Having recently graduated from Fresno Pacific University (FPU), thus ending my college career as a goalkeeper, I have had over a year to think about the impact that this unique position has played on my personal development. To start off, I should mention that goalkeepers in general are often thought of as the "odd balls" of the team due to our instinctive nature to do something out of the norm. This, along with the fact that as a goalkeeper I am openly volunteering myself to dive towards a ball traveling between 40-80 MPH in order to keep it out of my 8' by 24' goal-box. Not only do we dive across the hard ground, and jump in the air while challenging a 6' plus striker, but we also flop our body's in front of any opponent coming at us (with a ball of course) in an attempt to keep the clean sheet and preserve the victory (assuming our strikers can score...). This to say, goalkeepers are clearly a unique breed of soccer players, and I believe it's the adrenaline within me which has driven me beyond what I imagined achieving. It's through this adrenaline which I have dug deep to make the most out of every training session, to better my game play, and by making every effort to defy physics in an attempt to do anything it takes to make a save.
In order to be a goalkeeper it clearly takes a lot of training, not only for the shot stopping aspect, the technique involved, but the strength training and explosiveness as well. This means that goalkeepers not only have to spend hours on the field learning and perfecting certain movements (or technique) that will assist in their ability to perform more efficiently, they have to spend hours in the gym doing strength training and improving their explosive ability as well. With this said, there are various areas which make a goalkeeper successful, all of which can be improved through dedication of an intense training regimen. From my college experience, I can truly say that the position has taught me what it takes to be fully dedicated to something important that affects more than just myself. In fact, my success as a goalkeeper directly reflected the success of my team. If I didn't perform in a game when called upon, then more times than none the result was a loss, considering I was the last man in front of the goal. For this very reason, I dedicated much of my spare time during my college years improving my ability to perform in the game. Whether it was strength training in the gym, or technique, speed and agility training out on the field, I was fully dedicated to improve my ability to perform my position not only for my own benefit, but for the success of the team as a whole knowing the importance of my role on the team.
The focus I had to train and improve carried over to the various aspects of my life, those which were outside of the sport of soccer. This included the dedication I put forth in my faith in Jesus Christ, my school work and studies, my relationships with friends and family, as well as my desire to achieve success in my future career path. I'm sure many others can relate to the way sports have affected their lives, yet I can honestly say that the position of goalkeeping strikes me as one which is truly unique due to the impact that it has had on my development as a person. The position has taught me what it takes to be independent in discovering my own success, all while learning how to balance the pressure of performing the task of directing others on the field. It has taught me the importance of dedication, the desire to achieve for success, and the importance of displaying character above all else, regardless of the situation.
With this goalkeeping blog, I intend on posting advice and opinions based on my experience as a goalkeeper, as well as things I continue to learn as a goalkeeper coach. Please feel free to ask questions regarding anything about the sport of goalkeeping, whether its technique, speed and agility training, strength training, or game play advice. I am open to anything and willing to help as much as I can.
by, Steven Waite