The Goalkeeper is always to blame

Goalkeepers / May 3, 2018 / Posted by admin

Far too often teammates or team parents and even head coaches make unfounded critiques of what a goalkeeper should or shouldn’t have done during the game. When I stand among the parents watching my students games I hear it all the time “The Goalkeeper could have done better on that one!” or “The goalkeeper could have easily saved that”. If it is such an easy role to explain, then why isn’t your son or daughter a keeper?? A poor man doesn’t tell a rich man how to run his billion dollar incorporation and a defender better have some more constructive words than barking at the goalkeeper when the ball ends up in the back of the net.

The biggest challenge I’ve had with being a goalie is when years ago when playing in middle school over in Italy the field players would tell me what I needed to do in goal. I know they were only trying to help but the goalie is the hardest position, mentally and physically, they’ve never tried to play in this role so they wouldn’t know what it is like.

If you’re in this uncomfortable situation of having older or more skilled player criticizing you, then the first option for dealing with this situation is talk directly to the offending player. Stand your grounds, let him know that you’re in charge of the defense if he/she likes it or not. So sometimes a quick face-to-face chat after practice letting them know that their during-the-game criticism or feedback is actually wrong, and is certainly not helping you make saves.

Unfortunately the option of talking the player is a tough one because normally in these situations they think that they know it all, they “think” that they’re more experienced, and feels they have the right or duty to “coach” the goalie via any method necessary. In that case, my advice is to bring this issue up with the head coach and let him/her know what his happening and have them deal with it.

A head coach’s job is to ensure the team is unified. They should be on alert for behavior that destroy’s the team environment and limits any one player’s ability to succeed. If he takes anything like that lightly, he’s an amateur!

There would be a third solution but sticking your cleat up a teammates butt is very Euro-Style and something from the 80’s and not certainly something that I would do or even teach now or in the future for the club I work for or at my Goalkeeper Academy 🙂

To me, there is nothing more destructive to a soccer teams success than having one or more field players criticize the goalie on or off the field.

You need thick skin to be a goalie that’s for sure! As a goalie we’re in a position to receiving a lot of bitching. From parents, from teammates, even from club directors and board members who want to give the goalie a piece of their “not-so-helpful advice.
Mentally thin skinned goalies let that moaning and complaining ruin their game and lose their confidence while strong minded keepers simply ignore it and in some cases it actually motivates them.