We have great tips for wannabe goalkeepers from Danny Terry, who was 18 when he started playing football. He now trains with Albion Rovers so it’s safe to say he’s caught up.
– Quick feet is what you’re after, says Terry. – Focus on footwork and you’ll do so much better. It’s also important to stay big – stay upright and keep protecting the goal. It’s easy to dive too soon.
Goal-keepers are strong personalities. You need to put any reverse goals behind you straight away. Confidence and psychology are key. – Never dwell on a conceded goal. And you have to be loud, you have to communicate well with your defence and make sure you’re heard.
There are some simple drills for the back garden if a young footballer is practising on her own. Terry recommends catching wallies – big, hard kicks against a wall or garage door, keeping your hands ready in that W shape. You can also set up a couple of cones to hone your footwork – quick sidestepping while holding the ball securely in front of you is ideal for control.
For fitness quick sprints will help you, and any legwork that builds explosive strength for your (hopefully) acrobatic jumps. And keep diving: left, then up quickly, right, then up quickly.
The SRU has found that kids who do a variety of sports alongside rugby stay longer in club rugby. We reckon it’s the same in football: Varied sports help kids stay engaged. Terry suggests that you’ll build good, transferable skills if you play rugby or tennis. – There’s plenty of hand-eye coordination in both sports and with rugby you also learn how to communicate with your team-mates, he says.
– It has to stay fun, Terry adds. – Kids just drop out if isn’t fun. There’s a stage in life when kids have endless energy and they can train all the time, but they really need to rest. It’s good game preparation to have some down-time.