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What would you rater have on your team someone that shoots the ball really hard but can’t control it or some that doesn’t have the shot speed and can put the ball where ever he wants every time he shoots?  

I would take accuracy every time at the high school level.  Why?  Because the easy answer is that goalies make mistakes.  I would much rather have the ball be somewhere on the net then and have a chance to score.  Listen I’m all for shot speed but, not at the expense of accuracy.  

Last year we had extra time to warm up before a game.  I was shooting with a player that was new to the team that year.  I didn’t know if I wanted to play him at attack or middie.  He had been playing middie.  As we were shooting I tried to call my shot by picking a corner.  Then we started to play P-I-G.  After a while I won, I told him you can’t score unless it is on the net.  He agreed.  Then during the game, I played him at attack and he scored.  Let me tell you it was a bad shot and the goalie just missed it.  I talked to him after about it.  And he said “coach you were right, get it on net right where I wanted it to go”.  I was shocked he scored on that shot, but it was on net.  Goalies make mistake just like every other player.  So, speed doesn’t matter like accuracy.  

So the next time you practice aim for the corners.  Once you can hit them every time, show your teammates.  They will be jealous, trust me.  I once told my team I was going to hit the top-right corner and I did.  It happened to be the first time I shot in front of them.  I earned their respect right way, from that accuracy shooting display.  It felt pretty good.  So, take the same pride and passion in you accuracy as you do the rest of you game.  

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The first rule is making sure your kids always know your rule for playing time.  It doesn’t matter if you are only going to play the best or if you are going to try to play everyone the same amount.  As long as the kids know your rule that is what matters.  Make sure they know before they sign up and on the any time you talk about playing time. 

This year the approach I’m going to take is varsity team is the best are going to play.  We want to win games, I know there will be some games when we are winning or losing by a lot and that is when I will get others playing time.  But, the overall varsity team philosophy is to win so; I’m going to play the best in order to make that happen.  But, the guys that will play have to be at practice if they want to see they field. 

On the other hand JV is about development.  I think we are at a stage where if the kids get good enough we need their help on varsity.  In the next two years we hope that will be our middle school team.  But, for now it is the JV team.  We try to get all the boys that practice equal playing time, so they can develop.  This helps making them the best they can be.

Is this the best way for your program?  I don’t know but sit down with your coaching staff and talk about the way you are going to approach this year’s playing time.  Then you can let the boys know and it will make everything run smoother when the season starts.

Now, I feel that players at the varsity level should be able to substitute on their own.  The great teams don’t need help they just play.  I’m going to set up a way I want my team to substitute and they should be able to do that on their own.  An example would be middies; it should go lines 1, then line 2, then line 3, then back to line 1.  If they kids can’t handle that we have other problems.  After we got that under control in practice, with scrimmages then we will add in LSM and offensive and defensive middles.  This way I can focus on the game and just coach.  And if the game gets out of control we can make the rotation go line 3, 4, then 5 (middie lines).  Then sub in the backup attack and defense. 

I wanted to tell you about this because last year I spent so much time with the JV on subbing that I didn’t get to coach as much as I wanted too.  The other way is to have another coach handle the substitutions and you can coach the game.  How ever you approach it have a plan.  Have a passion about the way you want to deal with substitution and it should run smoothly in future.

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First of all a goalie has to have a passion for the position if you want them to be good.  They have to want it for themselves.  Because, some teams put the bigger and slow kid in the net, hat is not what you want to do.  I like to tell the kids that goalie is the most important position, because it is.  The goalie controls so much of the game.  I want someone in net that has good vision, is loud, can communicate well, can pass well, and is not afraid of getting hit by the ball.

Last year we didn’t have a goalie for JV so, I had to convince one of the kids to play.  I talked to the team asking the kids who wanted to have the biggest impact on the team should give it a try.  We had one kid step up and he has been getting better ever since.

I had someone ask me how to approach warm-up.  It all depends on the amount of time you have.  But, planning this out is the coach’s job.  The first step is to start passing and making the passes longer.  This way you can work on clears.  Having one you’re your players jogging around so the goalie can pass to different areas of the field.  Then you go into the cage to take shots.  Take shot high, middle, low, on both sites.  When goalie is taking shots, you have to remember to take shots in all areas of field where a shot can come from.  This way they are warmed up for all the different shots that happen in a game.  Another key note is that who ever is doing the shooting needs to not rip them as hard as they can.  This way you build up your goalies confidence.

Talk to a couple older goalies to see what they like.  Every goalie is different. 

Here are a couple of videos that I want my goalies to watch to get better.

YouTube Preview Image  YouTube Preview Image  YouTube Preview Image

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