Shot stopper: Goalkeeping tips from MLS coach
By Greg Bach
A big part of coaching young soccer goaltenders is instilling confidence in them that they can make the big save when needed.
And teaching them that when they do surrender a goal – which happens to all goalies! – they need to quickly push it to the side and fully focus on stopping the next shot that comes their way.
SportingKid Live asked Aron Hyde, goalkeeping coach for the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer, for some tips for working with young goalies.
The theme of his insight: make the youngster feel good, which is great advice for working with any young athlete in any sport.
Here’s what the Birmingham, England native, who’s in his sixth season as the Fire’s goalkeeping coach, had to say:
KIDS NEVER FORGET
“The best way I sum it up in a nutshell will be that a goalkeeper will always forget what you say but he’ll never forget how you make him feel,” Hyde says.
So choose your words carefully, keep the tone of your voice positive and upbeat and never allow frustration and disappointment to dominant your body language while working with a young player.
FINISH ON A HIGH NOTE – ALWAYS
When young goalkeepers have games that don’t go their way it’s important that your drills during the next practice session not only help them regain their form but rebuild their confidence so they enter the next contest on a really positive note.
“The key for a goalkeeper, when you’re working with them, is to always make them feel good,” Hyde says. “So whether that’s one last repetition on a drill and finishing on a save and finishing on a positive note, I think that’s the most important thing in terms of getting back to a player finding form and building confidence.”
LEARNING, DEVELOPING, MOVING FORWARD
All goalies are going to struggle and encounter setbacks during the course of a season – it’s simply the nature of sports combined with playing a challenging position. So it’s up to coaches to help them stay positive in the face of adversity and work through whatever the problem may be.
“The important thing about working with young players when they’re going through difficult times is to first of all, make sure that you put them in a good environment,” Hyde says. “You want to make sure that you’re putting them in situations where they can be successful, always reinforcing those successful moments and making sure you’re guiding players along the step in the process of their education of being a goalkeeper of making mistakes and learning from them and moving on from that.”
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