The puzzle of a successful floorball goalie


Us floorball goalies have a very simple task on the field - stop the ball and avoid goals. How to accomplish this is not relevant. An epic jump, or dive, stays in the mind of most of the players and visitors of the game and eventually you will find yourself on YouTube, if someone recorded it. However, these saves are rarely crowned with success. We believe that a successful floorball goalie needs less to no epic jumps but a good understanding of the game situation, preparation, positioning on time and readiness for the save. This last sentence already includes three skills that a successful floorball goalie needs:
  1. Ability to read game situations
  2. Technical skills to be in position
  3. Focus and concentration
A goalie who has the ability to anticipate game situations has more time to bring his body in position. This can lead to a frustrated striker, when he shoots repeatedly towards the goal with the opponent goalie being ahead of his moves and parrying his attacks. However, what additional skills do you need to become a successful goalie? In this post, we want to introduce the skills we believe are the most important ones. Dedicated exercises and training for each skill will follow.

Physiological and motoric skills



Physical fitness

Physical fitness usually rarely is the focus of any floorball goalie training. Nevertheless, it is the foundation of all actions from a floorball goalie. Untrained floorball goalies can have good single saves but fit and trained ones provide more continuous results for a team. This empowers each team and will grow a team’s confidence. Overall, a good physical fitness helps you to concentrate longer. You could create the formula:
Physical fitness => Concentration
We recommend a physical training plan that includes cardio training, speed, jumping power and strength training.


Physical speed

The physical speed is the total interval time to act from the first stimulus to the executed reaction. We from between-the-posts.com classify it into five different parts, which are the following:
  1. Reaction Time
  2. Preparation speed
  3. Movement speed
  4. (Sprint speed)
  5. Deceleration
To illustrate the complete procedure of the physical speed, imagine the following: a field player with ball who is in midfield close to the boards (right side goalie view) and indicates a shot. The goalie realises a shot is about to emerge and increases the depth and goes into the initial sideway position (link). However, the striker passes a strong diagonal towards another field player and thus creates a new game situation where the goalie is not in position. The ball movement takes a few milliseconds, in which you as goalie must identify and react to the situation. This part of the physical speed is defined as Reaction time and can be explained as the interval time between the stimulus (identify) and the muscular response (reaction) to that stimulus [1]. Before the pass reaches the second field player, the goalie needs to reposition himself as fast as possible. A simple one hand slide move (link) does not cover the needed distance, therefore he needs to use a technique that covers more distance. To cover enough space he could do a push-over-the-knee movement (link) and bring himself in position for the new situation. This is what we call preparation speed. Once he is in preposition, he moves into the new target position. The movement speed relates to acyclic movements (movements with stops, direction and speed changes). The foundation of this movement speed depends on the movement technique and the preposition. If he has no beneficial preposition, he can slip off and not keep the goal. Nevertheless, a too strong push can lead him to move further than the target position, if he is not able to actively slow down his movement speed. This part of the actual movement and the physical speed is what we call deceleration. When you push your arch of the foot into the floor, you can actively support the friction on the floor to slow down.
The sprint speed is not included in this typical movement pattern. Instead, it is used when you run out of the slot to defuse the situation with a kick or to switch for a 6th field player in your team. We define this part of the physical speed as the maximum speed that you can run to achieve a distance within the shortest time.
All five types of the physical speed should be trained and developed. This way you improve your speed, your physical reaction time and you are thus better able to keep your goal clean. When you identify your potential and train them, your weaknesses will melt away and you will create more time to be in position.


