We had a great question submitted by Nicole the other day for another Question Bin response!
Question: What [do you] say to instruct your defense?
Answer: This is an awesome question, because often times there is a lot of pressure on the goalie to communicate to the defense about what went wrong, but it is something rarely taught in terms of how to get the most out of your communication.
After a goal is scored, the first thing you want to do is call in everyone. Sounds basic, but in the heat of the game, the midfielders are often excited to get back to avenge the goal, the defenders are matching up again, subs are happening, etc. So call everyone in, make sure that they know that you want them to be a part of it. Defense is a unit, comprising of everyone on the end, not just solely the defenders and/or goalie.
-Once you have everyone in, replay out loud what just happened. For example: “#X dodged hard from the top right, we had a good slide from [insert name] but then #XX backdoored us from the left somewhere.” As a goalie, 90% of the time you will have the best vantage point as to what happened. It’s important to do this simple step because often times field players are in the heat of the moment and can’t see the whole play develop.
–Acknowledge things your defense did right. Reiterate, “Hey, that was a great slide [inserted name]” but then make a game plan as to how you’ll correct what went wrong. Don’t make it about one person, make it about the whole unit. For instance, suggest that next time you need to do a better job of communicating the 2-slide and it would be awesome if someone could also push the correct person to go as well.
-Last, own up to any mistakes. No one likes to play great defense only to let a soft goal go in. If they know that you recognize it, they’ll be more inclined to keep working for you.
Finally… chuck it in the bucket and move on! Neither you, nor anyone on the field can take the goal back so encourage everyone to get the next one (including yourself!). It’s also worth mentioning that not every goal needs to be discussed ad nauseum. If you sense that there is a disconnect, bring everyone in. But if someone owns to a simple mistake or you know you should have saved it, own it and move forward. Sometimes it’s best just to encourage getting the next one than over analyzing.