Updated: Dec 18, 2021
Your goalkeeper is the smartest player on your team, or at least they should be. In reality the collective intelligence of a team is only as smart as the goalkeeper leads them to be. Sometimes when we watch games and look at stats we see that a goalkeeper only had so many saves or that a team only had 1 shot on target what we don't see is the intelligence, leadership and organization that a goalkeeper brought to the game helping reduce those goal scoring opportunities.
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When it comes to being an exceptional or successful goalkeeper there are a few untrainable traits that can give a player a leg up. Height, size and athleticism are obvious but without knowing how to be a leader, strategy, Soccer IQ, awareness and game management your team could put any big dude in-between the pipes. We met with Chad Prickett of Columbus Goalkeeper Academy and he spoke with us about these goalkeeping strategies that lead a successful team in the modern game.
Having the best strategic position on the field gives your goalkeeper an opportunity to be the voice of your coach in real time. When in constant communication with every player on the field a goalkeeper must adapt an understanding of the way each player needs to be managed choosing his tone and words carefully. It takes a complex understanding of personality and message to manage a team as goalkeeping requires.
When training players at Columbus Goalkeeper Academy, Chad Prickett helps players learn how to pinpoint the details that could create a goal scoring opportunity. Whether its identifying a fast forward with a preferred foot or moving your team into position to defend a set piece, your goalkeeper leads your team's style of play and communicates adjustments as they are needed. Strategy is a far reaching skill used for both defense and for creating while being a part of the offensive attack from the back of the field.
Block or Hands? It might look like luck (or stupidity) to the naked eye but your goalkeeper is making a split second decision that is determining the outcome of your game. Not only is your goalkeeper making important decisions all throughout your game but she is also communicating those decisions in a way that directs other players to execute critical action in front of the goal.
"You have to be smart enough to know what you're doing, and dumb enough to do it," Winston Dubose, Tampa Bay Rowdies
"Goalkeepers have a built in protractor in them" Chad Prickett of Columbus Goalkeeper Academy points out "they are constantly adjusting as the ball is moving to have the right angle." Not only is your goalkeeper acutely aware of his position in relation to the ball and the goal but he is also aware of the positioning of the rest of the field quickly calculating the angles of each player, their movements their angles on the ball and goal. Prickett shared that roughly 85% of goals are scored in the stacked 6, knowing this and communicating what every player needs to be able to do in that space takes keen intelligence.
If any one player on the field needs to know the team's style of play and tactical philosophy best it is the goalkeeper. Chad Prickett refers to his goalkeepers at the "Coach on the field. The goalkeeper is making sure their team is keeping shape and executing the game plan." Prickett teaches his players at Columbus Goalkeeper Academy how to read the game and adjust accordingly. If your defense needs a breather maybe you talk to your center back about a tactical detail before retrieving the ball on a goal kick. Or, if you are losing with short time you try to keep the game at a pace that is more in your favor. At Columbus Goalkeeper Academy keepers are taught how to read game situations and manage them for the benefit of the team.
Outside of these intellectual strengths your goalkeeper has other traits that give them an advantage in the goal. Your goalkeeper is confident and has acquired mental toughness through her experiences. She knows that she has to learn from each situation and then move on from it, as Chad Prickett says "don't let one goal turn into two".
For more information on goalkeeping and for exceptional goalkeeper training right here in Central Ohio you can check out Columbus Goalkeeper Academy. Coach and owner Chad Prickett trains players from all across the region and boasts successful alumni who have gone on to play in division 1 college programs and professionally both here in the US and internationally. You can visit their website for more information or check out our calendar for some upcoming drop-in session for just $25/session you can try them out.