There is a general consensus in futsal that a goalkeeper is at least 50% of a team in terms of importance.
A good goalkeeper not only dominates the 3x2m goal frame but, by controlling the space behind the last defender, proactively prevents chances from appearing. In a previous post, I tried to answer the question of whether the greatest player of all time was a goalkeeper.
Plus, there is their role in the attacking phase where intelligent and precise distribution can break an opponent’s pressing and create goalscoring opportunities. Higuita for Kazakhstan or Guitta for Brazil are perfect illustrations of this.
Yet, specialist goalkeeping coach are still a rarity among teams.
This has remained the case whilst there has been a trend towards going into even finer detail of performance with sport scientists, performance analysts and psychologists a more common presence.
Dusan Matic, the Finland national team goalkeeping coach, makes the following statement in his latest book, Goalkeeper in Futsal Details, “A team that doesn’t have a goalkeeper coach does not consider its goalkeepers an important part of the team.”
The short but insightful guide follows his earlier publication “Goalkeeper in Futsal” which focused more on individual goalkeeper technique and tactics. This new release also covers many of those aspects but, overall, takes a more zoomed out and strategic perspective on how to get the best performance from a goalkeeper.
Chapters cover topics such as how to choose who will play the next match, the goalkeeper’s influence on the dynamics of the game and the relationship between the goalkeeper and their coaches.
One of the highlights of the book is the fascinating case studies taken from Matic’s career coaching hundreds of goalkeepers where he discusses how he put the knowledge into action or learnt a lesson.
One curious incident he discusses is where he decided all the goalkeepers should stay together in the same room to strengthen the relationship between them. The idea seems reasonable at first but when one got sick and another subsequently got infected a couple of days later, he realised it presented a risk of having all your goalkeepers unavailable at the same time.
The UEFA Goalkeeping Instructor also warns of adopting a copy and paste approach towards coaching, which those dedicated to goalkeepers are not the only ones susceptible to as I mentioned in a previous post. Exercises have to be tailored for your individual players’ needs and replicating those found on the internet without consideration and understanding is unlikely to produce the best results.
This is one reason having a knowledgeable specialist dedicated to this position within the coaching team is so crucial. Hopefully, this will become more commonplace and the resources and attention dedicated to the goalkeeping role will reflect the widely held opinion on their importance to a team.
The next best thing is coaches at least get hold of Dusan Matic’s insightful books and gain a fundamental understanding of the needs of those who play in this unique and critical position.
Anyone interested can purchase copies of his books at DusanMatic.com