What every youth team needs…

…is a good goalkeeper.

Goalkeepers have become such a focal point on the game that it is important you don’t neglect their training. I’ve got goalkeeper coaches at my club but I often work extra sessions with them to get them up to speed on the tactics I will be using during matches.

Your players will see a lot of goalkeepers using their feet and passing short during games on TV. This will help you to get across to them that you want them involved in passing moves out of the back. But that is not the only thing you need to work on.

Physical exercise and work on the core should be accompanied by training drills that will replicate situations your keepers are likely to face in a game. Below you will find practices that you can use to help work on the positioning of your stoppers – this positioning will help narrow the angles for a striker when he is attempting to score and give your goalkeeper an advantage, both in one-on-one situations and in dealing with general shots.

Getting your goalkeepers to get their positioning spot-on will require lots of work, as it isn’t a skill that always comes naturally. As goalies like Liverpool’s Alisson regularly demonstrate, you constantly need to move and adjust positioning to command your penalty area, make saves and claim crosses.

Correct positioning is fundamental to success for your keepers and it relies on instinct and no shortage of practice.

Top tips to improve your goalkeeper’s positioning

Improve your keeper’s fortunes by using exercises that focus on their positioning…
>Work with your keepers on crosses and agree on sections of the penalty area where they should and shouldn’t come to claim the ball. For example, when dealing with corners, keepers may not want to come too far into ‘traffic’, as this will decrease their chances of getting a clean connection with the ball.

>Short sprinting exercises are good for occasions when your keepers will need to race out of their goal in a 1v1 situation to narrow the shooting angles of an oncoming forward.

>As a coach, you can observe your keeper’s movement from behind the goal to give you a better perspective of elements of their positioning that can be improved.

Goalie wars is a great training game that not only teaches goalkeepers how to come for the ball, but it helps them learn when to distribute the ball quickly to start a counterattack. When keepers catch the ball they can distribute quickly and set up a counterattack. This session has keepers on their toes trying to catch crosses, distribute quickly and save shots.

One of the hardest shots to save are those from angles that the goalkeeper has to turn away while making sure the ball goes out of play – away from lurking strikers. Dealing with angles is a great test of a goalkeeper’s positioning and their ability to get down to low shots.

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