Category Archives: Positioning

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Retreat to your goal when you call away

I just watched highlights of the NYCFC v Chicago Fire game and saw an example of why you have to retreat to your goal line upon calling “Away”.

Like all good goalkeepers, Josh Saunders’ original thought is to claim the cross. Upon assessing the flight of the ball, he elects to call “Away” and gives responsibility to his defenders.

Goalkeepers should ensure they get back on their line so they can react if the defenders do not get to the ball first.

Having watched this spectacular save by Joe Hart, you can see what can be achieved with that extra split second reaction time if you stay on your line.




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Understanding Goalkeeper Vertical Play

Having watched a great lob over a goalkeeper and also a through ball in which the forward got to the ball Image 3before the goalkeeper to score this last weekend, I thought I would try to help goalkeepers understand the importance of vertical play.

Vertical play, in my eyes, is the ability to be able to come off your line and also the ability to retreat.

THERE ARE TWO ASPECTS:

1) STARTING POSITION:

It is important that the goalkeeper minimizes the space between themselves and the defense, but also keeping in touch with the goal to prevent being chipped.

Three things which allow a high starting position.

i) The ball is a long way away ( such as in opponents half ) – You have assessed the strengths of the opposition and no one has the ability to chip it over you.

ii) When a forward has the ball at their feet but is facing away from your goal. – Again, you can’t get chipped when a player is facing the other way.

iii) When a defender is tight on to the player with the ball. You can advance here as the only thing the forward can / will do is take a heavy touch to get around the defender ( in which case you can dive at feet ) or they will play a through ball ( for you to collect ). [See the different ways to collect a through ball here]

2) RECOVERY SAVES ( adjusting to movement of the ball ) 

These recovery saves can be forward or backward depending on the situation. The aim is not to get caught in “No Man’s Land” – similar to that of a tennis player who has to either come to the net or drop to the baseline.

Coming forward: You would need to come forward to narrow the angle. A poor first touch by the forward would allow you to gain yards. When coming think of the 5 S’s – 1) Shut down, 2) slow down, 3) sit down, 4) stay down, 5) steal. – Too many goalkeepers who try to close down forwards waist their initial good work by having bodyweight back as they do not slow down prior to the forward shooting with the result of the ball going underneath were the goalkeeper should be stood.

Whether your forward vertical play is a normal pick up, point blank save, dive at feet or gate position delay you must ensure you are in ball line with the center of the goal.

Going backward: You may find yourself going back after a mistake has been made. A poor punch, an intercepted pass or even just a change of scenario where none of the three advanced starting positions mentioned above apply.

When recovering back, you must ensure you are still looking at the ball. Shuffle backward rather than back peddling which is slow and has a high risk of you falling. If a large area has to be recovered, goalkeepers may need to cross step to make up that initial large space.

Whilst recovering back you will deal with two scenarios.

a) Shot low. ( within the hight of your body with outreached arms ) You need to read the player and be “set” with your bodyweight forward when they strike the ball. In my opinion, one of the hardest things to do in goalkeeping.

b) High shot or chip ( higher than your outreached arm). Don’t let your feet stop. So many goalkeepers stop their feet once the ball is struck. The best goalkeepers gain the yards while the ball is traveling. You will either make a catch as you adjust your body weight forward or tip over the bar.

Vertical play – GK needs to recover back.

Vertical play coming forwards.

ARS v EVE Save 1 copy

 


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The art of the sweeper keeper

I found this great video of Manuel Neuer.

I’ll let the great man show you how it is done.


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Balls behind the defense

One of the most common plays in youth soccer is the through ball which, if the goalkeeper is not Imageswitched on can prove dangerous. As a goalkeeper, you are responsible for guiding your team. You have the privilege of seeing the whole field and should see the opposition set up their attacking play. It is your responsibility to share what you see.

Goalkeepers should recognize the typical method of the “Up, back and through” or when a player is ready to do a large kick over the top so that they can take control when the ball is over or behind the defense. An appropriate advanced starting position will help you to win the race to win the ball if necessary.

Whilst constant communication of various types should be the norm, I see three main times when an instruction is vital.
1) When the ball is in the air
2) When the ball is has gone behind the defense and they are now facing you – the goalkeeper.

3) During set pieces

I am concentrating on the first two.

The call from the goalkeeper must be early. The purpose of calling is to give information in time for effective action to be taken. Late calls do not permit effective action.

What to say when the ball is either in the air of behind defense.

1 – Keeper’s coming! : You are coming to collect ( either inside or outside the area ). Note that a call of just “Keepers” may lead to confusion.

2 – Knock it back / Head it back : It’s keepers ball, but needs a player to help it on to you. As per the back pass

information, you should provide an audio and a visual of where you want the ball played. Goalkeepers should not be requesting the ball back if the ball is in the area. ( Too risky plus you should have already come to collect )
3a – Away : You can’t deal with it, but hopefully someone else can. If the opposition are closing down on your defender and a bouncing ball means that a pass back would cause more trouble then this should be the call. If the ball is running into the penalty box and you have not collected, the call should also be away.

3b – Turn outside : No need to knock it back, turn so you can set up an attack.

Here is one example of a situation where good communication allows the goalkeeper to receive.

