I don’t know about you, but when I was playing youth soccer (or football for our friends across the pond), “goalkeeper training” consisted of the GK’s finding a net that wasn’t being used and kicking the ball at each other. Either that or having a coach that has no idea what he or she is doing trying to make up drills on the fly. Then, after the rest of the team was done training, we jumped in the net for a couple of reps and called it a day.
Today, there are any number of coaches and trainers that work with only goalkeepers. There are tons of camps all over the US and beyond that cater only to GK’s. The problem is that this extra training costs you in time and money. Is it all worth it?
I think it absolutely is. First off, the cost of soccer in general isn’t cheap (which is a whole other topic that I’m not going to get into right now). According to USA Today, the average price for a team (depending on the level) is $2,500 to $5,000 a year. If that cost includes goalkeeper training, that’s great. If not, an extra couple hundred dollars for a camp or a few training sessions with a professional goalkeeper coach may be a worthwhile investment for a young keeper and their family. Many of the coaches listed on KeeperSpace.com are current or former players or trainers for professional teams.
Secondly, if you are going to shell out your hard earned money on some private lessons or a private coach, make sure that you do your research. While I have a lot of camps and coaches listed on this site, it’s impossible for me attend each camp or go to a training session with each trainer and see how good the training is. Each goalkeeper or their parents should do their due diligence and make sure the coach is a good fit. What experience does the coach or camp have? How long have they been doing it? Ask for references if you feel you need to. Any reputable business (regardless of the type) should be more than willing to provide you with some references if you ask for them.
Many players and their families look at youth soccer programs as a stepping stone for a collegiate career. As a goalkeeper, if you feel like you’re not getting what you need or should be getting out of your training sessions, you might want to check out some private lessons or a camp. It could make the difference between sitting on the bench or continuing your career at a higher level!