Cyril Dumoulin

Maalivahtisarjan ensimmäinen kansainvälinen vieras on Qatarin MM-kisoihin valmistautuva Ranskan maajoukkuemaalivahti Cyril Dumoulin. (Artikkelin kieli tästä eteenpäin englanti)

Cyril Dumoulin

Cyril Dumoulin

Born: 1984
199 cm / 105 kg

Current club:
Fenix Toulouse Handball

Previous clubs:
Chambéry Savoie Handball

French national team: European Champion 2014

After 10 years of football Cyril started to play handball in his school team as a goalkeeper. In 1998, he got into Chambéry “Pôle Espoir” and signed a contract with the training center. He played his first league game in 2003 and signed a professional contract with Chambéry the same year. In 2011-2012, he was awarded as best goalkeeper of the league.

In national team Cyril has been for a long time in the third position behind the couple Omeyer-Karaboué. In Denmark this year 2014 (Karaboué is now retired) he finally got the chance to participate in his first international competition and he won his first international title. He has been very active in the final victory as he participated in every match of the competition.

This year has been full of changes for you (European champion and he changed club after 14 years in the same club), how is life going in Toulouse?
It is going well thank you but of course it takes time to adapt to the new team and teammates. But it was a very good choice; I needed to put myself in danger and to change my routine in order to work on my game. Concerning the European Championship, it could not have gone better; it was a great human adventure. It was my first international competition and it is so far the best souvenir of my career, I had waited for 5 years to get my chance in this team and I can say that it was worth it!

Can you tell us about the main qualities of a high level goalkeeper?
We can classify in my opinion in three big groups: psychological, technical/tactical and physical. When you arrive to the top level, all the goalkeepers are good on technical/tactical and physical side. The difference between a good goalkeeper and a high-class goalkeeper is in the psychological side. This will give the chance to handle the pressure and keep your confidence in yourself and in your capacities. You can’t ask yourself too much questions otherwise you are playing in reaction and not in action, so you need confidence in your skills.

How would you classify yourself as a goalkeeper?
Well I consider that there are 2 types of goalkeepers:

  • The readers: They work a lot with the blocks of their defense and will only take care of one part of the goal. The best example would be Sterbik.
  • The instinct goalkeeper: These ones don’t move too much, they have great reflex and play more with their instinct. A great example is Omeyer.

I would consider myself more as a reader.

Is there a typical “French culture” concerning the goalkeepers?
I don’t think so; I think the French school is to develop each goalkeeper depending on his strength and not to have a special profile. We don’t have a stereotype like some culture can have (for example ex-Yugoslavian school or Swedish school).

If you take the national team, we are glad to have 4 high-class goalkeepers with totally different profiles.
So I would say our strength is in the diversity.


This specific position is also special in the trainings, how much do you participate in exercises with the players?
I usually play all the warming up games with the players. But after that, we have already a different end of warming up: Passing repetitions are different, specific goalkeepers side moves and a lot of stretching. After the shooting time, we have more free time for ourselves. Nowadays most of the coaches like to work on one goal so we use our free time to do some specific goalkeeper exercises.

Have you always had a special coach for goalkeepers?
No, and even at the moment I don’t have a goalkeeper coach neither in my club nor in national team. Unfortunately the clubs don’t have the budget for a special coach for goalkeeper. I think it is very important to work on this, and to have someone who can help us especially as we mentioned before we have lot of free time and not so easy to think of a lot of different exercises by ourselves. But in top level this goalkeeper coach must be an old goalkeeper, as it has to be someone who really understands this position.

Before the match

How do you prepare your matches?
I work a lot with videos. I usually do 2-3 times 30-45 minutes of video before a match. I identify the players, their shooting skills and their shooting habits. Of course this only gives me indications.

Do you have the same cooperation with the defense in Chambéry, Toulouse or national team?
It is quite similar, there are universal rules concerning the cooperation with the defense. After, the differences in-between the teams are in the timing and the type of blocks the players are used and able to do. This has been the main problem for me since I changed club.

What kind of spirit do you have before getting on the field?
I try to be relaxed. When I was younger I had in mind that I would do 20-25 saves in the game, but that was destroying my game. So now, I step on the field with the trust in my skills and my knowledge.

Is there a different way to prepare yourself if you are on the starting squad or if you start on the bench?
The intensity I put in my warming up is usually different. I work harder when I know I will start on the bench as that keeps me warm longer. If I know that I start I don’t want to burn too much energy in the warming up.

My strategy is changing, as nowadays the coaches’ trend is to give the name of the starting goalkeeper at the last minute. In the mental side it is the same spirit if I start on the bench or on the field.

During the match

Can you explain the collaboration between the two goalkeepers during a match?
It is a strange cooperation as you are a member of a pair but you pretend to play as much as possible. As mentioned before we are quite alone in our position so we need to have this good cooperation to be competitive as a team. We discuss about what we saw on the video and about the players habits. The communication is only possible if the two goalkeepers are both cooperation minded.

The 7m shot is a special moment for a goalkeeper, can you describe it? What about when you just get on the field to try to save the 7m?
7m shot is a particular for us. The shooter is in the best condition: he decides the timing of the shot, he has no defense player touching him and he is 7m away from our goal line. I consider 7m as a western duel.

There are 2 possibilities to act on a 7m: try to trick the shooter using his favorites targets or bringing him where we want (this is like poker).

Sometimes we change the goalkeepers during the 7m to destabilize the shooter or sometimes it is to keep the confidence of the goalkeeper, which was in success on the field.

By the way talking about changing goalkeeper during a 7m , can you tell us more about what happen in semi final against Spain?

This was not planned, I go on the field to save the 7m and then straight away Abalo scores a fast attack. Then, Spain also played fast so I didn’t get time to go out to let Thierry Omeyer back to the field. I stayed and I made the save on Maqueda. Then Claude Onesta realized that I was on a good day and I could be a real plus to the team.

What is going on in your head when the opponent just scored an “easy” goal against you?
Frustration, now I have played for a long time and I took a lot of these “easy goals”. With time you learn to get over it and it is just 1 more point on the scoring screen for the opponent, and as a goalkeeper you know that you will get more goals than you will make saves. So you just continue your game and you don’t think too much about this goal. The mistake is to think too much about it and to try too hard to save a goal, that doesn’t bring you anywhere.

What is the attitude to have with a teammate who is not having a good match in defense?
I try to make him understand that he made a huge mistake but at top level usually you don’t need to put more anger on your team mate, the player himself knows that he has done wrong. Because he probably has the same frustration as I have on an “easy goal”. Usually I go to talk to him and try to find a solution with him, for example for a number 2 defense player on a 0-6 defense I can tell the player to make sure that his opponent doesn’t win inside and I talk with the number 1 to discuss what we do on the 2vs1.

The position of goalkeeper leads to get shots in several parts of the body, what is the feeling after a headshot?
This headshot is different if it happens in the training or in the match. During training I get angrier but with an apology of my teammate I get easily over it. In a match I refuse to show that this headshot hurt me or that it has affected me.

All-time best goalkeeper?

Thierry Omeyer

If you had one technical and one mental tip for a new goalkeeper who is starting in this position, what would it be?

The basic position, I see too many goalkeepers with straight legs, arms in the back. of the line of the body. Then in the mental side: Start to play a game with the shooters, do not put too much pressure on yourself and have fun!

Thanks Cyril. I wish you a good season with Fenix Toulouse Handball and I hope to see you in Qatar for the World Championship in January!
Thank you Thomas and I also hope to see myself in Qatar!

Thomas Hivert

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