Columns Dušan Matić
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Why should modern goalkeeper have the characteristics of a player in the court?

Dusan Matic is a Professional Futsal Goalkeeper Coach, Assistant Coach, UEFA Futsal Instructor since 2015, Analyst and Consultant. Currently, he is the Goalkeeper Coach and Assistant Coach for the Finland Futsal Men’s National Team (2013 – present). So far, he’s trained hundreds of Goalkeepers and coaches and held many workshops, seminars, camps and webinars. With Finland National Team he was five times winner of Nordic Futsal Cup, one time of Baltic Futsal Cup and Futsal week.

He is an author of two books for futsal goalkeepers. His second book "Goalkeeper in Futsal" that will be in sale soon.

In his new column, Matić is writing about the importance for modern goalkeepers to have the characteristics of a player in the court.

Demand for goalkeepers to have the characteristics of a player in the court seems a bit illogical at first sight, giving the rules of the game and the fact that the goalkeeper has limited possession of the ball in his half of the court.

However, the limitation of ball possession of four seconds in their court is the reason why more and more coaches are trying to get the most out of it.

The involvement of the goalkeeper in situations such as getting out of pressing - or possession of the ball that allows a calm positional attack of the team - is becoming more and more emphasized in futsal matches.

Surely, for that kind of play and actions to be successful, your goalkeeper must have a characteristic of the player in the court. Of course, the goalkeeper can play also as a flying goalkeeper. In the situations when the team attacks with five players (power-play), it is much better to have a goalkeeper who can play as a player than to have a player who enters the game instead of the goalkeeper and then changes back when the opposite team comes into possession of the ball. The obvious reason for that is that your goalkeeper would already be in the court and ready to react without wasting time on the change.

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However, many pundits think that it is a matter of luck to have a goalkeeper of this quality (who can play like a player). Is that so, though? Of course not! If you want to have such a goalkeeper, you must give them opportunities and chances in training to practice elements of a player in the court. You should include him or her in the team’s game system as much as possible.

Besides, in addition to improving the goalkeeper’s playing qualities, you will get a goalkeeper who will understand the positions of the players in the court much better. And that will be of great use to him in his basic role of defending a goal.

Therefore, it would be highly beneficial for a young goalkeeper if they would include such a system of work and develop this technical element as soon as possible.

"If you want to have such a goalkeeper, you must give them opportunities and chances in training to practice elements of a player in the court".

The first goalkeeper who started using this type of play was Leo Higuita (naturalized Brazilian who plays for Kairat Almaty and Kazakhstan national team, editor’s note). Besides his great goalkeeping skills, he is recognizable primarily by his great game in the court. That characteristic of him is arguably most deserving for the success of his club Kairat, as well as the national team of Kazakhstan.

However, I would like to draw attention to one fact:

All of that would not have happened if he did not have a coach who believed in him and who was ready to allow him to play this way!

Therefore, in addition to certain qualitative characteristics of the goalkeeper himself, it is important to have a vision and courage of a coach who will recognize certain specifics of his goalkeepers and give them the opportunity to express themselves in the best possible way.

In order to achieve results, it is necessary to have freedom in making mistakes, because that is the only way to success.

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Dušan Matić


Dušan Matić


The article was written by Dušan Matić, Finland's national team goalkeeper coach, UEFA instructor and author of the book Goalkeeper in Futsal.