Friday, August 22, 2014

Developing a Goalkeeping Style of Your Own

Every 3 or 4 years a new style of goalkeeping cycles around. Normally what happens is there is a goalkeeper playing at the time who is hugely successful who everyone wants to be like and try’s to emulate. Especially coaches saying to their goalkeeper …..”I want you to play like Tim Howard” in the child’s head that sounds like a great idea! But the reality is that the 15 year old girl who you are telling to play like Tim Howard does not have the attributes to play like the athletic unorthodox Basket Ball style of goalkeeping that Howard has framed his style around! Below we will discuss briefly a few different flavors that have circulated in recent times and then conclude at the end!
The Goalkeeper I wanted to play like was Peter Schmeichel (the 6ft 3 ex Man Utd and Denmark goalkeeper) This guy was enormous and had no comparison to the way I played or my stature! I was a skinny bean pole and had no physical comparison to Schmeichel
“The Great Dane” as he was known was an enormous figure in the goal one who would use any part of his body to keep the ball out, he was a former handball goalkeeper so often incorporated techniques from that sport in order to make the save.
One save he made against Inter Milan in the Champions League Semi-final really shows his former Handball expertise on display!
Not only was he a huge frame but he completely dominated his area and scared the life into his own defenders and the opposition, you would often see him screaming at his defense after having to pull out a top class save. Whilst in England Schmeichel won 5 Premier League Medals, 1 champions League winners medal, 3 FA Cup Winners Medals and 4 Charity Shields and a UEFA Super Cup- so as you can see he was hugely successful! His success at Manchester United showed other teams in the premier league what getting a huge dominating goalkeeper from Europe would do to bring success to their team and I feel has almost set a president in the premier league – Petr Cech, Edwin Van Der Saar, Wojciech Szczensy, Jussi, Jens Lehman, Ludek Miklosko, to list a few would all comfortably fit into the Schmeichel mold!
Another goalkeeper with a very different style then Peter Schmeichel is Gianluigi Buffon. The Italian Legend has had a massive amount of Success both domestically with Juventus (5 Seria A Titles, 4 Coppa Italia's, and internationally with Italy a World Cup
An amazing Shot stopper and extremely technical and unbelievably athletic. His style is separate but has some similarities to Schimichel. Not as broad as “The Great Dane” so would often use his agility to make saves instead of his size. Italy has always had a knack of producing great Goalkeepers throughout their history Buffon goes down as one of the all time greats. Joe hart has similar qualities to Buffon along with Thibaut Courtois, Julio Cesar, and Vincent Enyeama.
Let's step away from the giants between the pipes! Focus on the shorter goalkeepers! Iker Casillas broke into the Real Madrid first team at 18 years old the 6 ft 1 shot stopper is often seen as one of the best to put on the gloves (3 Champions Leagues, 2 UEFA Super Cups, 5 La Liga Titles 2 Copa Del Rey's, 1 World Cup and 2 Eauropean Championships), Casillas is definitely the type of goalkeeper who prefers to stay in his 6 yard box and deal with the shots from distance rather then coming out and making a play.
Great athleticism allowed him to make saves very few could- scrambling across his goal to deny obvious goals- Similar styles can be seen in Guillermo Ochoa, Michel Vorm, Paul Robinson and Jesus Navas.
Above I’ve discussed 3 immense figures which have helped mold during different times of what a goalkeeper should look and play like, right now the Goalkeeper everyone is trying to have their young goalkeepers play like is Manuel Neuer. Bayern Munich and Germany look unstoppable right now and Neuer is arguably the best Goalkeeper in the world. I would say he has taken snippets from the above goalkeepers- a few things that set him apart from the legends above.
    1. Extremely Aggressive Starting Position
    2. Defense to Attack in a instance
    3. Reading of the game is consistent
    4. Early and Decisive decision making
    5. Very comfortable with using his feet.
Like we saw in the world cup Neuer would often be seen 35 yards 40 yards outside of his goal snuffing the danger before it got anywhere near to him, why does this style work for him? And why will it not necessarily work for me…..
    1. Speed of thought and raw speed.
    2. Experience
    3. Kicking ability

The above diagrams are Manuel Neuer's Heat Map from 2 games in the world cup - looking at this it may not mean a lot below is The heat map from Tim Howards World Cup record setting performance of 16 saves. Yes both of their work is done within the 18 yard box, but compare the amount of time Neuer spent outside his 18 compared to Howard. Both successful. Both different styles.
You can see “Neuerisms” in Hugo Lloris, Pepe Reina, Victor Valdez .

I would love to come out and say every PWSI Goalkeeper is going to play like Manuel Neuer! I think this is the problem with many areas of coaching we are forcing the player to be a certain way and it doesn’t work for everyone!
Neuer is so quick over 10 or 15 yards as soon as his decision is made he is all over it, the only way he has learnt this is repetition of situations and from making mistakes. For us to learn and develop we must make mistakes and the mistakes must come from our own decision not a parent or a coach shouting for the keeper to come out on a breakaway- LET THE GOALKEEPER MAKE THE DECISION!
My challenge to all of the goalkeepers within the club is to look at your own strengths and weaknesses and develop your own style. Don’t aim to be the next Manuel Neuer or Hope Solo, become your own Goalkeeper.
Thank you for taking your time to read this I’m typing this at 40 000 feet on my way to Seattle. Any feedback is greatly appreciated you can tweet me @GKeepersUnited
Thanks Again.
P.S. Goalkeeping sessions will start very soon, it’s great to have so many of you chomping at the bit to start training with me again! (snowed under with preparation for the upcoming tournaments).

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