The goalie is typically the one area that most coaches struggle with regarding training and development. Being a goalie is a specialized position that requires unique skills and training. The training and skills required differ greatly from the field player. Typically, in a training session the goalie spends a large amount of time doing field drills. In comparison to a match the goalie will likely work harder during training that in the match. Some of the training a goalie goes through can be done on their own. However, a goalie also needs direct one on one training to hone their craft.
A goalie’s position is a key skill to master. It requires the ability to place themselves in the best possible position to minimize the amount of space the shooter sees, while reducing the amount of space they must cover. The best way to build on this skill is to place the goalie in the center of the goal. From there they should be able to address the shooter from any angle and be able to find their proper positioning. Drills can include forcing the goalie to move to a variety of positions while covering shots. As they progress minimize the time needed to cover the shot. From there they will be able to transfer this skill to the practice where offensive and defensive players engage. The ability to find the proper positioning quickly and effectively given a variety of scenarios is a crucial part of a goalie’s development.
Blocking the ball is important, but a goalie must be able to distribute the ball effectively. If the goalie has one part of the body touching the goal box they can grab the ball. This can be used to stop an attack while setting up a quick counter attack. A goalie can use many options when throwing the ball out by throwing or rolling the ball to their teammates. In either case the goalie should be aware of who is around them when throwing out, but they should strive to make sure the ball can be controlled by their teammate. Like a pass from the foot or stick, a thrown ball should give the intended player a chance to control it. During a counter attack the goalie should lead the intended player so that they don’t break their stride. If the defense is lagging or unaware a well-timed ball can lead to a goal.
These are a few of the skills a goalie must continue to work on. As the goalie progresses they should become more efficient in their training, and the level of training should increase. As the last line of defense, it is important that coaches don’t neglect the goalie’s training and development.