The position of goalkeeper is a hard one to fill for many youth soccer coaches. It often seems as though every player wants to be a striker. Or a defender. Anything but the ‘goalie. Why is that? And what can we do about it? MORE
4 Top Tips For Goalkeepers
It’s not always easy to include the goalkeeper in your team tactics but if you follow these four steps you can create a goalkeeper to enhance your team.
The idea of having the goalkeeper push up to the edge of the penalty area or even the halfway line when their team is attacking is not new or particularly unusual.
Futsal goalkeepers routinely move out their goal area to give their team a numerical advantage and a regular football team goalkeeper often takes free kicks in his own half of the field. Goalkeeping goalies can even be seen in the opposition penalty area when their team has a corner, but only when their team is losing by the odd goal and time is running out.
Why do football goalkeepers leave it so late to move upfield? Because it’s a risky strategy, that’s why.
There is always a chance the goalkeeper won’t be able to get back to her goal in time to protect it if her team loses possession. Even more embarrassing, an alert opposition player with a strong shot could score in an unguarded goal from 30, 40 or even 50 yards away.
But pushing your goalkeeper up out of her penalty area to support an attack is a tactic that can pay off, especially if she is athletic and has an outfield player’s skill set: a good first touch, good “vision” and the ability to find team mates with an accurate pass.
A goalkeeper’s “job description” includes organising the defence at set pieces and coming off her line to claim possession of the ball wherever possible.
To do that, your goalkeeper has to be vocal. A quiet call of “keeper’s” is no good. As soon as the decision is made to come for the ball, you should hear a loud shout of “KEEPER’S”.
When defenders hear this, they know the goalkeeper is coming and they should get out of the way. Conversely, a loud shout of “AWAY” means the goalkeeper is not coming and defenders should deal with the situation.
At set pieces, your goalkeeper should give strong, specific instructions to the rest of the team. A vague shout of “mark up” is unhelpful. “Joe, mark the number 10” is much better.
Defenders should be taught to listen for and obey instructions issued by the goalkeeper and to let her know that they have heard them. A simple wave of the hand or “OK” allows the goalkeeper to quickly move on to organising the rest of the defence.
When she stops a shot or collects a loose ball, your goalkeeper should immediately try to give her team an advantage with a quick, effective clearance.
She should first look for a team mate in space and within range of a roll or throw out. If there is no one available nearby, your goalkeeper should look upfield to see if any of her team mates are in a “numbers up” situation.
If they are, she should try to kick the ball to them without delay. If a quick roll, throw or kick is not on, your goalkeeper should wait until her team mates have moved to better positions before releasing the ball.
Know the rules
Goalkeepers and goalkeeper coaches need to know all the laws of the game but they need to be particularly familiar with those laws that relate directly to goalkeeping.
Note: check out FIFA.com, the game’s governing body, for the Laws of the Game. Your local league’s rules may be different. If in doubt, ask your league for clarification.