Tailored Performance Training
THE GOALKEEPER'S EVOLUTION
Strength & Conditioning must develop according to the continuous evolution of specific sports. What's revolutionary today should become obsolete tomorrow. It seems to be the "curse" of science. Every day, the performance standards for professional athletes are more and more demanding. By only checking the progression of the olympic and world records through history, you might think "Duh, Will, tell us something that we don't know already".
In other words, if "Time Machines" were a real option, it would be interesting to bring one Personal Trainer from the past, lets say 25 years back, to present time. I would bet my left hand to state that such time voyager wouldn't stand a chance against most decent today's professionals, due to yesterday's lack of scientific resources and specialised methodology to design programs according to particular demands of the sport -or physiological, neuromuscular and biomechanical needs of the athlete-.
For instance, lets use Football as an example. Or soccer, for those who are not familiar with the real football, the one that is actually played with the feet. Ahem! (*clearing my throat*) The goalkeeper position was normally assigned to the less talented player (usually the fattest kid of the block or the less skilled). Even at professional level, if you see the videos from World Cups from the 60's or 70's, you can see how the the "vintage" goalkeepers used to stand on the goal line, like bolted to the grass -the whole time- and his duties were limited to fly post to post to stop the shots from the opposite side. Today, the things are pretty different, indeed.
The modern goalkeeper must be able to use his feet -not only the hands- and qualified enough to move around the penalty box when required. Anyway, the goalkeeper is not there to avoid goals only. Today's goalies are also field players. In fact, at professional level, any modern team has a specialised Goalkeeper Coach, usually an experienced and former goalkeeper formally educated and who has the mission to pass all the secrets of his profession to the new generations.
On a personal note -for the sake of helping to put things in perspective-, i want to share a real story from my childhood. It happened during mid 70's, when the elite football stars weren't as well paid but, instead, they were still able to walk around without being so mobbed like today, thanks to zero internet, globalised Mass and Social Media and/or predators telling you "i gotcha" with a simple smart phone's click. Light years from all of that.
Anyway, my dad used to be a very close friend with some of the professional players of my favourite team, Santa Fe, in Colombia. I remember, before the games, the goalkeeper used to have a chat with my dad, telling jokes and mucking around to kills the nerves, while waiting for the kick-off.
Well, in one occasion, almost at the end of the season, they were chatting as usual, having some coffee in one of the corridors, playing cards and, wait for this, smoking cigarettes! Suddenly, the Club Manager showed up from nowhere, looking for the goalkeeper who, timely alerted by my dad, hid his cigarette into his tracksuit pants. Yes, ouch!.
Then, the goalie and the Club Manager left the scene to start the warm-up for that Finals-Match-Decider. My dad dad just winked at me, like trying to hose down the incident. However, i just kept that memory as one of my most "treasurable" displays of unprofessionalism.
In today's standards, that story would never happen at elite level. For instance, have a look the kind of specific training required by a professional goalkeeper. It is a video loaded by Costa Rica's National team goalkeeper, Keylor Navas in February 2014, when he used to play for Levante, a Spanish League's modest team, before his spectacular performance in the World Cup that propelled his contract with the giant Real Madrid, allegedly the most powerful football club in the world. The perfect fit for Keylor Navas who is currently, in my humble opinion, the best goalkeeper in the world
Press here to see the video. Otherwise, copy and paste this link:
Thanks for reading.