Your Letters & Pictures
A Young Goal Keeper's Thoughts
One of the most important things about being a goal keeper is to be able to take responsibility and assume leadership. Sometimes it's hard for we adults to transfer these concepts to the young generations.
For this reason I'm publishing this letter, written by a young goal keeper, that explains perfectly what responsibility and leadership are.
One thing I have noticed since beginning my (what I hope to be a long) tenure in the game of soccer less than a year ago, and what made me choose GK over Fullback, is the attitude that a Goal keeper possesses. This attitude is not the attitude that they are the biggest baddest thing on the pitch (even if they are). The attitude of a GK is that of leadership responsibility and ownership. As a GK who is working himself to the bone to prove to his team that he is a keeper not a poser, I try to convey these things with every game every half and every play. These things are vitally important to a GK, I would go so far as to say that these are the qualities that when coupled with the physical characteristics required by the position, actually make a GK.
The most important characteristic is ownership in my own opinion when I step onto the pitch and put on the gloves, it is MY ball, it is MY team, it is MY box, it is MY penalty area, the mistakes of the team are MY mistakes (there is never room for placing blame). The only area that this differs in is wins and losses it is not my win. It is OUR win and it is OUR loss.
The GK should take ownership to the point that he feels that he has a personal stake in the teams performance as a whole not in just his GAA, SO and Minutes played. This gives the keeper an intensity that he will never have if when he allows a goal he calculates his new GAA. He will be in the game every moment, cool headed and trying to help his field players gain the advantage.
Responsibility ties in very closely with ownership. The GK will feel this when he has a personal stake in his team. The keeper feels that the team is HIS team and that their performance reflects directly on himself. He feels a bit of shame in a loss, even if it is by one point. and He is elated by a win even if he allowed 3 goals in the second half. The GK, because he is the most isolated player should be the biggest team player on the field to compensate for the isolation. The mind set is ITS ALL FOR THE TEAM.
Leadership is the lifeblood of a GK. He directs the defense to prevent his position being necessary, and he lets the offense know of an opening so that the team may gain the advantage on the score board. He leads stretches and he is the final man between the ball and a thin white chalk line. Only a leader can be expected to have this kind of responsibility placed on their shoulders. The person who has the drive to practice after practice and to show up an hour early to work alone before the team arrives is the person who has the leadership quality of a GK. The GK should be thought of as a Type A Personality and in some cases should border on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, because as Goalies we are called to not only be great,
but to be perfect.
That is what it is to be a goalkeeper.
Posted on 05 Apr 2005 by coachgianni