Trials can be a stressful time for any young football player, not least for goalkeepers. If your fortunate enough to be asked to trial for a club then that in and of itself is a fantastic achievement. The alternative is to attend an open trial, the majority of smaller league 2 / non-league clubs offer open trials every year for junior teams. This can be a great way to get into a club and a great starting base for your future. This is how my son joined Carshalton Athletic.

Attending an any trial is to potentially open yourself up for rejection, that is both player and parent. As a parent being told your child is not good enough is tough to hear.

So some of these might seem like common sense but they are worth thinking about:

  • Register and attend multiple open trials, do not just pin your hopes on one club.
  • Choose clubs at a variety of different levels.
  • Even if a club is not actively looking for a goalkeeper, unless told otherwise you have nothing to lose.
  • Arrive early to give yourself time to sign-in and mentally / physically prepare.

Goalkeeper Tips
These are some tips I discussed with my son, he found them useful and we hope you do too:

  • Warm up beforehand the same as you would for a match.
  • Listen carefully to all instructions your given and follow them.
  • Keep focused on the task at hand.
  • Never walk when called by a coach, always jog.
  • Learn the names of defenders and use them during practice games or drills.
  • Command your area and defenders.
  • Use your voice, give instructions and praise where it is needed. Never be too negative.
  • Mistakes happen, if you make a mistake don’t dwell on it. Being a goalkeeper is as much about how you recover from mistakes as it is about not making them.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Relax and have fun.

Parent Tips
I hated the trials that my boy attended, I found that he was quite calm and it was actually me that was getting stressed out. If he made a mistake or I thought he could have done better I would go on about it too much. That did not help my boy and is something that I regret. So these tips are from experience, and I should have taken my own advice

  • Relax, your child will know if your getting stressed and it could negatively impact them.
  • Coaches will not give you an immediate answer, they might seem uninterested during the trial but they will always be watching.
  • The club may not be looking for a goalkeeper, your child could be flawless and still not be successful.
  • Focus on the positives.
  • Look at other players including higher age groups. Determine if anyone stands out and the reasons why. This can form the basis of any training with your child.

So that’s it, the tips that both myself and my son can give with regards to open trials. all there is left to say is good luck!


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