By Stanley Tang
In soccer, a goalkeeper’s footwork defines how skillful he is in a good number of aspects. The importance of footwork is seen when a goalkeeper needs to change his stance and position to ready him to dive for a ball out of his normal reach. Footwork is a major factor in determining how a goalkeeper would be able change directions and to accelerate towards a given target. Footwork keeps a goalkeeper’s stance controlled and not easily compromised as it assists in distribution of his weight evenly.
Many coaches agree that the goalkeeper’s weight should be distributed in the sense that three-quarters goes to the forefoot, and a quarter goes to the rear foot. This would ensure optimum mobility for the goalkeeper. Keep this in mind when you think about developing your goalkeepers’ footwork. Let them know this as you have them perform the footwork drills mentioned below.
It is important that you attempt to integrate some footwork training even if you plan on accomplishing other tasks in a session. Your players and your goalkeeper should always recognize the importance of footwork, as it assures their mobility and safety from sprains and the like.
After having the goalkeeper stretch and jog, do an introduction or recapitulation of the basic steps, such as the shuffle, or the crossover. If you need to have the goalkeeper repeat after you, do so (refer to footwork techniques articles). Play ‘Follow the Leader’, where you, as the coach, would lead the rest while you move back and forth across the field, performing footwork steps. Sprinkle in some sudden movements to practice their reflexes and how they link them with their footwork.
Always make sure that your goalkeeper is on his toes, with his knees bent. If he is just beginning to train, he might not understand the reason behind the need to stay light on their toes. You can have them see the importance of it by having them stand on their toes, and making them jump as high as they can. After having them do that, let them stand on their heels and attempt to jump. You can bet that nobody leaves the ground!
Next, pair the goalkeepers and give them two cones each. Have them create an imaginary ‘goal’ with the cones, around 6 paces apart from each other. The goalkeepers should face each other. One goalkeeper becomes the leader, and the other goalkeeper becomes the follower. The leader would move quick, using footwork to touch the outside of either cone in his or her ‘goal’. In order for the follower to keep the leader from gaining a point, he should attempt to use footwork, reacting to the movement of the leader, to touch the area just inside either goal. Goalkeepers would switch roles after a period of time.