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Deliberate Practice in Goalkeeping

By Jeff Oleck - September 5, 2017

This blog will be focused on the idea of deliberate practice.

​In an article published on the website,​ author Corbett Barr describes in great detail the importance of deliberate practice and how this method can be used to improve performance in a variety of fields (i.e. music, academics, sports, etc.).  
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He writes, "To learn any new skill or gain expertise you need to practice, practice, practice. There isn’t much debate about that.  
But here’s what you might not know: scientific research shows that the quality of your practice is just as important as the quantity.

And, more interestingly, these scientists also believe that expert-level performance is primarily the result of expert-level practice NOT due to innate talent.

This concept is known as deliberate practice, and it’s incredibly powerful."

​In goalkeeping, we value repetitions.  The more reps we get, the more work we feel we have accomplished.  We often brag about the number of reps..."I must have ​made 28 dives today!"  Reps are valuable, yes.  But, as we are starting to understand, the quality of those repetitions is extremely valuable.  The common pitfalls of "going through the motions" or "letting your mind wander" while performing specific technical tasks will be counterproductive to your development.
It's OUR job as coaches to provide a structured, productive, and fun environment to train these skills, while giving you feedback and constructive criticism.  It's YOUR job to bring the focus, energy, and a growth mindset.
One area where I believe we can continue to improve as a goalkeeping program is our ability with our feet and building a "relationship" with the ball.  As you have certainly gathered from my previous Tech Tuesday emails, the goalkeeping role is evolving into more than just a shot stopping position.  The take-home message that our GKs are getting is, "we have to get better at this"...AND, "you need to do some of this work on your own".
Spending time with the ball, in deliberate practice, is essential.  Reps are crucial, but quality reps are the foundation.  
Below you will find several videos which give you some at-home exercises to build ball mastery.  Some of these are very simple, some are more complex.  But, if you have ever said "I need to get better with my feet", you must take the time to deliberately improve that area of your game.
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​Ball Mastery Warm Up, Part 1: 
Ball Mastery Warm Up, Part 2:
First Touch Drills (partner needed):
Passing Drills (partner needed):
There are plenty of other great resources available via FourFourTwo Performance and their YouTube channel.  Find the drills you like, perform them deliberately, and repeat!​
As always, let me know if you have any questions.
Good luck in your games this weekend!
Coach O.