Modern-Day Goalkeeping: Goalkeeper Coaching Science

Recently described in the media as the greatest goalkeeper to ever play the game, the incredible Italian Gianluigi Buffon has had a stellar and unique career. As discussions surrounding the modern-day goalkeeper (GK) has seen an incredible evolution with the way they train, and the demands in the context of match-play, the shift to integrate the GK within the training content has become both popular & significant.

Buffon has not only remained at the elite level of the game for over 20-years, but been at the forefront of the game, transitioning across the change in perception of the role of the GK from a position who was primarily tasked with keeping the ball out of the net, to one who is now the first point of attack in creation.

The demand now placed on the role of the GK when initiating attacking play in-possession, and the need for greater technical qualities when the demand is to play out from the back.

Nutrition for footballers

What makes a good goalkeeper?

Gone are the days where goalkeepers work alone in the corner of the pitch with the goalkeeping specialist coach, and this has been suggested from a current Bundesliga Head of Goalkeeping coach when they stated that,

“Nowadays, goalkeepers have the ball at their feet more than in their hands….and as a result of this we must incorporate that into the practice design focus of the training session…”

Now the key to all modern training & developments of coaching methods & match-play philosophy at the elite level is integrating the goalkeeper (GK) within all types of technical, possession & strategical based training content with the purpose of maximising the time in-possession.

Now elite level managers & progressive coaches see the goalkeeping coaching specialists not only involved in the preparation of the GK in isolation, but the role of GK coaches in building confidence & working within the playing out strategies, how to penetrate the opponents pressure, areas of weaknesses as well as being able to counter-attack from the deeper positions & direct set-piece situations (attacking & defensive).

injury rehabilitation for footballers

e.g. GK specific possession drill – increasing focus on creating passing lanes in possession and playing through pressure.

hydration for footballers

What do coaches look for in a goalkeeper?

Furthermore, the professionalisation of the GK coaching role, has now increased the requirements of the GK coach. As a result, these coaching requirements have advanced how the top level coaches think about the role, as well as now having a greater understanding of all positional specific elements of the science surrounding the role of the GK.

All GK specific coaching, & outfield technical & performance coaches now embrace an enhanced GK specific knowledge across psychology, nutritional needs & necessities, bespoke positional strength, conditioning & injury prevention techniques of the GK as well as linking their teams tactical strategy to their training content & through detailed analysis.

The football goalkeeper position arguably represents a unique role within the sport, as despite its highly complex & unique skill demands, research on football goalkeeping has only sporadically examined the position within isolated and limited parameters. As the game of football is ever-evolving, so are the demands in each position in the game. From the Goalkeeper (GK) to the Centre-Forward, the GK Coach to the Head Coach and Manager.

long term athletic development

To form a holistically oriented approach to coaching the game, we must first have a well-rounded understanding into the demands of each position and fully commit to the integration of the well-established ‘4-Corners of High-Performance’ in football coaching (Technical, Tactical, Physical and Psychological).

ISSPF are about to unveil an online Professional Masters Course in Goalkeeper Coaching Science for youth and senior coaches. The course is designed to provide a more specific and detailed insight into the key elements specific to the role of the GK coach from a football science & performance perspective.

What is football science & performance?

  • Football coaches, football scientists & research driven practitioners combining soccer related studies & findings together to maximise their working & coaching efficiency
  • Bringing together some of the latest scientific principles, knowledge & practical applications surrounding performance within a soccer specific environment
  • The integration of research driven & coaching principles that enable key individuals within the game to maximise the performance of players

The demand for sports science, tactical analysts, physiotherapists, physical therapists, performance & coaching specialists in football, soccer & team sports is growing year upon year. Thousands of learners at home, university students leaving university with a sport science degree, physio or therapy related qualification, however many of them asking the key question – What now? How do I get a job in football? What’s the next step? Which area of sport or football science & medicine do I want to specialise in?

This is certainly an interesting question as progressing from completing a sporting, medical or therapy related degree to then working in professional football & trying to understanding all the key components, and soft skills that come with jobs in football or careers within sport is complex.

As a result, the bespoke courses developed by ISSPF Elite Football Coaching & Sport Science, Kinesiology, Athletic Trainers & Physiotherapist Faculty members are a way of further exposing learners, parents, professional coaches, students, or other individuals interested in football science with a thirst to develop & upskill further.

The link below will take you to the hugely popular & expertly designed ISSPF endorsed & University & Football Association accredited Soccer Science & Performance online sport science course, where you will be exposed to football or soccer science with coaching led research, and practical examples used by the game’s leading practitioners.

Why is this course important?

  • Provides justification for the guiding of specific training methods, interventions & decision making processes within soccer
  • Highlights the practical application of modern, research based training methods & assessment tools
  • Provides an increased evidence & knowledge to understand key kinesiology, soccer science & performance processes across a range of coaching science topics
  • Discusses the most efficient training methods and detailed insights into developing player fitness alongside rehabilitation & training methodologies
  • Learn from industry experts in the area of soccer or football science, kinesiology, sport science & performance training in team sports
  • Help maximise your decision making through a better understanding & appreciation of football or soccer science

Who is this course for?

  • Individuals tasked with the responsibility for the training, preparation & coaching aspects of soccer players or team sports
  • Kinesiologists, sport scientists, athletic trainers, coaches & fitness trainers
  • Individuals with an interest in developing their knowledge in the training & development of individual soccer players or team sports

Outline of the Football Science & Performance Course:

Module 1: The demands of professional soccer: Physiological costs of the game
Lecturer: Dr. Vasilis Kalapthorakos (Greece)
Topic: Physiology

Module 2: Developing Resilience in Soccer: Mental Skill Development
Lecturer: Dr. Nikki Crawley (England)
Topic: Psychology

Module 3: Game model building & development: Reinterpreting Tactical Periodisation
Lecturer: Dr. Alejandro Romero-Caballero (Spain) Spanish Football Federation
Topic: Training Methodology

Module 4: Injury reduction strategies in professional soccer
Lecturer: Dr. Patrick Orme (England) Bristol City FC
Topic: Injury Prevention

Module 5: Leadership and Culture for High Performance Soccer
Lecturer: Maximillian Lankheit (Germany) San Jose Earthquakes FC, MLS
Topic: Psychology

Module 6: Current trends in leading European soccer teams: In-Possession
Lecturer: Chris Meek (England) England Football Association
Topic: Performance Analysis

Module 7: Soccer nutrition & the role of the nutritionist
Lecturer: Matthew Jones (England) West Ham United FC

Topic: Nutrition

Module 8: Competitive soccer training microcycle: Structure & justification
Lecturer: Dr. Manuel Segovia (Spain) Spanish Football Federation
Topic: Training Methodology