Sometimes being of a shorter stature can leave you benched when it comes to being a goalkeeper. Often, people have the misconception that smaller goalkeepers are not as adept at their role compared to those who are taller.
In this article, we are going to cover five tips to help smaller goalkeepers up their game and compete with their taller counterparts.
1. Increasing Power Through Gym Workouts
It’s important to know how your body mechanics work as an athlete. As a goalkeeper it is important to improve your speed, power and agility, particularly if you are on the shorter side. The ability to make a jump at the right time can be the key to making a vital save.
Choose workouts that keep you well rounded but take a day or two to focus on specific exercises that increase agility/power as well as strength. Plyometrics, olympic lifts & compound movements e.g squats are some great examples of workouts that will increase your power!
2. Increase your Footwork Game
As previously mentioned, agility is one of the base skills of a goalkeeper. Being able to react quickly and manoeuvre around the field in rapid movements is essential, particularly when you are wanting to play at a higher level.
Agility exercises such as bungee work, ladder work and skipping are all fantastic ways in which you can become lighter on your feet and improve your agility in the process.
3. Presence and Attitude
It may seem like a small thing however your attitude as a goalkeeper can keep you playing well and stopping goals. The trick is to give off an aura which would potentially disarm other players attempting to score a goal.
Showing a larger presence than what your opposition is used to can unnerve them and will cause them to potentially fall short of the mark if they see you mean business.
Presence is another way to improve your game. This can be as simple as standing tall with your chest out, or making sure your communication is TOP notch. This also helps you build confidence/trust with your team mates.
4. Dealing with Crosses
Crosses are a something which goalkeepers are always evaluated on.. especially smaller ones. These are not easy challenges to meet as players are getting better, the balls move all over the place, making our job that much more difficult!
Commitment is key, you need to decide if you are leaving the goal to get the cross or you are staying in goal in order to protect it closer to home. Flip flapping in between is a sure way to lose the ball, make your decision and commit. You'll learn from making a decision, you won't learn much from hesitation.
Having positive/aggressive start positions are also vital.
5. Deal with Your Mistakes
If you’ve let a ball pass it can be crushing, you feel very down and your mindset can take a hit, however, always remember that these things happen. It’s vital to your game that you stay in a mindset of positivity.
Having a negative mindset whilst on the field can seriously affect your performance. Any good manager and coach will tell you that you need to learn from your mistakes, not let them define you.
Take what you’ve learned and apply it to your game performance. If you feel you need to be more aggressive or defensive then apply it.
It can feel very difficult as a smaller goalkeeper, not having the reach of others, however, you can rely on your agility and honed skill to compensate for a slight lack in height. Practice, mindset and training is key to ensuring you stay on top form for when you play.
If you would like to get any more advice or anything goalkeeper related, please get in touch. We run all kinds of training to suit the individual needs.
Chris & the team.