Helping Struggling Goalkeepers

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter.  Today’s topic deals with when keepers are struggling.

Too often, when a keeper is struggling the coach thinks the proper response harder.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always the right solution.

The alternative is when a keeper is struggling, go back to the basics.

This is the time to look at the most important parts of the body for catching.  One of the very first articles I wrote for was the three most important parts of the body for catching.  16 years later, they are still the same (and people will still argue with me).

The most important part of the body for catching a ball is the eyes.  If you don’t believe me, try catching a ball kicked at you with your eyes closed.  When I see a keeper struggling with making a clean catch my first thought is they are taking their eyes off the ball.  The tendency is for a keeper to look up, at oncoming players or where the ball came from instead of watching the ball into their hands.  When I see a keeper having problems with this, I simply ask them to stare at the ball as it comes into their hand AND THEN TO CONTINUE STARING FOR A COUNT OF 2. By doing this, it forces them to watch the ball all the way into their hands and it’s amazing how much of a difference this can make.

The next part of the body I would focus on would be the feet.  When keepers are struggling they frequently stop emphasizing getting their body behind the ball by moving their feet.  Instead, they start reaching for the ball.  Start simple by tossing the ball slightly to the side and make them get behind the ball before they catch the ball.  Doing something as easy as this will get them back in the habit of getting behind the ball and the rest becomes much easier.

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The third part of the body (and for most people the surprise that it’s not the first part) is the hands. Once the keeper is watching the ball into their hands and they are getting behind the ball, then focus on hand position.  Make sure they are positioning their hands properly for the particular flight of the ball (taking into consideration hand size etc).

If you really focus on these three parts of the body, you will find most keepers will recover their form and stop struggling pretty quickly.

Have a great day!


By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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