This past Friday while I playing in goal for the first time for my men’s O40 soccer team I realized how profound and long lasting muscle memory is. Early in the game when it came time for me to make my first drop kick, I did a high arching, and not very long kick that reminded me very much of the “up and under” hospital kicks that I used to do as a full back for my Jr. High rugby team. When I tried to lower the elevation of my next drop kick, my timing was off and did a relatively short line drive to a member of the opposing team (one of the worst things a goalie can do when drop kicking the ball). I went back and for the rest of the evening executing beautiful up and under rugby kick, and failing miserably when trying to get more distance out of my kicks. Looks like I need to spend some time on the field with one or more of my kids practicing my “long” drop kicks.
The other aspect of goal keeping that felt very familiar to me was the diving after shots on net. I didn’t expect that to be something that would come easily to me, but once I was between the posts, and people started shooting at me, It reminded me an awful lot like defending against someone spiking a ball at you in a volleyball game. There are obvious differences, by much of the basic technique is similar. fortunately grabbing the ball or pushing it clear of the net is easier than trying to pop the ball up in the air for a volleyball setter.
In any case I’ll be happy to play in net as long as our regular goalie is out recuperating from an injury. Playing is net is less scary and a lot more fun than I thought it would be!