A question I am often asked by parents is “How tall does my goalkeeper need to be to make it as a professional goalkeeper?”
My opinion as I stand at 6ft 4inches tall is that it certainly helps if you are 6ft plus, BUT it is not essential whatsoever. Over the years there have been plenty of “small” goalkeepers to make it onto the international stage and represent their countries. What these goalkeepers lack in height they make up for through tremendous speed, power, agility and spring. So I’ve got two goalkeepers, one is 6ft 2inches and can barely jump off the ground – the other is 5ft 11inches and can leap like a basketballer into the air – the smaller goalkeeper more than makes up for the height disadvantage. Smaller goalkeepers can also find it easier to distribute the ball and feel more comfortable with the ball at their feet, which is a key component for the modern day goalkeeper.
My advice to anyone who is unsure whether they are tall enough to be a goalkeeper would be there is certainly no set height that makes a successful goalkeeper. It can certainly help if you stand above 6ft but if you don’t, work as hard as you possibly can on your footwork, jumping and power to maximise what you have to offer. Goalkeepers who didn’t see their height as a barrier in recent years include – Jorge Campos of Mexico who is 5ft 6inches – Iker Casillas who is 5ft 11inches and possibly the best around until recent times – Gregory Coupe of France who is 5ft 11inches and known for his famous “head save” off his own players back pass.
So it can be done, although being tall has its benefits when between the sticks it certainly isn’t essential.
If I can help any more on this much debated topic on goalkeeping or would like to look at regular training in the Wigan area to help yourself or your young goalkeeper to improve please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org