9 Tips to be a College-Ready Goalkeeper

9 Tips to be a College-Ready Goalkeeper 9 Tips to be a College-Ready Goalkeeper

Being a goalkeeper is one of the toughest positions in sports and requires mental strength and a willingness to improve your craft. High school is an important time in the college recruiting process and the time flies by quickly. Here are 9 tips to help young goalkeepers excel at the next level: 

1. Create a highlight tape 

Having a highlight tape is very important, as it can allow a coach to look at your best plays from a season and could be a big deciding factor for a coach being interested in you as a player. If you aren’t able to play in front of a coach, sending full games isn’t a bad option either, because it will show a coach how you move around the goal, communicate, and distribute throughout the game. 

2. Be vocal in games

It sounds very obvious, but communication is extremely important at the next level in college. As a goalkeeper, you can see the entire field, and providing instruction to your teammates can be a factor in how a team plays throughout the season. You need to be talking for almost the entire game, as not only does it benefit your teammates, but it also keeps you focused on the game and allows you to understand the different movements of the opposing team.

3. Get in extra work

As a player in high school and club soccer, you usually aren’t practicing every day with your team. This is why extra work can help you stand out to coaches. As a goalkeeper, it is important to keep your hands sharp, and finding a goalkeeper coach who will work with you outside of team training sessions will benefit you a ton and will keep you in great form. Footwork and distribution are always great to work on as well, so finding a racquetball court or purchasing a rebounder could help elevate your ability to play with your feet.

4. Have a balanced strength and conditioning program 

You need to be quick and be able to shift across your goal to make vital saves and claim crosses for your team. Having a balanced gym and conditioning plan will help you gain that speed and strength to make saves you never thought you would make. Having a high-carb and high-protein diet with vegetables will also help in the muscle-building process. With a good diet with proper hydration, you will perform better on the field and in the weight room.

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes 

Mistakes happen no matter the level. As a young goalkeeper, mistakes are part of the game. Being able to see your mistakes and learn from them is what coaches want to see from you. A goalkeeper needs to have a short-term memory. If you concede a goal, move on to the next play, as you can’t afford to be thinking about the past in a fast-paced game. 

6. Be aggressive and dominant in the air 

A lot of collegiate teams like to capitalize on crosses and set pieces into the box. Being able to read the flight of these balls and claim or punch these services away will relieve a lot of pressure on your team in tough situations. Focusing on your movements on crosses is key, and it is always important to meet the ball at a high point. 

7. Be focused in the classroom 

Being a good student and maintaining a good GPA is extremely important for you and your scholarship opportunities. If you are a great player but a bad student, a coach will look past you and look for someone who will help elevate the team’s ability in the classroom. Putting 100% into soccer needs to be balanced by putting 100% into school as well. Having a 3.0 GPA or higher will open up way more opportunities for you.

8. Study other goalkeepers 

Do you have a goalkeeper that you look up to and like to watch play? If so, look at aspects of their game and see how they move around the goal and position themselves. Looking at professional goalkeepers will give you a blueprint of how these players present themselves and will show you that each keeper has a unique style.

9. Play at the highest level you can before you graduate high school

Exposing yourself to older players and goalkeepers will help build up your confidence and will make you ready to play with players who are years older than you. If you have the chance to play semi-professional over the summer, men’s league games on weekends, or small-sided games with college players, you definitely should take advantage. Training with older goalkeepers is also extremely beneficial because you are going to receive harder shots and can ask for feedback and input on their experiences. 

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