Coordination

Coordination is the foundation of every human movement and is responsible for the learning, adaption and controlling of movements. The coordination training leads to a targeted use of movement, speed, strength and physical fitness as well as other conditional and motoric skills of the body. A definition of coordination can be the ability to move two or more parts of the body under efficient control. A coordinated goalkeeper, with a solid technical base can adapt quicker to the situation ahead of him and use the optimal technique required for that certain situation.
Coordination is a broad term and people wrote entire books about it. We just want to give you a short list of the different coordination skills and its definition. Meinel and Schnabel define seven different parts of coordination which are the following:
  1. Reaction - time interval between the stimulus (identify) and the muscular response (reaction) to that stimulus [1]
  2. Differentiation – reaching a high fine tuning of single movements and part-body movements which leads to a high accuracy-and-economy movement. Most of us knows it under the synonym “hand-eye-coordination”
  3. Balance – keep the body in balance and reach a balanced situation after a movement
  4. Rhythm – identify an external or chronologically dynamic movement pattern, capture it and motoric realize it
  5. Multitasking – coordinate part-body movements and single movements spatially, temporally and dynamically to reach a targeted smooth entire movement
  6. Adaption – ability to adapt or change a movement because of a change of situation
  7. Orientation – Structuring of the movement space, position and the movement of the body on the field. A floorball goalie with a good orientation has the ability to determine his position and movement of his body on the field and can adapt it conductively to new game situations.
In general, you automatically train your coordination in every exercise. However, some of the listed parts more and other parts less. Identify your potential and improve your weaknesses.


Flexibility and mobility

There’s more to fitness than just pure strength – flexibility and mobility matter too. While colloquially, “flexibility” and “mobility” may sound the same, they are different concepts with important impacts on your fitness. Women's Health's digital editor Amy Hopkinson defines them as the following:
  • Flexibility is a muscle’s ability to elongate (passively)
  • Mobility is the ability of a joint or to actively move through a range of motion
In other words, flexibility is a part of mobility. A floorball goalie with a good mobility has well harmonised movement patterns that allow him to adapt movements and increase the movement speed. Furthermore, a good mobility helps to
  • Reduce your risk of injury
  • Correct muscle imbalances caused by muscle tightness
  • Decrease pain in your joints by releasing muscle knots in muscles attached to joints
  • Release tension in your body caused by stress

Cognitive skills



Anticipation

The sports scientists Arturo Hotz defines anticipation like the following: “Anticipation is nothing else than the targeted mental outlook of something future … the more differentiated our view is, so much the better we can be prepared for the future.” In other words for goalkeepers: Anticipation is a higher cognitive process, which is necessary for goalkeepers to parry shots under time pressure. There are game situations where the shots are that fast and close to the goal that it is impossible to react after the player shot. In our opinion, anticipation is a skill that can be trained and helps a goalkeeper a lot to save balls where scanning and reacting alone would not lead to success.
Furthermore, a floorball goalie can anticipate the game and decide if his team needs a calm down of the game or a fast counter attack.


Decision making

We define Decision Making as the mental process of selecting a logical choice from the available options. During rational decision making, a person weighs the positives and negatives of each option and compares the alternatives. For effective decision making, a person must be able to forecast the outcome of each option and only then determine which option is the best for that particular situation. [2] The floorball goalie only has milliseconds to decide what he goes for.
As a wrong decision of a goalkeeper in most cases leads to a goal, the floorball goalie has a lot of pressure to take the right decisions during a game. Our advice is to believe in your decision and be confident. Field players realise the difference between a goalie who believes in his movements and a goalie who is uncertain.


Intuitive handling

Intuition is our sixth sense and an important advisor in our life. Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind and also between instinct and reason. Intuition is based on experience and a creative process that searches for repeating patterns to find a sound decision. Intuitive people are people who learned to listen to their body and believe their gut feeling. In contrast to rational thinking, the decision making is faster and considers quantifiable information in addition. However, intuition has the disadvantage that it does not identify errors in the assessment.
Intuition is a skill that allows a floorball goalie to react faster in certain game situation. As intuitive decision-making is based on experience, it is advisable to train certain counter attacks multiple times. The floorball goalie will internalize the situation and the behaviour of stickers whereby the goalie make quick decisions. Even the US military forces train to make quick decisions in combat situations and started a research about the power of intuition (link). A success floorball goalie with a lot of experience has a very good intuitive handling and knows when he should believe in his gut feeling instead of a correct technique movement. Analyse your goal tending and look how often you do intuitive handlings.


Scanning

Scanning defines two things in our opinions:
  1. Scanning of the field to be prepared for possible passes and ensuing shots. The greatest danger is not always the player with the ball. It is important to scan the field to identify possible shooters. A very good example is a game situation where a player with ball is behind the goal and passes it into the slot. You as a floorball goalie should face your body towards the field while still focusing the player behind the goal. However, you should spend short periods to scan the slot to be prepared.
  2. Analysing your opponents by checking the following patterns:
    • Which player is the individual dribbler and likes to do solo walks with a final shot?
    • Which player does many passes and tries to manage the game from the back?
    • Does a player have a certain property before he shoots?
Collect information about your opponents during a game and benefit from them.


