Coaching a goalkeeper within the context of team training and games is a challenge to most coaches, even ones who have been goalkeepers. For coaches who were not keepers, it becomes even more difficult. Part of this is not understanding the mentality of the keeper and how they fit into the team dynamic. Since I arrived at PWSI, have dealt with dozens of goalkeepers and very few have the stereotypical personality that everyone expects. Goalkeepers are supposed to be loud, confident kids who are natural leaders. Some youth GKs gravitate to the position because they have those attributes. Others become GKs for different reasons. I know a young pro who was a fat kid and her GK shorts had pockets so she played in goal so she could eat skittles during the games. One of the UVA keepers told me she got put back there because she was tall and eventually grew to love it. I've known kids who wanted to be on the team and that was the only position they were good enough to make.
With so many different personalities and motivations in goal, we cannot assume
that natural leadership is an attribute of our GKs. This article addresses that
issue and gives some suggestions for developing leadership in your GK as well
as integrating them into team training. It is also important to recognize that
your team will follow your lead on how to treat the keeper. If that player is
treated as an important member of the team, they will see him or her as one.
When you are teaching defending, make him and his communication and positioning
a part of the session. The field players will then expect that from him and he
will expect it from himself. If goalkeepers are just used as a target during
shooting drills, not only are they not developing as complete players, you are
limiting their role on the team and the impact they can have.