Category Archives: Set Pieces

  • 2

Goalscoring Goalies: Penalties edition

Inspired by the fact that in recent game, the goalkeeper scored from the penalty spot not once, not twice, but three times. I thought I would showcase some great goals scored from the penalty spot by goalkeepers.

Having scored from a penalty and be scored on from the spot by a goalkeeper, I have experienced the highs and lows.

It is an interesting proposition when the goalkeeper takes the penalty as he or she should know the different penalty saving techniques outlined here.

Even if you do not prove to be the best penalty taker on the team, or become one of the top five for a penalty shoot out, you may be called upon to take a penalty if and when your team get into a sudden death penalty shoot out. You could be the hero like Adrian in the video below.

  • 1

Don’t abuse the leniency of “The 6 second rule”

So after what was meant to be a quick comment on the November incident in which Liverpool Goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet got penalized for holding on to the ball too long in what is known as “The six second rule” – I have found myself full of information about changes to the rules in the goalkeeper’s possession. Having played through many of these changes which took place in the late 80’s and early 90’s I thought it interesting to list them here.

The six second rule came as an amendment to FIFA’s Law 12 back in 1998, which states that “a goalkeeper is not permitted to keep control of the ball in his hands for more than six seconds.

This rule was to stop the goalkeeper, who has the privilege of handling and holding the ball to delay the game and waste time for the advantage of his or her own team.

See what got Simon Mignolet punished. ( below )


Almost all associations agree that the rule was not meant to be strictly reinforced, and as long as the referee deems that the goalkeeper is making a sincere effort to release the ball, there is no need to strictly enforce the 6 second rule.

Some notes for goalkeepers.

  1. Possession refers to holding the ball in the hands.  If a keeper chooses to put the ball down on the ground and kick or dribble it they can take all day, as long as they don’t pick it up again.
  2. The six seconds are to be counted only after the goalkeeper is fully in control of the ball. That is after he/she gathers themselves, gets up and begins to look for a teammate to play it to
  3. As noted by US Soccer, Law 12.8 “Before penalizing a goalkeeper for violating this time limit, the referee should warn the goalkeeper about such actions and then should penalize the violation only if the goalkeeper continues to waste time or commits a comparable infringement again later in the match.”


As you can see from the above video, it’s only when you abuse the rule ( Mignolet takes some 22 seconds ) that you get penalized. As the goalkeeper, you will be the one to blame as there are so many distribution options….. even if you drop the ball on the floor and distribute with feet.

The result in this game and also in the 2012 Olympics USA v Canada which Erin Mcleod finally gets penalized after her 3rd lengthy delay, is in indirect free kick and a goal against.

How can we combat this?

1 ) Speak with your coach about the game tactics. Long or short distribution?

2) Ensure your team mates are aware of the plan and that they immediately get into an open space when you receive the ball

3) Increase your range of good distribution

4) Be comfortable with the ball at your feet so you can drop the ball and play if necessary.

Last article

Next article





  • -

The importance of learning from mistakes

The cup games often give an opportunity for coaches to play the reserve goalkeeper.

I have, in the past,  written about the importance of working hard to get back on the team and cup games are often the perfect opportunity to prove your worth.

The FA Cup 3rd round had Liverpool reserve goalkeeper, Adam Bogdan take to the field. Bogdan had recently been given an opportunity of first team football when first team Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was injured. That did not end too well as Liverpool were beaten 3-0 against Watford. Bogdan was to blame for Watford’s opener with a dropped corner. ( See below )

Dealing with mistakes is not easy. No doubt he would have practiced corners to ensure he was fully confident with dealing with them again. All goalkeepers should work on their perceived weaknesses as well as the things they are good at.

Bogdan was given his chance again 3 weeks later in the FA Cup on live TV against Exeter City,  who play 3 divisions below the Premier League, but unfortunately, another corner and another mistake left the Liverpool reserve goalkeeper red faced. (Video below )

With the ball that close to the goal, the goalkeeper is expected to deal with it. The options, are catch, punch or tip, as described in a previous article on corners.

Maybe, with the thought of the Watford corner on his mind, in which he didn’t get to the ball quick enough after his drop, he was keen to attack the ball?

It is important to not make the same mistake twice to show coaches that you have learnt from your errors and that you are coachable. Good match analysis will be able to help with this. Here is my comprehensive match analysis sheet.

Related articles:

Dealing with corners

Dealing with mistakes

Getting back on the team

Previous article

Next article


  • 0

Set Piece check list – Free Kicks within shooting range

Tags : 

Set pieces contribute a large number of goals towards an organized attacking team. They get their success preying on unorganized teams and unconfident goalkeepers.

When any set piece is given against our team, you, as goalkeeper should take charge through communication to organize the defense in front of you.

For Free Kicks within shooting range:
1) Be ready for and make team aware of any quick restarts from the opposition.

