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Soccer Goalkeeping Metrics

Training soccer goalkeepers is very important. That is why we wrote a soccer goalkeeping practice book…Soccer Goalkeeper Practices.

It is important to track if your goalkeeper is improving. You can do this in practice by taking all the relevant skills and developing a 1-10 performance scale. Then evaluate your goalkeeper on a weekly or monthly basis by rating them. For example, let’s look at diving technique. The skill elements are:

  1. Ready Position
  2. Generating momentum (pushing off one leg)
  3. Extension
  4. Hand position during dive
  5. Landing position (on side, one leg up, etc.)
  6. Ball control (hand position)
  7. Decision making (hold ball or parry)

You can give each element a score from 0-10 and track over time. Then develop the same for other skill areas.

I would suggest that good goalkeeping coaches do this already, at least intuitively.

But do you evaluate your goalkeeper during games? If not, here are some metrics you could try.

  1. % saves of “easy” shots on target
  2. % saves of “difficult” shots on target
  3. % saves of “easy” shots from inside penalty box
  4. % saves of “difficult” shots from inside penalty box
  5. % saves of “easy” shots from outside penalty box
  6. % saves of “difficult” shots from outside penalty box
  7. % saves of 1v1 situations
  8. # of major mistakes (record type of mistake) per 10 shots on target
  9. distribution accuracy (% passes/throws getting to own team)
  10. % crosses handled correctly (caught, punched, or left to defenders – element of decision making)

I recommend you record the results for each game, i.e. # of shots on target/# saved, for each metric. Then aggregate the results for a number of games, five would be the minimum – ten preferred. Compare progress for each set of aggregation (group of games) and calculate the total for the season.

This is helpful to focus goalkeeping practices. For example if you think major mistakes are the issue and they are mainly dealing with low shots directly at the goalkeeper (ball goes through legs, big rebounds) then add some drills in practices with appropriate improvement suggestions until the score improves.

A word of caution: Goalkeeping performance has a lot to do with how the team/defense plays as well as with the quality of the opposing team. Your team’s performance will impact the amount of work your keeper gets as well as the quality of the opposing scoring opportunity. A clear shot from inside the box is not the same as a shot under pressure from your own defenders. A weak shot close to the keeper from outside the box is not the same as a hard shot in the top corner. So be careful to understand the qualitative element of the data. That is why I suggest to separate “easy” vs. “difficult” attempts at goal.

It is a somewhat subjective exercise and should be conducted by an experienced goalkeeping coach. Be positive when discussing the data with your keeper, especially with youth/child goalies.

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