EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Help! My goalkeeper is glued to his line

QUESTION With the new season approaching how can I make sure my goalkeeper comes out for the ball more? Last season he stuck so solidly to his line, it’s almost as if his feet were glued there

ANSWER There is a common problem when it comes to youth goalkeepers, who often fall into one of two categories. You’ll get the keeper who plays for a weak side, who will spend match days desperately trying to fend off the attentions of opposition strikers.

Although this type of keeper may not want posted on Facebook how many goals he conceded in his last game, he is at least constantly involved and learning.

What’s more, the pressure is off because the expectations of his performance, and that of the team, are pretty low.

Compare that to the keeper whose side sweep away all before them, and it can be a lonely existence at the back with very little to keep him occupied.

Goalkeeper stuck to lineWhen the ball does come his way, he usually takes the safest option, not wanting to spoil his copybook by taking any risks. And often – although not always – these are the keepers who end up holding back. Countering the desire to ‘play it safe’ is difficult, but there are a few things you can do.

The first is to ensure the keeper becomes more involved, so you must condition the defenders to pass the ball back to him.

Also tell your stopper that he should not retreat back past his six-yard line unless an opposition player enters the penalty area. Indeed, get the keeper acting as a sweeper to clear up balls both inside and outside of the box, and remind him that when in his penalty area, he has a key advantage over any outfield player – the ability to use his hands.

Keepers of all standards need timely confidence boosts. When they get one, and with the right coaching, you’ll see them progress quickly and positively.

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