Tim Howard: How to improve communication with your defence

Stay positive when you bark at your defenders, says Colorado Rapids and USA goalkeeper, Tim Howard

“My defenders moan that I talk too much as a goalkeeper. How do you get the balance right?”
Martin Magrit, via Twitter

More after the break

Tim Howard says: 

“I’m very vocal, but it’s only worthwhile if you have respect. If you’re a guy the outfield players can’t stand and you’re chatting about goodness knows what, then yes, you can talk too much.

“I talk a lot, but I think most of it is relevant. The reason I know it is relevant is because I get positive reinforcement from the defenders, who will say ‘thanks for that shout’ or ‘great talking’.

“That gives you the confidence to think: ‘OK, I’m doing the right thing here’. As long as you stay positive with your players and you’re trying to be the eyes in the backs of their heads and a voice to help them with things they can’t see, then you can never talk too much.

“If you are always nagging at them and being negative with your words, then that can end up being detrimental.

“I’m non-stop the whole time, and over the years I’ve worked out ways to get my point across.

“It’s much easier to get a plan across at a set-piece, especially corners when you have the midfielders, wingers – most of the team – back in the box.”

The Keeper, by Tim Howard, is published in hardback and ebook by HarperCollins, priced £18.99

For more football tips see:
Tim Howard: Command the penalty box
Victor Valdes' guide to collecting crosses
Joe Hart's guide to all-round keeping excellence

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