same see if you can begin to read the game and think how could i have communicated to stop that situation from happening?

3. Go to a college game or a Pro game and sit behind the goal with a pen and paper and write down:

  • What the Goalkeeper Says
  • Why they said it
  • What the situation was
  • how the players reacted
If anyone has a chance to come to a Washington Spirit game there is a mound behind the goal by the entrance if you are a young goalkeeper i would strongly encourage you to try and sit behind their, and Listen and watch how Ashlyn Harris or Chantel Jones communicate with the outfield players.

Thanks for taking your time to read this again you can conatct me on twitter @GKeepersUnited if you have any questions or comments i would be more than happy to help.