It’s amazing how many goalkeepers are not able to give their best performance at tournaments because they are not prepared. Here is a list of things to be ready for when traveling to a tournament, and in some cases be seen by college coaches.
1 – Clean your gloves prior to the tournament.
Get all dirt particles out of your gloves by putting them in a pillowcase and throwing in the washing machine. After the cycle, leave palm up out of sunlight. If you are not comfortable putting them in the washer, you can use glove wash or better still, bring out those new L1 Goalkeeper gloves for that new glove feeling.
2 – Read up on when / who you are playing in the tournament.
Check, and double check your times. This will help you in deciding when to eat, how much rest you are likely to have and what type of field you are likely to be playing on (Turf/grass). Be aware that most tournaments don’t have their final schedule out until 3 days before the start – Be aware of any changes.
3 – Pack extra goalkeeping equipment and have in a separate smaller bag.
Hat to avoid eye strain when looking into sun, squeezy bottle to wet gloves during and in between games, tape to ensure shinguards don’t get in the way of kicking. Have pants on hand if the goalmouth looks hard or rocky. Read up on all the equipment you might need but maybe don’t have. You can purchase goalkeeping equipment here.
4 – Read the article on exercises to do to warm up before a game.
Coach won’t have time to cater to your specialized needs. Read the article here
5 – Know the rules of the tournament.
How many minutes each way? Sudden death penalties? Throw in’s or kick-ins? Tiebreaker based on goals scored v Head to head? – This will help you to dictate the pace of the game.
6 – Look the part.
Ensure you look professional by having your shirt tucked in, socks over your shin guards and have your laces tied. The phycology of looking like a quality dedicated goalkeeper will help you in a game as you feel good and the opposition will be less confident in scoring a goal.
7 – Communicate.
- With coaches – To see what style of play they are looking for ( Play out from the back / go long )
- With defenders – When the ball is in the air / behind the defense. More info here
- With team – to give encouragement. Read about the importance of communication here.
8 – Fill out the match analysis form provided in previous e-mails.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t have one.
This helps you to think about what was good, bad or ugly about your previous performance and gives a mental reminder of what you need to do better in the next game. If a parent or coach can provide the stats on the bottom of the page, even better.
9 – Know your penalty strategy.
Your strategy of saving a “one-off” penalty should be different to a penalty shoot-out.
[Update – 5/25 Be careful of stepping off your line as it could result in a caution! – See the relevant post here]
10 – Remember how good you are.
Think of all the good saves, early quality distributions that you made in your last game and throughout your goalkeeping life.