Keeper keeps it

One of the hardest things in playing out from the back is to keep the ball away from attackers. It takes patience and the ability to move the ball to create space. This is where the keeper becomes a vital member of the passing team, using his feet when receiving a back pass.

Set up

Set up a 15×15-yard area. On two ends of the square, place about four spare balls. We’ve used ten players.

How to play it

Play a 2v2 in the square with two keepers opposite each other outside it. The objective is for the keepers to develop confidence in using their feet to support team-mates to retain possession in the defensive third of the pitch. As the activity progresses, pressure is applied to the goalkeepers.
A keeper starts with a pass to one of the teams in the square. Points are awarded if a team completes five consecutive passes.


Keepers are frequently required to use their feet and keep the flow and pace of attack constant. Limiting keepers to two touches adds pressure and requires keepers to play quickly.

Keeper passing

    1. A goalkeeper starts the activity and both keepers play for the team in possession. At first the keepers are not pressured
    2. Goalkeepers are encouraged to use at least two touches. If they cannot find an open field player, they can pass to each other

    3. To progress the activity, two wide outfield players are added, one on either side of the square. The wide players also play for the team in possession
    4. The goalkeepers are now limited to just two touches and must continually adjust their supporting position and be thinking of the next pass

Possession passing

    5. The area is reduced to a 10×15-yard rectangle. This adjustment adds pressure on the goalkeeper and players in possession of the ball. An extra player is also added to each team, reducing space and time
    6. Goalkeepers are encouraged to use two touches, but on occasion one touch may be more appropriate
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