For Quality Training....Gear Up!
It's now summer and for GKs, summer means lots of tournaments, showcases, and camps. Young GKs and High School aged GKs need to realize that if they have college or pro aspirations; training is paramount.
Many young GKs think that training is just showing up a couple of nights a week with your select team, jumping in goal for some of the team drills, then playing in goal during the end-of-session scrimmage. If you're lucky, maybe your Club has a GK Trainer who shows up once a week and puts the GKs through GK Training. I can tell you, as a college GK Coach, that when I see GKs out training (for Club or at a Camp) in a T-shirt and shorts with their socks rolled down; I know that those GKs are not very serious about their craft.
There's an old saying that goes, "Quality Goalkeepers are created through quality training." Quality training--in anything--means a planned, focused, challenging 'rehearsal' of game-time situations. In order to get the most out of training, the GK needs to arrive at the training session with all of the tools necessary for high-level GK training.
Gloves should be cleaned and ready for use. The GK's bag should have a long sleeve jersey, long pants (3/4 length "breezers" are very popular with professional level GKs), long socks, and the proper selection of footwear. Serious GK training demands a large supply of balls--all properly inflated--and enough cones or "coaching sticks" for use in designing the drills.
Now, I know what you're going to say. "But, EV, it's Summer, and it's really hot...."
There is no doubt that summer training is more demanding on the body due to the heat. And for that reason, GKs should warm-up, stretch, and do some light catching in their T-shirt and shorts with their socks rolled down. But when it's time to go in goal for training-in-earnest; it's time to pull on the "long stuff". Long gear prevents scrapes and "raspberries" and helps protect against bumps and bruises which will often occur during a high-level GK training session. A good GK trainer will plan for intense, physical training to last no more than an hour during the session. Also, the trainer should make sure that the GKs are allowed to stop for rest and water often throughout the session--particularly when the GKs are wearing long training gear. Any type of GK training that involves diving, going-to-ground, 1v1s, of challenged crosses and high balls should be performed in long gear. After the session, the GK trainer can allow the GKs to take off the long gear for their "cool down" jog-and-stretch. Remember to take the time to hydrate during the session--if you feel thirsty--DRINK! Don't wait until the GK trainer tells you to stop and "have a sip", you want to always guard against dehydration. Of course, for that
Reason the GK wants to be sure to carry plenty of water to the training session. Additionally, be sure to have sun-screen and perhaps a cap to provide the most UV protection.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to watch the top GKs in the world train, you'll notice that when it comes time to step in goal for specific GK training; the majority of them put on long gear. Then, when the session concludes, they strip-off to their training T, shorts and socks to finish up the remainder of the training session....even in warm climates such as Brazil, Spain, and Italy.
Remember; be prepared to improve each and every time you train. And in order to achieve Quality Training...Gear Up!
Eric Vaughter is currently the Goalkeeper coach at Vanderbilt University (W) as well as GK trainer at Lipscomb University (M) in Nashville, TN.
Long acknowleged as one of the top GK Coaches in the US; Vaughter has trained GKs of all levels--Youth thru Professional. EV is the President and Managing Director of The NET performance Group, LLC--a Soccer & Education firm. Vaughter works as a product design and marketing partner for reusch USA as well as heading up the reusch USA NETwork of Coaches.
EV is also Executive Director and Head Coach of the Nashville Preparatory Soccer Academy.