Soccer Goalie Equipment & Gear: Checklist
How many times have you watched the heroics of a goalkeeper?
Whether it was Peter Schmeichel, Iker Casillas, Manuel Neuer, David de Gea or any other goalkeeper – one thing’s for certain, there are very few things more exciting to watch than a goalkeeper on top of their game.
But how do they get to this point? How do they develop the reflexes of cat, the focus of a monk and the skills needed to save 3 shots on goal in as many seconds?
By training, practicing and showing dedication to their craft.
Soccer Goalkeeper Equipment List
On a basic level, there are few key areas goalkeepers need to work on. They are; handling, footwork, positioning, saves (catching, deflecting, parrying) and their physical and psychological conditioning.
Now, a lot of these areas can be improved with a minimal amount of equipment involved….a pair of decent gloves and the right clothing will suffice.
There are a few additional pieces of equipment however, that are not only recommended to improve a goalkeepers all round game but extremely fun to use as well.
First, let’s have a look at some of the basics…
Clothing & Protection
Jersey: You used to have to buy a whole range of tops, fit them over one another and jump out onto the pitch – failing that you could’ve worn oversized top handed down from your Dad. These days you’re pretty much spoilt for choice. Goalie jerseys now tend to be made from more durable, padded material to give the body extra protection – while not adding too much weight.
Pants: Again, the same sort design and materials are used for pants. This time protecting the knees and hips.
Cleats: Like any soccer player you’re also going to need a pair of decent, comfortable and durable pair of soccer cleats.
While they are a simple piece of equipment – When looking for a pair of goalie gloves it’s important to not over-simplify what a pair of goalie gloves are and how they benefit the whole team let alone the goalkeeper.
To really understand and know what you’re buying it helps to have a little knowledge on the anatomy of the glove;
- Backhand: The backhand part of the glove helps support the wrists and is especially useful when it comes to punching the ball.
- Palm: The palm of the glove is made primarily so a keeper can safely catch the ball. In order to do this manufacturers use a variety of different materials and uniquely designed textures and dimples that determine the quality of the grip.
- Closure: The opening that you place your hand into to get your gloves on and the bit that goes round your wrists is called the closure. Most gloves come with Velcro strap that wraps around the wrist to keep the gloves in position and stop them coming loose. You’ll want to look for a pair of gloves that has a closure that doesn’t restrict the moment of your wrist while also allowing adequate air in to keep your hands cool
- Fingers: Although you’d be hard pressed to catch a ball without the other parts of your hand – the fingers are one of the most important parts to focus on. When looking for a pair of gloves ensure that;
- a) The gloves fit snug enough around each of your fingers
- b) Your fingers are protected from bending backwards
The overall price of any gloves you see on the market is usually determined by the how well the backhand is made and the quality of the grip in the palm.
Here are a few gloves to check out if you’re interested;
Soccer Goalie Training Equipment
With the basics covered, there are a few other pieces of equipment that are regularly used by goalkeepers to help them not only improve as individuals but ultimately help their team win more points.
Cones / Markers: These are usually found in most coaches ‘lockers’. They’re great for providing a visual cue to; change direction, start and end points for conditioning work, can be used as smaller targets for accuracy drills and arte super lightweight and easy to pick up and move. Cones and markers come in a slightly different shapes but the most common types you’ll find are the following;
Goalie Rebounder: The first time I ever saw a rebounder being used was with two young goalkeepers. While most of the rebounders on this page here are primarily used for outfield players they can also be used to help develop the fundamentals of any goalkeeper’s game. To start out with however, I’d recommend one of the more handheld rebounders as the portable nature of the rebounder with give you more freedom. Here’s one that’s used across almost all sports that involve some sort of throwing and catching…
Soccer Goals: While any goalkeeper can certainly improve without the need for a soccer goal at some point you’re going to need some sort of goal to add realism and help develop fundamentals such as positioning.
You could for sure use the goal posts down your local park but they’re not the most portable – in fact, they’re not portable at all. One avenue I’d recommend would be purchasing some sort of portable soccer goal. I’ve gone into more detail here if you’re interested. That said, here’s one that’s durable, really popular and comes in different sizes
Conditioning Equipment: Being in the right condition isn’t just something outfield players have to constantly work on. It’s important that goalkeepers are not only physically fit to play the game but also have the necessary reflexes, reactions, power, agility and other necessary soccer specific skills too. Again, a lot of these types of skills can be learned without the need for any equipment, but at some point you’re going to want to progress the challenge, add variety or simply try something new. Here are a few pieces of equipment to help you…
- Agility Ladders
- Agility Ball
- Reaction balls
- Skipping Ropes
Overall, to wrap this up it’s important to remember that you don’t actually need much equipment to develop the skills needed to excel in arguably the most important position on the pitch.
But, as I mentioned above, it does help to have some equipment in your ‘arsenal’ to ensure drills are progressing not only in a developmental way but also in a way that keeps goalkeepers engaged and focused for longer.
It also worth mentioning again, that while most keepers don’t need the same level of physical conditioning that an outfielder may have – staying in top shape will help not only help them develop their all-round game but also help keep them focused and ready for when they need it most.
So with that said – what piece of equipment will your next purchase be?
All the best,