There are so many intangibles that are important for success when playing the goalkeeping position but we thought it would be helpful to outline a few key aspects that every goalkeeper will need. Check out all six below!
Quality goalkeeper gloves
Having a quality pair of gloves is essential for any goalkeeper. These are the tools that will help you perform your craft. In the modern age of football, goalie gloves are necessary for every goalkeeper that wants to play at a high level. It is important to find goalkeeper gloves with good grip that you feel confident in. A lot of different brands will market all of the bells and whistles but in the end, you need to be able to catch the ball and grippier gloves will definitely help.
Another important aspect of goalkeeper gloves is the thickness of the glove. The amount of padding plays a role in both comfort and execution when catching. Goalie gloves that are too thin can be uncomfortable when catching the ball. Ones that are too thick can be tough because goalkeepers often don't feel like they have the control necessary. Durability is also important. You want goalkeeper gloves that are going to last. It may take some time to find the right brand for you but if your gloves aren't lasting more than a few sessions then we have a problem! Check out our entire line of goalkeeper gloves in our online shop now.
Tools of the trade are important. Like goalkeeper gloves, a reliable pair of boots is crucial for a goalkeeper. There are so many brands out there that offer a wide variety of styles of soccer cleats. Some like leather, some like firm ground. The options are endless. What is important is that you look for boots with good traction that will give you stability on whatever surface you are playing on. Metal studs tend to be best for softer surfaces. Do your research and understand what will provide the best opportunity to perform.
Support is also necessary when choosing a good pair of soccer cleats. There has been a push towards lighter boots that don't weigh players down but they also tend to come with less support, especially when going into tough challenges. To go along with that, protection is important. Make sure the boots are sturdy enough to get you through the most difficult of challenges from your opponent. Turf boots are a popular choice for goalkeepers as they provide excellent grip on artificial surfaces but it depends on the surface that you play on consistently.
As a goalkeeper, agility and flexibility are massively important when performing. Having comfortable training gear is a huge part of how you will perform in training. This starts with the type of compression gear you use. Some goalkeepers prefer to wear padded compression shorts or pants, or even tops, to minimize the impact on their body during sessions. This apparel comes in all shapes and sizes, some more quality than others.
Training shorts and tops are also an important part of the training process. Oversized or baggy clothing can often hamper a goalkeeper's performance, especially in wet conditions. You don't want to be weighed down by soggy clothing. Whether it is pants, 3/4's, or shorts; find what fits you best and you are most comfortable in. The same goes for training tops. Some goalkeepers prefer long sleeve and some prefer short sleeve. Head over to our apparel store to see what training gear we have to offer!
None of the above matter if you can't get on the field, right?! Throw your training gear on, lace your boots up, and strap on your gloves. Finding a positive training environment that will help you develop is one of the major struggles for youth goalkeepers. Consistency is the main problem. Not all youth clubs are able to have a goalkeeper coach on staff to provide ongoing training for the club's goalies. A lack of goalkeeper-specific training can be extremely detrimental to young goalkeepers. It hampers their ability to learn the basics and build habits that will form the basis of their goalkeeping foundation.
If your club doesn't provide the consistent goalkeeper training that you are looking for, there are typically a number of options outside of the club. Finding an individual or small-group trainer to provide you the guidance you need is one option. Apps, like CoachUp, can help you find good local goalkeeper coaches who are looking to help develop the next generation of goalkeepers. If that avenue isn't for you, researching local camps can be helpful. They may not be as consistent but can provide the extra work you may need. Beyond that, there are plenty of professional goalkeeper training highlights online that can provide you insight into drills you can use to help you improve.
A solid support system
The people you surround yourself with will be vital players in your journey to success. The goalkeeping position is not easy. There are plenty of ups and downs that can take a mental and physical toll on a goalkeeper. Without the proper support, it can be hard to consistently perform at your top level. Your family, friends, and teammates can all be great sources of support throughout your career.
Hopefully, your greatest source of support is the goalkeeper's union. Whether they are the goalkeepers that you train with on a weekly basis or an online community that provides feedback, the goalkeeping community is large and can provide the support you need, especially in the hard times. Other goalkeepers know exactly what you are going through and can empathize and help build you up in ways that those outside the union may not understand. Not sure where to look? Follow us on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube; we've built a great community and would love for you to join!
I know what you're thinking. It isn't that simple. I understand that. But what I need you to understand is that the five things listed above can all help you get there. Ultimately, it is what is between your ears that is going to help you gain the most confidence. The mind is such a powerful tool and being able to use it to your advantage is the most important need of them all. Belief in yourself will unlock a side of you that you never could have dreamed of.
Check out our mental strength guide available on our website to help you navigate the mental side of goalkeeping. It can be a rough road, maintaining your confidence throughout a practice, game, or season. Our focus is to provide you with the tools you need to continue staying positive and performing well. Be on the lookout for other great mental health resources that we will have coming very soon!
In the end, the above advice won't ensure you become a world class goalkeeper. That all depends on your work ethic, performances, and a bit of luck. What the above advice will help you with is making sure you are putting yourself in the best position to succeed as a goalkeeper. There are plenty more variables that come into play, but starting with the basics is always a good recipe for success.