Is Paying For Extra Training As A Soccer Goalkeeper Worth It?

Soccer goalkeeper is arguably the hardest position to teach in the sport. I also think it’s the hardest position to play. I’m going to stick to teaching here though because it’s incredible how little even top coaches know about goalkeeping. On the site I’ve talked a bunch of times about how Pep Guardiola’s arrogance and lack of knowledge of the position is evident. There’s an argument to be made that it’s one of the reasons why he’s had so much trouble in key spots particularly in  the Champions League everywhere besides Barcelona. Anyway back down to earth, if Guardiola doesn’t get it right what do you expect a volunteer coach at recreational level to do? With that in mind the answer to is paying for extra training as a soccer goalkeeper worth is … yes! 

At least it is worth it if you really want your kid to get ahead of the game. I want to really dive into this idea of getting ahead of the game. I could understand that for some families those extra training fees, plus the equipment are a big investment. Are there ways to get around that? There are essentially two ways around that. One is to be lucky enough to have a goalkeeper coach on your kid’s team already and have that be included in the fee you already pay. The second option is for you as a parent to become the goalkeeper coach that your kid needs. I love this option because it can give you a ton of quality time with your kids. At the same time though, you should educate yourself to at least get a sense of what you want to teach. 

Why Goalkeepers Need More Practice Time Than Other Positions

It’s pretty simple really, goalkeepers need to develop an entire set of skills that other positions are not going to use. This includes every single element that has to do with using your hands as a goalkeeper. Diving is also an important lesson in goalkeeper training that you can’t skip. At the same time you need to develop decent on the ball skills. Just like any other field player would. There’s actually even another reason why goalkeepers need more training time. That is because for the most part other positions will benefit more from the generic drills that regular practice is usually filled with. It is actually a good idea to develop goalkeepers just like field players. At least in the early stages don’t skip the field work that other players do.

I could argue that I was more than happy to skip some of this regular field work in the early stages of my career. That comes back to bite you in the long run because you’re not going to be confident on the ball as a goalkeeper. I’m not saying that we should all practice to make sure that we are Manuel Neuer, and we can be sweeper keepers. You have to find a way though to be at the very least decent on the ball. The way that you’re going to quantify that is by building up a sense of confidence on the ball. The best way to do that is to do all of the training exercises that field players do and then come back another day and do specialized goalkeeper training. That’s my recommendation at least!      

Goalkeeper Warm Up Before Games - What You Should Be Doing

When Is Paying Extra For A Coach Worth It?

This is maybe the hardest question to answer. The thing is the more you train, the quicker you’re going to improve. That’s true about anything that you want to do in life. The problem is, wanting to put the extra work in has to come from the player. A lot of times as parents you want to see your kids improve, and therefore you may be thinking about putting in the extra effort yourself to book lessons. If your kid though is not really in on it, it’s hard to figure out that right time frame. I remember for me the biggest challenge was getting myself out of the house. When I was on the field I enjoyed every minute of it. If I could go back I would have taken the training sessions at those earlier ages more seriously.

What I’m saying though is coming from a person who maybe has some regrets about how his career played out. When it comes to the perfect time to pay extra for a coach ideally it could start as early as 7 or 8 years old. With the right coach the difference in the skill level that your kids are going to be able to reach can be huge! Again though the big issue is you trying to push this extra work on your kids without them being all in on it. If you’ve got a kid that’s all in, get them into specialized goalkeeper training early. They won’t only improve and that makes the game a lot more fun. Also, they are going to be a lot safer on the field. Poor technique usually puts you at a higher risk of injury as a goalkeeper.     

Brazil May Rotate Their Starting Goalkeeper At The World Cup - Is That A Good Idea?

What To Look For In A Goalkeeper Coach

I don’t want to say that credentials are a must. What I mean by that is, you can find younger goalkeepers that maybe are just starting out coaching, but have a lot of experience as players themselves. They can provide a ton of good teaching points. Especially if they are still consistently playing. At the same time if you can find someone with a proven track record of developing goalkeepers that’s going to be a win every time. Especially if this person has connections with some of the teams that you potentially want to play for in the future. So in any situation I think that the person that you choose has to show that they know what they’re doing. If they have credentials as former players or long time coaches that’s usually the best starting point.  

