Pre-season with your goalkeeper

I’ve been worried since matches stopped being played back in March… I knew the player I had picked out to be the goalkeeper for this season was leaving. So I’ve made it my target as soon as we got back to training to get hold of a keeper… and I have found a great one. It can easily be overlooked when you are the manager of the team unless you have a plan worked out for pre-season that includes your goalkeeper.

It makes a big difference to the start of the season if you have a goalkeeper ready to play matches and one that can help stop giving away silly early goals. They need to be ready to dive, to catch, to deflect… in fact anything to stop the ball going in the net! Confidence is a big one for goalkeepers – you can listen to my podcasts on coaching the goalkeeper Touchline Tales: Goalkeepers and Coaching the goalkeeper

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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