As with most complicated things, the skills necessary in becoming an excellent goalkeeper are an accumulation of many simple basics, such as footwork, the basic receiving position, proper catching technique, breakaways, cutting the angles, etc.
However, these skills must be honed over time and a discipline is required.
Just4Jeepers provides a year-round weekly structure that teaches and reinforces these skills over time. Each session is devoted to a specific skill, or a set of related skills, which increase in complexity over time.
It is not by accident that I’ve mentioned “over time” twice. There are no short cuts to becoming an excellent goalkeeper.
J4K is committed to providing an excellent extended professional learning environment. Each young keeper‘s needs are addressed within the group. They are asked to extend themselves and to realize that learning from their mistakes is part of the process. Too many coaches criticize errors rather than praising improvements.
I can relate to young goalkeepers since I was self-taught. Dedicated goalkeeper coaches were not available when I began my goalkeeping career in eighth grade at age fourteen. Things had not improved when I arrived at Lehigh University, so I convinced my coach that I could devise my own training program. It was based the premise that giving up goals in practice was not important, but testing my limits was. This approach was honed during my four years as a starter.
I quickly realized that a positive mental attitude was an essential component to goalkeeping. I went for shots that my initial reaction was, “It’s going in.” Gradually, my hand got closer and closer to the ball, and eventually I was making saves. Through this practice of extending myself in all aspects of goalkeeping, and by continual repetition, I became a goalkeeper with excellent reflexes.
My goalkeepers understand that improvement is not usually linear, but that it always comes. It is very satisfying when I hear a young goalkeeper, after a period of trying a new technique, happily proclaim—“you are right, I got it”.
In addition to developing physical skills, Just4Keepers puts equal emphasis on building confidence, which is important throughout life.