5 Goalkeeper Lessons on Being Kickass at Life

Learned from from my teenage goalkeeper.

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Don’t be afraid to dive.

When Ruby’s in the goal, she knows the one most important thing (the ball and keeping it out of her goal) and she literally throws her entire being — body and soul — at it. She isn’t afraid. If she was, she might hesitate and that hesitation is the thing that will hurt her. She trusts her instincts and her training in that moment and just goes for it.

Talk to your team.

Ruby stands at the edge of her penalty box and calls out — encouragement, direction, warnings. She’s the only player on her team that can see the whole game. It’s part of her job to lead the defense.

Practice matters.

There are a lot of things about being a keeper that don’t come naturally. It goes against human nature to put your body in front of a flying ball. Or to throw yourself at the ground. Or to lead a team. Or to make split second decisions about how to best respond to a shot against your goal.

It’s your competition that makes you better.

Here’s what happens if Ruby’s team is a lot stronger than the team they’re playing against in a game: the team wins, but Ruby stands in her goal not doing much of anything at all, beyond shouting encouragement.

Be Brave.

You can always tell the keeper’s mom at a kid’s soccer game. Everyone else is on the edge of their seat when the ball is near the goal. She’s covering her face with her hands and maybe whispering a prayer that her kid’s teeth don’t get kicked in when she throws herself under the trampling feet of a dozen soccer players.

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Learn. Write. Repeat. Visit me at ninjawriters.org. Reach me at shauntagrimes@gmail.com. (My posts may contain affiliate links!)

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