The soccer community and youth sports have never dealt with a circumstance like this Covid-19 Pandemic before. We, as players, parents, and coaching professionals, are all trying to figure out the best way to adjust to this way of life. Many coaches are working harder than ever to ensure their players can continue some sense of normalcy with the sport they love playing. But as I plan sessions, watch training videos, and look for inspiration from my colleagues, I am seeing the desperate need for goalkeeper COACHING.
I agree, moving with a ball in your hands, diving around, and experiencing goalkeeping in any capacity is better than nothing. But we as coaches, parents of goalkeepers, and players cannot be satisfied with a just collection of drills. And I would argue that player development is suffering, but the reputation of goalkeeping coaches is also in jeopardy.
The professional goalkeeper coach, in this new age of social media and social influencing, is devalued. The WHY behind goalkeeper training has been lost, with endless videos of circus act training, goalkeepers throwing themselves over hurdles, and using the next gimmicky gadget to achieve thoughtless repetition. Anyone with a youtube account is now perceived to offer quality training with their newly purchased toy to facilitate goalkeepers flying around.
The result is an abundance of misinformation and misunderstanding of goalkeeper development on the internet. Coaching the WHY behind an activity is vital for players to understand movement, form, and tactical awareness. Players stuck at home are looking to online channels more than ever for coaching and are instead getting thoughtless training drills. What these players need most is engaging training that addresses the demands of the position. If we as goalkeeping coaches don’t offer thoughtful, purposeful sessions that provide context for activities, we stand to lose even more credibility to the thoughtless trainer kicking balls at goalkeepers.
If we don’t raise the level of online coaching, we will look back at this time spent at home as a lost opportunity at a critical time in the evolution of the goalkeeping coach. I challenge coaches, parents, and players to expect more from coaches and for us, as coaches, to deliver! Stay safe, and see you on the field soon.
Tom Paparounis Founder and Director of Coaching Drive Goalkeeping