How Unsung Heroes Dominate Ball Possession
SoccerToday News’ Spotlight on Goalies; the Unsung Heroes of the Soccer Field – Goalkeepers deserve enormous respect on the soccer field. Far more than the last line of defense, the goalie sees the plays develop before the ball may have the opportunity to find the back of the net. A powerhouse of potential, a well trained goalie can dominate ball possession and help his team reach consistent victory.
This week — as part of our ongoing series on Goalies – FIFA World Cup goalkeeper coach Dan Gaspar on How Goalkeepers Dominate Ball Possession. Last week: Goalies Are the Gladiators on the Soccer Field.
Dan Gaspar is the Assistant Coach, Iran National Team and the team’s goalkeeper coach. Last World Cup, Dan Gaspar was the goalie coach for the the Portuguese National team and worked closely with the team and world class star soccer professional Ronaldo. The founder of Star Goalkeeper Academy (SGA), an internationally recognized soccer organization specializing in the education of goalkeepers, Gaspar is a top goalkeeper coach, respected and sought after around the world. With accolades from Tim Howard, Victor Baia, Tony Meola, Kevin Hartman, Zach Thornton, Matt Jordan and Hans Vonk, Gaspar is highly respected by players and coaches around the globe. Gaspar also has Connecticut Soccer School which focuses on keeping soccer training fun.
Diane Scavuzzo asked Dan Gaspar to share his shares his advice on how today’s youth goalies can become their best on in front of the net and to help us understand the power and importance of the role of the goalie.
Diane Scavuzzo: Goalkeeper’s role in the game is?
Dan Gaspar: You can have an average team with a good goalkeeper and that team is a competitive team. You can have an average goalkeeper on a good team and that team becomes very average.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do most goalkeepers dominate ball possession?
Dan Gaspar: No. Unfortunately the art of catching is disappearing. It’s certainly much more challenging to catch the ball now than in the past. The balls that are manufactured today are so unpredictable. They dip, swerve and spin at such a speed that the goalkeepers prefer to box or deflect than rather to attempt to catch. Dominating the ball is become more rare today. Seems to be difficult to find goalkeepers who are passionate about catching the ball.
One-touch goalkeepers are those who touch the ball one time and keep it. The goalkeeper is the best player in the world when they have the ball in their hands. They are in complete control of the magic object. They must have the right mentality to have pride in catching.
What’s inside that ball? It’s their hopes, dreams and aspirations. If I threw a baby at you, how much concentration would you have to capture that baby and not allow it to hit the ground? Their focus would be at full alert!
First you need to catch the ball with their minds eye. Meaning, if their eyes are closed and on the coaches command, low ball, medium ball or high ball or scoop left or right the goalkeeper should be able to shape their hands and body to receive the ball into their body perfectly.
Mastering the ball does not only involve the hands but the entire body must be ready to embrace the ball. Sometimes the ball can hide bad technique. But with an invisible ball the body does not lie.
Goalkeepers need to catch everyday.
Goalkeepers need to catch hundreds of times a day. I started throwing a ball against a concrete wall, than kicking the ball against the concrete wall. Until I was kicking the ball as hard as I could.
I reached a point that I had the confidence that I could catch everything. I challenge the ball to beat be. I trusted my hands. Always tried to hold everything. Today the fear of dropping the ball overcomes the risk of attempting to dominate the ball. It frustrates me to witness goalkeepers punching, deflecting, and tipping everything that comes their way.
The benefits of the goalkeeper in dominating the ball are enormous.
How often do you see a goalkeeper giving up rebounds unnecessarily and the end result is picking the ball up in the back of the net.
Goalkeepers need to have a relationship with the goal and the net.
Embrace and kiss he goalpost because the frame can save you a goal.
Speak to the net and let the net know it will not see the ball today.
Capture the ball, sleep with it, and take to it.
The ball needs to be the goalkeeper’s best friend. When I was the goalkeeper coach for the Portugal National Team during the 2010 South Africa World Cup the ball introduced to that competition was very controversial.
All the players were complaining and making excuses that the ball was so unpredictable.
My strategy with my goalkeepers was to love the ball and make friends with the ball. Believe the ball was made especially for them. I never allowed them to complain or talk negatively about the ball. It did not become an issue during our training sessions or matches. While others complained the ball became their enemy.
My goalkeepers the ball became their partner. By the way, Eduardo the Portuguese National Goalkeeper was selected the third best goalkeeper of the World Cup tournament.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you first start playing soccer?
Dan Gaspar: My parents were Portuguese immigrants and as a result of their culture. They had a passion for soccer.
I was born in the US and like most Americans played American football and basketball. My father was a former professional goalkeeper in Portugal. He tried to convince me to be a goalkeeper. I resisted. Until one day he took be to the beach and trained me as a goalkeeper. A crowd started to gather. They were amazed that someone was flying through the air trying to catch a soccer ball.
In fact they called security because sand was sticking to my lips and may dad would not allow me to get a drink of water. He loved me, but it was old school training. No nonsense. High intensity combined with work ethic. I was in eighth grade at the time.
Diane Scavuzzo: What did you like best about playing goalkeeper?
Dan Gaspar: The responsibility that is associated with the position and the ability to make decisions under pressure. I believe the nature of this position prepares you for life.
The goalkeeper is one of the eleven positions of a soccer team. Although the goalkeeper requires specialized training and is allowed to use their hands, they are not any better or more important than anyone else on the soccer field.
The goalkeeper can use their hands, minds and hearts. They use their hands to control the ball and in communication, their minds to make challenging decisions and their hearts to express their passion for the art of goalkeeping.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the greatest challenge being goalkeeper?
Dan Gaspar: The greatest challenge is to be steady and consistent in your play and to be safe, secure and simple.
GoaliesAlong with the Star Goalkeeper Academy (SGA), Gaspar also has Connecticut Soccer School which focuses on keeping soccer training fun.