EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

8 sessions to help get your keeper ready for the new season

As you head into the new season, it’s vital that your goalkeepers are as well-prepared for the challenge ahead as the rest of your squad – keepers often make the difference between success and failure, especially in the early stages of the season when your tactics are taking time to bed in.

Remember that it’s very important that goalkeeper training is tailored to the age and ability of the players. Far too often coaches plan out their sessions without taking these factors into account.

Getting goalkeepers to dive safely and with confidence is key. The practice plan Coaching a goalkeeper to dive correctly is a great starting point for prepping young keepers. Believe me, diving stops lots of simple shots at all levels of the game!

Handling is another key factor in early season. Pre-season back to basics works on the technique for ball handling and shows some 1 to 1 sessions that will help your keeper get back into the groove after the summer break.

I swear by my EasiCoach goalkeeping sessions – try Stop the striker 1v1 (U11-U12 game). For saving skills try Stopping the ball (U7-U8 activity) and for skills with the feet try Footwork matters most (U11-U12 activity).

For older goalkeepers use the session Cover plus. This will get them thinking about positions on the pitch and covering behind the defence when they go missing.

For very experienced goalkeepers use Goalkeeper positions – it was written by Keith Boanas, the former Estonia women’s team head coach, for a team in Finland that was having trouble with the goalkeeper staying glued to her line.

Finally read Newcastle United head goalkeeping coach Simon Smith’s 6 ways to get your keeper sharp in pre-season on how to re-establish your goalkeeper’s sharpness for the coming season.

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