As a goalkeeper, communication is one of the biggest keys to individual and team success. If you can't properly relay information to the 10 players in front of you then you will have a hard time preventing opportunities for the other team. Effective communication comes with a lot of practice and experience but we put together a list of three tips that will help you learn how to communicate better with your teammates.
One of the most important aspects of communication is being able to actually hear the information that is being shared. Your field players can't respond to the commands that you are giving them if they can't even hear you. One of the biggest issues that young goalkeepers have is being confident in their own voice. Timid communication often gets drowned out by the rest of the action that is happening throughout the game.
As a goalkeeper, you have to remember that your field players have a lot of distractions throughout the game. Parents, coaches, the opponents; these are some of the main voices that field players consistently hear during the game. Your voice needs to be the loudest and strongest since you are the one directing things from the back. You have the best view and the most understanding of how you want the team to be organized but if the team can't hear you then it will make it extremely hard to execute. Be loud and commanding so your team can feel confident in your presence on the backline.
A common mistake that many young goalkeepers make is shouting just to shout. Many goalkeepers are unsure about what to say or when to say it so they just end up yelling because they feel like they should or their coaches tell them to talk. Yelling for no reason can be a negative for your team and add to the noise that we discussed earlier. Being specific about what you are saying can be really helpful for your teammates to better understand your directions. The more specific the information, the easier it is for them to digest it and implement it in the short amount of time that goalkeepers are typically asking their field players to respond.
Instead of just yelling "step" or "press", be more specific about who should press or how far to step. Attaching a name to the instructions helps the individual field player execute their job better and it provides less confusion for the rest of your teammates. Shouting vague commands like "tackle" doesn't give the clarity necessary for the field players to do their job. Who should tackle? Who should provide help? Names or numbers can be really helpful in clearing up any confusion that may arise from your direction. If you are loud and you are specific, your field players will start to understand whose voice to listen to and whose to drown out.
We've covered being loud enough so that your teammates can hear you. We also discussed being specific so your teammates know exactly who you are talking to. Now we need to cover being concise with your communication. Information overload is a valid concern during a game. Field players have to process a lot on a consistent basis. Finding space, analyzing pressure, focusing on their first touch. A good field player is constantly receiving information, whether from teammates or through observation, in order to make the best decisions. Recognizing this as a goalkeeper and managing the amount of information you add to their plate is crucial in successful organization.
While it is important to consistently be organizing your team to be prepared for the opponent's attack, it is important to understand how to convey the most concise and important information instead of just rambling. You don't always have to talk simply to let everyone know you're back there. Share the information that is going to best organize your team and do so in the most effective way possible. Be brief but comprehensive. Be specific but not detailed to the point where it is overwhelming. You don't have to talk for the entire game, but when you do talk make sure it is profound and impactful.
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