It might look easy, but goalkeeping is one of the hardest roles in a soccer team. A good goalkeeper is the last line of defense for his team, as well as an important part of its leadership. When you put on your goalkeeping gear, your objective is more than just to save goals. It is to help your team outwit and outplay the opposition.

Here are some tips and tricks to become an effective goalkeeper:

Ball control – Develop your kicking and throwing skills. You will need to get your timing right to ensure smart ball distribution. This will get your teammates the ball at the right time and the right place to counter-attack.

Aggressive defense – Stay alerted to any moves by the opposition. Do not be afraid to get aggressive. Pick the right time and charge your opponent as he approaches. Establish a mental line that you do not want a pass to cross and tackle an approaching ball.

One on one – Often your opponent will get past your team’s defenses. When they do first narrow down the angles at which they can score. Raise your hands and do whatever you can to confound the approaching player before you charge.

Safety – Do not prioritize defense over your safety. As a key member of the team, going out due to injury can cause more damage than holding back. Also, use the best gear possible to prevent damage to your fingers and hands. According to Soccer Garage, Reusch gloves revolutionized the industry with their Ortho-Tec gloves featuring finger savers that minimize finger injuries and breaks. This is the kind of technology every goalkeeper should use.