Something that I don’t think gets talked about enough is looking for a coach that’s going to be able to match the level of intensity in training that you’re looking for. I’ve had coaches that could be great at teaching you the technical aspects of the game. It got to a point though where you realized they just couldn’t pack enough strength in their shots sometimes for you to get a good workout in. I actually stopped asking my dad to help me out when I realized he just couldn’t provide the intensity in the shots that I was looking for. That was a hard conversation to have. If you’re going to teach your kid you may come to a point where what you bring to the table intensity wise is not enough.    

Jan Oblak in Training

What To Know If You’re Going To Become The Coach

You want to make sure that you don’t get bored working on fundamentals. Maybe this is something that’s happened to me more recently, but I currently hate having to dive to a ball that’s just laying on the ground with no action. This movement is one of the best ways to be able to perfect your diving motion. When you’re falling from a bit further up in the air, if you’re taller or just older like me, it takes a bigger toll on you. I would totally be in favor of teaching fundamentals more through live ball drills. You don’t have to be too creative. Just be willing to take the shots and have your goalkeeper dive for them. You can still stop and correct live ball drills if you need to. 

Obviously you need to make sure that you understand the catching and diving techniques. It’s not that you need to be able to demonstrate them as a coach. You really do need to know what it should look like and why. I see a lot of kids on Instagram diving backwards, that’s a no-no. You don’t want to be arching back every single time that you try to catch a ball. Just because you’re working on footwork doesn’t mean you need to be jumping like that in a game. There are a ton of details that you can learn through videos or even through reading some of my other articles. I do feel that you have to be all in. Also, you need to develop a keen eye for what looks right and what doesn’t.   

young athletes in the soccer field
Photo by Robo Michalec on

How Much Extra Practice Time Do Kids Really Need?

This is another one that’s a tough question to answer. In reality more training is going to technically lead to better play on the field. I think that we can all agree that this is the case in any sport or activity that you do. At the same time I would also argue that there’s value in playing other sports and having other activities. Particularly when we’re talking about kids that are from the age of maybe 6 to around 12. I even cringed when writing down 12 as the magic number. If you have a child that has aspirations of making it big then maybe 12 is that age when you have to go all in on something. I mean all in something if you want to play at a pro level.

Before making the full time commitment to maybe 2 hours a day you could do just fine with 3 sessions a week. As long as the sessions are really targeted towards making sure that some of the flaws that you may have get better. I think my biggest knock on goalkeeper coaches at any level is that they have a plan for the week that doesn’t necessarily take into account the weaknesses of the players that they have. All they do is just work on the same things week after week. If you’re going to step into the coaching role or even if you’re paying extra for a coach I would demand that they work on the weaknesses that you either see on the field or even things your kid says he doesn’t feel comfortable with.     

What’s A Fair Price For A Goalkeeper Coach?

I don’t know why I keep putting myself in these hard situations. Some of the top coaches can charge about 50 to 100 dollars a session in the US. A lot of times that turns out to be worth it for the connections that the coach may have alone. Especially if you’re trying to get into a team or a college. If you’re getting up there in that age where you have to decide if you want to take a step in your career it may be a good idea to go get a coach. As I mentioned they usually have connections with teams. So perhaps what you want to look for are coaches with certain real connections that can help you out. If that’s the case the high price may be worth it. 

For kids in the lower age groups the value is a lot harder to quantify for me. The reason I say this is that you may be charged 100 dollars by someone who trains near your house and at an hour in which you’re able to take your kids. There may be someone offering their services at 75, but it just doesn’t make sense time wise or with the commute.

Is Paying For Extra Training As A Soccer Goalkeeper Worth It?

If you get a chance as a mother, father, brother, any type of older figure to go through the goalkeeping journey with your son or daughter I would recommend taking the chance. I think there’s a big reward in that, and soccer can be great quality time for family. At the same time I think that at a certain age you have to make the jump to a pro coach. Especially for the connections. If not you’re likely going to be on the outside looking in begging for a chance to showcase your skills at open tryouts. To be honest that’s almost impossible as a goalkeeper. Ultimately I would say it’s worth it in some cases, but not in all cases.