Michael Theo's goalkeeping guide

Four-time A-League champion Michael Theo talks about the keys to being a good goalkeeper, from shot-stopping to dealing with crosses and staying vocal

Get balanced

“When it comes to shot-stopping you want to make sure you’re not moving. You want to be set.

More after the break

“When the striker is about to shoot you don’t want to be moving, otherwise you’ll be off balance. If you’re set, you can react to the ball accordingly.

“Angles is a big thing as well. You need to make sure you’re in a good position so you can cut off the near post and get to the far post balls as well.” 

One-on-ones are a mental game

“One-on-one situation is you against the striker, so it’s a mental game. You don’t want to make the decision for the striker. You want them to make a decision, so if you go down early, it’s easy for him to go around or tap the ball by your side.

“You want to stay as big as possible and wait for him to make the first move. If he takes a heavy touch that’s when you’re ready to pounce.

“You also want to make sure that you’re off your line, you don’t want to be on your line, because obviously the goal isbigger. Once you’re off it, it narrows down the angle.”

More mind games from the spot

“For me penalties come down to gut instinct. You’ve got to pick a side and go with it. It’s a mind game and as a goalkeeper you’re in a win-win situation. They are expected to score.

“It’s about staying big and delaying them as much as possible and playing those little mind games. Hopefully if you go with your gut, you pick the right side and can keep it out.” 

Decide early on crosses

“Crosses are probably one of the most difficult aspects of goalkeeping. You’re looking at the ball and there’s a lot of bodies in front of you. You’ve got to make a decision fairly early on whether you’re going to come or not. 

“If you do decide to come, you’ve got to go the whole way. You can’t go halfway, stop and think ‘oh no, I’m not going to get there’. That’s why it’s very important to make a decision early on whether or not you’re going to come. If not, you sit on your line and re-position yourself, so you’re set for any headers or knockdowns.”

You’ve got the best view in the house, so be vocal

“Voice is a very important aspect of goalkeeping. You’ve got the best view in the house, so if you can help your defenders out by letting them know someone’s free, then you’re playing a key role. 

“If you can help them out by letting them know where the opposition is and making sure everyone is switched on, it makes your job easier.

“All goalkeepers have to be loud and vocal. I know that I’m switched on in the game when I’m loud and speaking to my defenders, because that means I’m concentrating on what I’m doing.”

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