|Wednesday, December 07, 2011|
Being a Keeper
The position of goalkeeper in soccer is a demanding role on the field. It requires communication, decisive leadership, and a little craziness to persevere after you have thrown yourself on the ground and at opponents’ feet repeatedly. It can seem daunting at times, but the success in outworking, outmaneuvering, and beating another player, after he has given it his all, is worth it. However, goalkeepers play in two diverging ways: the conservative way and my way.
The conservative way to play goalkeeper is certainly not detrimental to goalkeeping technique, but I would not recommend it. The fundamental difference between the two is that the conservative way entails “holding your line,” or staying in the six yard box the whole game. Even when feeling bold, conservative keepers go only as far as the penalty mark. This conventional way of goalkeeping results in minimal communication, minimal support of the defense, minimal leadership, and frequently getting scored on by opponents.
However, my way of goalkeeping is quite different, quite bold, and quite daring compared to a more conventional goalkeeper. The key is to play proactively. I’m on the edge of the penalty box constantly, screaming at the top of my lungs to direct my defense. I am involved with my team, giving them the backup they need and the relief they deserve by venturing outside the box to win balls. “The readiness is all,” and that is what I do out there on the edge: anticipate, prepare, and react.
True, this style is risky, and sometimes my downfall, but I play that way because, as Teddy Roosevelt put it, “It is far better to know the triumph of high achievement, or failure despite a daring and valiant effort, than to be placed with those cold and timid souls [conservative or conventional goalkeepers] who know neither victory nor defeat.” Plus, life is not worth living without some sort of risk. So I might fail, miss a breakaway because I was caught a little too far outside the box or run outside the box and miss-hit the ball, but at least I was out there, living on the edge where excitement and exhilaration roam, and actively participating in the game instead of staying in my little corner of the field the whole time.
Being a Keeper