What to do with the goalie?

The start of the season can always be troublesome when it comes to finding a goalkeeper…. especially when the good ones are all in the same team having been so good last season that they all end up in the top group.

The bottom group in my Under 9s has no keeper… so what do you do? I find that if you rotate the keepers so all of them have a go in goal you soon get an idea of who is brave enough to be a keeper and who will find being in goal the worst thing that could happen to them.

You also need to get keepers warmed up no matter if they are the best keeper or one that is in goal for the first time.

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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