“My child will only be part of your team if they’re the starting goalkeeper on the A team.” My question to all parents of goalkeepers is what’s the benefit of being be on the A team? Here are the 4 main things to consider when you only choose the A team.
Repetition; We are creatures of habit!
Have you ever wondered why is that goalkeepers get better with age and experience? Well, the reason is because repetition is everything for us. The more we see, the better we get, therefore goalkeepers who experience the most will grow faster. This is the first mistake most parents and goalkeepers make during the development phase. Unlike field players, we don’t have head to head battles with other players as often during the games. Our physical contact comes with the ground in a training environment. During a game we must be mentally focus, we need to deal with the unpredictable and the only way to deal with this is by seeing more of it.
Hypothetically let’s look at these two 11 year old goalkeepers; Goalkeeper 1 plays for a mid-table team and goalkeeper 2 plays for the best team. Goalkeeper 1 sees 10-20 crosses per games, 20-30 shots, does 30 goal kicks, engages with the team non stop for 90 minutes and then possibly loses or gets a tie. Goalkeepers 2; sees 2-4 shots per games, 5 crosses, does 5-7 goal kicks, yells more than organize since the team is never in danger, and wins every game. Who do you believe will grow more?
Complete Engagement: How connected are you?
We need to remember that development is connected to performance. If developed correctly, we should be winning more times than losing. You cannot have one or the other, we can’t say that winning doest matter and only focus on developing, and we can’t say winning is everything and not focus on development. But, how do you know if your goalkeeper is maximizing development? A forward is expected to score, that is his job and the more they score, the more chances we have of winning, as a goalkeeper our best outcome is the way the game begins, 0 goals against. The moment the ref begins the game, our personal result can only get worst with any goal we allow in.
Complete engagements is the outcome of everything coming together; mental pressure, physical pressure, expectations to perform, expectations to lead. Many times parents say “My goalkeepers speaks but the defense never listens.” Well ask your self, why is that? What is the goalkeeper’s level of complete engagement with the team? The only way to get this complete engagement is by seeing more situations by understanding more than the rest. It’s about learning how to fully communicate and manage your team mates. The goalkeepers must be able to understand how to organize the defense when the opponent is playing with 2 forward, or when playing against 1 striker who is faster than the back 4, or how to participate when their own team plays with a high defensive line and the opponent is playing to counter. All these situations must be mastered by the gk. Therefore I ask again, who will have more success in the long run. Goalkeeper 1 with 30-50 actions per game or Goalkeeper 2 with 10 actions per game?
Commitment level; life style or situational
This is one of my favorite topics to speak about with goalkeepers and parents. We all love to train, we love to dive, we love to work hard, we all love to see the child perform. But how many of us want to work in groups that we believe are beneath our skill level? I ask any parent out there, if your child is 15 and his/her goalkeeper coaches has them training with10 year olds. Will you immediately believe that your goalkeeper shouldn’t be in that group? Would you question your coach if they decide to move your goalkeeper into a group that’s made up of college goalkeepers?
In 2018 KRONISACADEMY helped develop 35 goalkeepers who received athletic scholarships to play at the collegiate level. With the cost of tuition averaging around 22 thousand per year you can do the math that each family saved with the scholarship that was awarded to these goalkeepers in the Kronis academies. Every goalkeeper in the academy has at one point trained with goalkeepers 5-6 year younger than them for a minimum of 6-8 months. This is how we test the goalkeeper commitment as well as the parents. Frustration is part of the goalkeepers life, they must be able to be mentally there even after they just created the most mistake of their career. If the goalkeeper is nervous the whole team is nervous. We chose the way the game is played.
The goalkeepers that your child trains with shouldn’t frustrate you or your gk. At the end of the day you’re there to train with the coach not the GKS sourounding your child. This leads to the question, what is the commitment level of the goalkeeper? Will they only try hard when they are moved up? Will they try as hard when moved to the C team, will they quit when they get pushed down from ECNL to club? If they are playing varsity will they try as hard when moved to jv? The goalkeepers who “make it” are the ones that are fully committed, this is why experience in situations of the game must happen at an early age. Because they must understand how to manage it all.
Time to play for the best team
Once the goalkeeper enters “show case” age is when the goalkeeper should now join the best team. In my opinion a properly developed goalkeeper will only need 2 years to show case his or her talents to the college programs. That being said joining the best team whether is ECNL, DA, or club needs to happen their sophomore and junior year. If the goalkeeper is development correctly then their senior year the focus would be to train as much as possible to make an impact at the college and to stay healty.