Were only 2 games in to the youth football season and already I have been asked by 4 clubs for goalkeepers, why is there such a shortage?
Here are my key reasons for not seeing enough kids wanting to play in goal..
Media – With such an impact on modern day football and life media plays a big part in the way young children are influenced. Commercials and TV coverage always focus on the goals, assists and skills. Goal of the week, goal of the month… anyone for save of the month?
Is scoring a goal more important than preventing one?
Across TV pundits how many keepers do you see analyzing games?
We need more media profile highlighting that actually being a goalkeeper is fun and rewarding…. And fundamental in having a successful team.
We wear the number 1 for a reason…
Parents – I speak to parents on a regular basis and one thing I here parents say all the time is ‘I don’t want my son/daughter to play in goal because there’s too much pressure on them’.
I think we forget sometimes that its not just the kids that need to be educated, we also need to educate parents that might or might not be from a football background and support them in supporting there child.
Pressure – During a game young goalkeepers will experience a number of emotions. If it’s conceding a goal or making a save and any where in between, 1 mistake can lead to a goal and this can be daunting for a young mind. For me most of the pressure is put on young goalkeeper’s shoulders by coaches, parents, team mates and a severe lack of education for the goalkeeper in how to respond to these situations in a game. How many times have we heard screaming voices from the sideline telling poor young keepers to ‘come out!’.. ‘Pick the ball up!’. As coaches we are mentors and as well as developing techniques we need to develop young minds, mental strength in football is essential to breed confidence and self belief. When a keeper concedes 6 goals they need to have the mindset to remain focused and have continued self belief… ‘Build from the next save’.
Coaching – Goalkeeper coaching in grass roots football I’m pleased to say is on the rise but like anything sometimes more is less. Are the goalkeepers getting the correct education? Sadly in some cases no! This I believe needs to be changed at the top with more accessible coaching courses but that’s a whole new debate…. There are many goalkeeping schools now that offer excellent goalkeeping sessions one of those being Just 4 Keepers who operate throughout the UK and worldwide.
As a coach and parent I believe we can do a lot more to help develop our kids and we need to work together to achieve these goals.
Just 4 Keepers NW London goalkeeping coach