Kicking– An Introduction

 

In later releases I will produce a coaching article on kicking methods and how to improve your kicks but if like many goalkeepers (especially at a younger age) you are struggling with your kicks my best advice is to get personal coaching so that a professional can look at all the aspects that make up this important area; such as your balance and approach, your power through the ball, the follow through and many other elements.

 

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This article is purely an introduction as to the key areas that need to be developed in order for you to perform well in this part of your game. Not many goalkeepers to start find kicking naturally, they have developed it by practise, so do not be pressurised into what you cannot do so it affects your game, better to adapt if this is a weakness while you practise to improve this skill. Yes some goalkeepers will be natural at kicking and only need to work more on their accuracy and power. If you do struggle at first, remember that with practice and increase of strength this will become better. Do not demand too much from yourself as this can create issues with your confidence which could remain for some time. Make it an area that you know you will have to work more on!

 

There are three key elements to kicking: These are the areas you should work on most. There order is also important: -

 

Technique:

In a future article you will see what methods are used; you will need to adapt these so they become natural to you. Once you have developed a natural and comfortable technique that works well for you work to achieve accuracy.

 

Accuracy:

It is vital that you learn to perform well in this area as you will be expected to distribute to your team via a number of kicking methods – goal kicks / free kicks / back pass / hand kicks etc. Once you have a good balanced technique with accuracy you can then develop your maximum power into the kicks.

 

Power:

This will depend on age and strength and if your technique is correct. In a future article I will refer to ‘muscle memory’, this you will develop with age and practise, so do not expect to achieve distances with your kicking too much beyond your age level.

 

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Your ability to perform well in all situations where you will be required to kick is important, so practice to obtain perfection by working on each area separately. Work to achieve a standard that you will still be able to handle even when under pressure within a game situation.

 

This release is primarily designed to inform you of the basic elements you will need to work on to maximise your kicking skills but also to address any lack of confidence you may have. For many years I have seen good GK’s ruin the rest of their performance in a game because their ‘mind-set’ is overtaken due to poor kicks; the expectation that you should be able to kick like other GK’s; and the ‘pressure coaching’ to force improvement without the understanding of why it is happening! With correct application and coaching be assured you will become better, so understand that weakness, do not add to it!

 

Tip: You or your manager could help improve performance if you coach the out-field players to know any limitations you may have in your kicking capabilities. Do not try or force more than what you can naturally do during a game as this will add to further pressures if incorrectly completed which in turn might affect other areas of your game. Better to work on improving your kicks in a coaching/training session.