Lack of communication causes confusion HERE
Example of a call ” Keepers coming – Let it run

Example of through ball where Keeper has to come HERE

( defenders after hearing “Keepers coming” should be screening the forwards and be ready for rebound.) Example of through ball where keeper collects. HERE
Example of when “Away” would be appropriate. HERE


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Joe Hart “Starfish” save comes from opponents father.

In yesterday’s England v Denmark game, England’s Joe Hart made a great save to keep his team in the game at 0-0. The save he made ( pictured ) looked very familiar to his opposite number, Kaspar Schmeichel. Kasper’s father, Peter was the legendry Danish and Manchester United Goalkeeper who first brought the “Starfish” save to the Premier League. Peter’s handball background, where you have to make yourself as big as possible to stop the ball was the secret to many of his great saves, which made him arguably the best goalkeeper of his time. For those of you too young to remember the great man, see this youtube video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvZf5Zp-27Y


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Balls Behind the defense

One of the most common plays in youth soccer is the through ball which, if the goalkeeper is not switched on can prove dangerous. As a goalkeeper, you are responsible for guiding your team. You have the privilege of seeing the whole field and should see the opposition set up their attacking play. It is your responsibility to share what you see.

 

Goalkeepers should recognize the typical method of the “Up, back and through” or when a player is ready to do a large kick over the top so that they can take control when the ball is over or behind the defense. An appropriate advanced starting position will help you to win the race to win the ball if necessary.

 

Whilst constant communication of various types should be the norm, I see three main times when an instruction is vital.

  • When the ball is in the air
  • When the ball is has gone behind the defense and they are now facing you – the goalkeeper.
  • During set pieces

The text is regarding the first two. 

The call from the goalkeeper must be early. The purpose of calling is to give information in time for effective action to be taken. Late calls do not permit effective action.

 What to say when the ball is either in the air of behind defense.

 1 – Keeper’s coming! : You are coming to collect ( either inside or outside the area ). Note that a call of just “Keepers” may lead to confusion.

2 Knock it back / Head it back : It’s keepers ball, but needs a player to help it on to you. As per the back pass information, you should provide an audio and a visual of where you want the ball played. Goalkeepers should not be requesting the ball back if the ball is in the area. ( Too risky plus you should have already come to collect ) 

3a – Away : You can’t deal with it, but hopefully someone else can. If the opposition are closing down on your defender and a bouncing ball means that a pass back would cause more trouble then this should be the call. If the ball is running into the penalty box and you have not collected, the call should also be away.
3b – Turn outside : No need to knock it back, turn so you can set up an attack.

 

Here is one example of a situation where good communication allows the goalkeeper to receive HERE

Lack of communication causes confusion HERE

Example of a call ” Keepers coming – Let it run” ) –HERE 

Example of through ball where Keeper has to come HERE 

( defenders after hearing “Keepers coming” should be screening the forwards and be ready for rebound.)

Example of through ball where keeper collects. HERE 

Example of when “Away” would be appropriate. HERE


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GK narrowing angle

Narrowing the angle

This involves vertical awareness of the goalkeeper.

Main thoughts for this are.

1) Location – Where the keeper is in relation to ball and other players
2) Anticipation – Can you as a goalkeeper read the game well enough to guess where the ball is going to go? (This is easier than it sounds)

LOCATION – The goalkeeper must always be in the “Ball Line” – The imaginary line between the ball and the middle of the goal. I saw a couple of games over the weekend where this was not the case, resulting in goals.
Whilst playing at these indoor venues, we as goalkeepers have to take every opportunity to push up. This results in the ability to play fewer defenders and essentially have an extra player on the field. I expect no Premier goalkeeper to just stand on his or her line.

You can push up off your line whenever the other team cannot shoot. Namely: When the opposition has back to goal
When your team is pressuring the opposition
When your team has the ball

You recover when:

The opposition has the ball 18 – 28 yds out with no pressure (eliminating the lob)

ANTICIPATION – You can tell if a player is going to shoot. Be set.
The only way that the opposition can penetrate when pressured is with a combination play. This normally involves a through ball into the box or a heavy touch into the box in which the goalkeeper can pounce.
Starting position is as if you are starting a race if you are not saving a shot.

When narrowing the angle, keep bodyweight forward, gate position and pressure as close as possible. – Don’t get caught in no-man’s land

Saving angle away from the goal. Any questions get in touch.

Related article:

Understanding vertical play

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The “Three Goal” approach to positioning

What are your priorities as far as positioning is concerned?

Priority 1 = Save the shot
Priority 2 = Cut out the Cross
Priority 3 = Save the shot after the ball goes to the far post.

GOAL 1 – Saving the Shot. Goalkeeper must be set, and as the player goes wide, ensure that he/ she is outside the line of the post. Save shot as normal, ensuring clean hands so as not give a way a corner of drop in the path of players.

GOAL 2 – Is created when an opponent goes to the goal line. The goal is now the post to an imaginary post on the 6 yd box. The goalkeeper has to save in this goal as if it is our real goal. Bodyweight forward, set etc. By saving in this goal, you are cutting out the cross and any danger.

GOAL 3 – Is the far side of the big goal when the ball is played to the far post. Either lofted or driven. The goalkeeper must get to this side of the goal as quick as possible. A cross over step is allowed as it enables running, the fastest way to move. Goalkeepers however must ensure they are set before making a save. The key to success is to move along the line of the goal rather than following the ball off the line. If you are not going to get to the ball you should stay on your line for more reaction time.

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