Timing

Timing is the temporal punctuality towards a spatial point. In other words, it is the ability to be on the right time with optimal speed at the right place. Floorball goalies with the right timing use their body surface to increase their cover ratio at the right time. When the goalie realizes that a striker is shooting, the goalie increases the depth. If the floorball goalie increases the depth too early, he gives the striker the possibility to pass the ball because he is not in the perfect shooting position anymore. Thus, the floorball goalie is off the goal and has to adapt his repositioning with a longer movement.

Emotions



Concentration

Concentration is the mental success component in a competition. The skill to be fully concentrated is a mental strength. To be concentrated describes the ability to be fully focused on a target. The power of concentration affects outer senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting) as well as the inner sense (sense of balance and movement). The concentration depends on the actual mood, physical and mental conditions, the surrounding area and the personal interest and motivation. A floorball goalie has to maintain his concentration and focus all the time. Sometimes he will be extremely busy throughout the game whereas during other games, he may barely touch the ball for 59 minutes and only make the game winning saves in the dying last seconds!
The website keeperportal.co interviewed some football goalies and asked them how they keep up the concentration in a game. The most popular answer was related to communication: Even if the goalie does not touch the ball for a long period, he is part of the game by constantly keeping up the communication with his team and thus ensures his focus on the game. Another method is to break the game down to smaller segments. It is up to the goalie which interval he sets. The goalie intends to reach a certain target in that period. This helps to keep up the concentration, as the goalie has foreseeable periods which allows the goalie a mentally “reset” if he concede a goal.
We know that every goalie has its own way to stay focused but it is never wrong to try something new. Who knows, maybe it works also for you. If you want to train your power of concentration also off the field, we recommend you to do Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong or Taijiquan. It trains your flexibility too. Famous athletes like Tiger Woods do Yoga to train and improve their power of concentration.


Motivation and will

Will can move mountains… your doubt can create them. A very simple proverb that should remind us that we can increase our performance solely by having faith in ourselves. The strong will to save a ball can lead to incredible saves. Have faith in your skills and do not underestimate the striker at the same time.
Besides the will, it is important to be motivated too. Starting motivated into the training or a game can create big success. If you are motivated to learn a new technique, be concentrated and patient, study the movement and enhance the technique week by week. It is impossible to internalize and harmonise a new technique within only one week.


Confidence

“Goalie with confidence”. It is a slogan that the floorball label Blindsave uses and it takes the word confidence purposely. They know that a floorball goalie with faith in himself has a unique aura on the field and can decide games.
Confidence is shown by body language. The body language is the reflection of the inner life. Happiness, stress, depression, sadness, frustration or motivation, your inner feeling are reflected in your body language. This means your body signals your uncertainty, authority or confidence. People on the field notice your emotional state. When you have faith in yourself and you catch or block the first shots from an opponent, he can get frustrated and leaves out additional shots. In contrast, when you are floorball goalie with self-doubt, you motivate the opponent to additional shots as you emit uncertainty.

Social aspect



Communication

A floorball goalie with physiological and motoric skills can keep a team in the game but if the goalie has the ability to communicate with his team and especially the defence line, he can decide the game. A floorball goalie should not coach his defenders. It is simply not the task of a goalie. The defence line should know how to do a compact shift without any gaps. However, if the opponents break through the defence line or an opponent is uncovered in a danger position, the floorball goalie gives instructions to his defenders to optimise the position of him to minimize the chance of a goal. An example could be that a striker shots from the edge of the slot and the floorball goalie gives one defender the instruction to block the long post so that he can focuses on the short post. Therefore, they optimise the cover ratio of the goal in team and minimize the chance of a goal. It is important that the instructions are short and precise. There is not much time on the field to explain your team mate what they have to do. Define signal words, explain and train them during your training so that it works on the field. Make sure that your team mates know what your calls mean! And last but not least, if you are calling a specific player, always mention him in the call.

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