While some other positions, such as the strikers, tend to get all of the glory, the other positions, sometimes called the supporting cast by those unappreciative of their efforts, are no less important to that final goal of scoring a goal. One of those positions is occupied by the keeper, or, as they are sometimes called, the goalie. The keeper has the most important job apart from scoring goals and that is to prevent goals from being scored on his or her team. If you are just starting out as a keeper, there are a few things to keep in mind as your are learning, some good foundations to build off of.
Despite the fact that you are a keeper, you are not excused from moving as much as your other teammates. In fact, your movement arguably matters more, considering that you are the last bastion of defense against the other team. Therefore, you should know how you should be moving. Imagine that you occupy a semicircle that has its edges touching the sides of the goal. The top of the semicircle is touching the furthest edge of the square (called the goal area) that the net is adjacent to. Depending on where the biggest threat is (you will learn where that is with practice), you will be closer or farther to the net.
For example, imagine that a player on the other team is driving up the center. To challenge him or her, you should be standing on the line of the goal area that is furthest from the net. This limits the angles that are available to the attacker to shoot the ball into the net. Likewise, should the attacker be on the left or right of the net, you should be standing directly next to the edge of the net. This, again, limits the angles that the attacker can choose, forcing them to pass to a teammate. This is a good example of passive play.
Maintain a Good Stance
Now that you know how to move, you need to know how you should be moving. The difference between a good stance and a bad stance is a goal compared to no goal. It is really that simple. Now, the main difference between you and your teammates is that you are not running. Instead, you are going to be shuffling. Your knees should be bent, you should be on the balls of your feet, and you should have your hands open, pointing outward, by your sides. You move in your semicircle by shuffling left and right. This is called the keeper’s stance, and it should be assumed once the other team crosses the halfway mark. It ensures that you are ready and waiting for any shots that come your way.
Learn How to Dive
The dive is one of the most iconic saves in a keeper’s playbook. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it, however. It may seem simple, but this is not the case. To practice, slowly lean forward to balance on one leg, your other leg pointing out behind you. Your plant foot should be flat. Then, lean forward even more and push off with your plant foot, putting your hands out in front of you. You should land on your side. This enables you to land relatively softly while still putting as much of your body as possible in front of the goal.
Keep These in Mind
Although goalkeeping is not as glamorous as other positions can be, keepers do definitely get their time in the sun. A few clutch saves should ensure that your team is very grateful to you and to your position. Should you keep these recommendations in mind, you are well on your way to becoming that solid wall that your team can depend on.