The goalkeeper clearly is a different type of athlete compared to the outfield players as they run far less distances and covers a much shorter area of the field compared to the outfield players. The goalkeeper must possess quick reflexes, be very agile and rely on explosive movements to do their job effectively. In addition to these attributes, they must train their body to endure the “beating” from shot stopping, diving, collisions, and crosses. Lastly, the height of the goalkeeper is a factor due to the dimensions of the goal.
When evaluating youth goalkeepers, you must consider the “growth potential” of a player and think about the following:
- Current attributes – height, weight, coordination, athleticism, etc.
- Parent’s attributes – Are the parents tall, good size, athletic, short, etc?
- Birth date – What month is the goalkeeper born? Is the goalkeeper one of the youngest on the team for his age group? Does he need more time to mature?
- Teenage years – Are they still growing into their body? Is their coordination poor due to “growing pains”? Smaller but technical goalkeepers need to be evaluated based on the above information. Taller/bigger but not as technical, goalkeepers need to continue to concentrate on techniques. This approach will ensure both types of goalkeepers are progressing at the appropriate time frame for when they reach their maximum physical attributes.
Beyond the evaluation of the “growth potential”, the goalkeeper must possess the following: