When playing goalie there are some key aspects to keep in mind to help you stay at the top of your game. As goalkeeper, you are essentially the “quarterback” of the defense and communication is key to keeping your defenders well informed at all times. While you may have the best view of what is happening, there are typically 5 defenders running around paying attention to the man who they are covering, so it is your job to let them know where the ball is at all times.
Letting your defenders know where the ball is allows them to spend more time focusing on their job, defending you. There are different methods to team communication. Some goalies choose to call out the position of the ball by using a system such as “left/front,” meaning the ball would be in front of the goal on the left side. Other defenses work off of a number system, associating positions on the field with numbers from 1 to 6. In this system the call “ONE” could mean the ball is in front of the goal line on the left side, “TWO” could mean that the ball is in front of the goal in the middle of the field and “THREE” would be in front of the goal on the right side of the field. As the ball is moved around in a clockwise motion, the calls would be 1 to 3 in front of the goal and 4 to 6 behind the goal. All of these communication methods require practice and excellent teamwork.
Also as a goalie, you are able to focus on the bigger offensive picture as well, since the other defenders are in many cases focusing on man-on-man coverage. Your extra set of eyes allows you to let the defenders know if someone is cutting to the goal and if they may need to slide off their coverage to better protect the net and prevent the other team from scoring.
Keeping your defense aware of what is going on “off-ball” should be one of your most important jobs as a goalie, and will allow your defense to work for you. Communication between you and your defenders will make your job easier and make your defense look better, a win-win for all.