Tools of Keeping

Distribution is part of the Keeper's Tool Chest

In the earlier post on Tools in Soccer keepers were ignored. Keepers are kind of like left-handed pitchers, they are just different. The tools in their chest are used to accomplish different taksts. But I think I have something that can work. Two stay the same, although one is similar more in just name.

Oddly, thanks to Graham at WAGNH, I just saw read this post by David James about Distribution. Not so oddly, it was already in our tool chest for keepers. As a tiny preview we gave Kasey Keller a 7.5 average and Terry Boss a 5.5.

Technical Ability - With outfield players this would talk about footwork, and passing. Here it is about catching the ball, or punching, or blocking. It is also about proper positioning.

Leadership - Simply the ability to command the defense, whether during run of play, or during set-plays.

Distribution - This is what James was talking about. Can the keeper upon making the save, or starting from the goal kick start the attack?

Reactions - For outfield players every portion of pure athleticism was in a single tool. But the life of the keeper is one that is about reactions - both mental and physical.

Physique - Height, strength, speed and how the keeper uses their physical traits to their advantage. Just being fast, strong, and tall isn't enough.

So, quite soon, we'll roll out the player profiles/2010 recaps. Each one will be a little more insight into what the authors here see as the strengths and weaknesses as displayed by every 2010 Sounder. And, as these tools become familiar we can start to look at Academy players, Draftees, Reservists and more for 2011.

To quote the James column linked earlier

It strikes me that there is a lot of complacency in our industry. It is worrying and frustrating. Think how much better football could be if players worked on these basic skills? When you watch golf and Tiger Woods hits the ball the commentators freeze‑frame the movement and analyse everything about his technique, in football they show a highlight and some guy goes: "Yeah, and he hit it with the outside of his foot." Maybe I'm an anorak but I think in using that level of detail we could produce far more players who are truly outstanding.

And that's part of what's going on here. While heart and emotion are certainly important, they do not override skill. And while skill is certainly special it is made up of proper decision making, proper technique.

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