Helping Your Young Goalie At Home

Hey Goalie Parents,

I hope you all are staying healthy and well during this time. It’s been surreal watching this pandemic and its effects unfold on the news. My wife keeps saying that it feels like we’re living in a sci-fi novel.

That being said, we’re also seeing people spending time with their families more than ever before. I can say personally that this is the most time I’ve been able to spend at home with my family since I was in high school.

On social media you can see that goalies have gotten creative with their training in order to stay as close to game shape as possible. It’s been really cool to see some of the imaginative solutions people have come up with. Trainers and coaches (myself included) have offered different at home programs and options to modify their athletes workouts, and for the most part people are making the best of it.

One group that seems to have been left out is the youngest goalies. For those goalies in novice and atom, or U8 to U10, a heavily structured program is not going to be the best thing for their development.

If you’ve got kids at that age I’m sure you can attest to the fact that keeping their attention for any length of time can be a challenge. You can imagine how tough it would be to have them follow a list of exercises on a page.

Try homeschooling one of these

So if you’re a parent of a goalie in that U8 to U10 age group, here are some great things you can be doing at home to help your young goalie out in a way that works best for them.

Passing a Soccer Ball Around

This is so simple but helps in so many ways. Your young goalie will work on developing eye-leg coordination and moving their body towards an object in the same way they need to on the ice. Mixing in some higher passes that they can knock down with their chest emphasizes those skills as well.
Bonus: If they’re by themselves, playing some “keep-up” by heading the ball high off a wall and seeing how many times in a row they can keep it going is an awesome drill. They practice focusing on the ball, moving their body position to keep it up, and the skill of tracking an object’s trajectory and predicting where it will go. The best part is, they don’t know they’re working on any of these things. They’re just having fun!

Playing Catch with a Baseball

A lot of the same things apply to this fun pastime. Your young goalie will be able to practice watching an object from the point of release right into their glove. Parents, keep things interesting for them as well by mixing in some fly balls they can sprint for to get their heart rate up as well (and tire them out so they’ll maybe go to bed on time!)

Tennis Ball Wall Drills

For the times they’re by themselves, encourage them to doing some throwing and catching of their own by underhanding a tennis ball off a wall and catching it. Left hand to right hand, right hand to left hand to start. Once they’ve mastered that, they can mix things up by throwing and catching with the same hand (left to left, right to right) and maybe even add in some movement such as shuffling or moving from their knees to their feet and back while throwing and catching.

Fun With Siblings

My last point, if your young goalie has siblings that are old enough to have fun outside with them, there are a ton of games they can play with each other and they all enhance their athletic development, but more importantly, they’re fun! Some of my favourites include:

  • Tag: This game has it all. Sprinting, deceleration, change of direction. Just about every athletic thing you can imagine.
  • Kick and Chase: If you can get to a park or an open space, the kids can take turns kicking a ball as far as they can, and racing to see who can get to it first. (I love using a football for this since each bounce can change direction so much. It makes the game more interesting!)
  • Hide and Seek: Although on the surface this might not seem like the most athletic game, having the ‘seeker’ scan the environment for clues to the ‘hider’s whereabouts is helping them practice taking in information from their environment, determining probabilities, and many other mental skills which are just as important as the physical skills they work on.

I truly believe that kids at this age are in the best position to come out of this time where the world is on pause with the most positive growth. These few things along with whatever else kids find for themselves to stay active and have fun are going to make for better goalies and more well-rounded athletes when we finally return to sport.

If you have any questions about anything in this article, or you’d just like to hear more about what you can do for your goalie, please reach out via the contact form on this website or email me directly at goaliecoachandrew@hotmail.com.

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