2) Yell out the number that is in the wall. ( See image below )  Do not have defenders in the wall.

Free Kicks

3) Line the wall up with the near post. ( Have one player that directs the wall but have them face forward so they can follow your directions ) “Left two steps – HOLD” is specific instructions.

You should line up the second player with the near post to ensure no curling shots around the near post. Have the tallest player on the inside. Ensure you can see the ball.

4) Make sure all the players on the other team are marked and matched up. Hold the line no deeper than the wall. By bringing players back to your goal line, it just incourages forwards to get in your way

5) Cover the side of the goal that the wall is not. Make sure you can se the ball being struck. Remember that the purpose of the wall is to make play predictable.

Free Kicks in this area does not allow time for a break. See the unfortunate goalkeeper that took a break instead of doing the above steps. ( Sorry – This video is no longer available ) 


  • -

Penalty saving methods, tips & techniques for goalkeepers



Goalkeepers should be aware there are two scenarios and methods of saving for penalties.

1 – One off penalty. Given in a game

2 – Penalty Shoot-Outs.

One off penalty

Pre-penalty – Ensure the ball is kicked away by yourself or a teammate after the kick has been given. Plead ignorance if given a talking to by the referee, saying that you didn’t hear the whistle. By having the ball a long way away from the penalty taker, it delays the game thus providing extra time for the penalty taker to think about their kick and for you to get into their head.

Assess the type of player taking the kick – Generally speaking, defenders take fewer risks than forwards and tend to play safe by pushing the ball to the same side as their kicking foot. Tricky, skillful players may try to fool the goalkeeper with a clip down the middle. Left-footed players tend to put the ball in the opposite corner.

Watching the eyes of the kicker – If you can get the ball and hand it to the kicker. Watch them place the ball down. In many instances, the kicker looks to the side where they are going to kick. By being so far off your line, you are also getting a phycological advantage by covering so much of the goal until you are told to go back to your line.

Observe the approach of the kicker – The run-up of the kicker can give some idea of the body position of the kicker and therefore an indication of where the ball is intended to go. See picture ( below )

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 4.54.14 PM

The above tips give the goalkeeper the best chance to anticipate where the ball is going to go and guess the save.

Penalty shoot-outs

As goalkeepers, we must remember that at Penalty shoot-outs, there will be players taking penalties that are not normal penalty takers. They will be nervous, play safe and easier to read.

You can pretty much bet that two of the five penalties will be within a 5yd goal – thus leaving 1.5 yds either side of the goal that you won’t need to go for. With this technique, the goalkeeper can pretty much react to the shot, rather than anticipate. Two saves out of five will make you a hero!

Other techniques to give you an advantage

* Dummy the kicker – Make an exaggerated move to your weaker side as the kicker runs up, hoping that they put to your strong side or make them change their mind last minute.

* Stand, off center of the goal – This messes with their head. If the kicker always kicks to the side that you have made smaller, they may think about changing…… but what if you have left the other side open because that is where you are going to dive? Get in their head!

* Loud, large movements across the goal – Ensure you are set before saving though.

* The delay. Point out that the ball isn’t on the penalty spot, have a coach tape your finger, do your laces up. Time will only make the opposition nervous. Hope Solo famously admitted to using this tactic in the 2015 Women’s World Semi-Final which helped them beat favorites Germany 2-0. ( ABC news report below)

This recent addition to the article is the delay in the extreme, by kicking the ball away as advised in the one-off penalty decision. The video below shows how the goalkeeper accepts a yellow card for gaining the advantage of delaying the kicker.


Lastly, don’t celebrate too early!! There have been cases of the ball hitting a crossbar or even a goalkeeper’s save, and with the goalkeeper still celebrating at a victorious penalty shoot-out, the ball has spun into the goal.



Previous article

Next article

  • 0

Goalscoring goalies! Corners edition

ImageI’m writing on this topic as I recently attended a cup game in which a team was losing by one goal in the last minute and having won a corner, the coach told the goalkeeper to go up only for the young player not to know what the coach meant.

It was quite possible that the goalkeeper was not aware that in a last ditch effort to get an equalizing goal, the coach was risking having the goal open and asking the keeper to get into the oppositions penalty box to possibly become a hero!

The video below shows some examples of goalkeepers going up for corners and scoring. By going into the opposition’s penalty box the goalkeeper attracts attention and can even be used as a decoy for other forwards to sneak in and score unopposed.

Last article

Next article

  • -

Set Piece Check List – Corners

Set pieces contribute a large number of goals towards an organized attacking team. They get their success preying on unorganized teams and unconfident goalkeepers.Image

Here is a checklist to ensure you and your team are not vulnerable at corners:

1 – Speak with your coach on what tactics they want to implement. Ask if the team are going “zonal” or “man for man” or a combination of the two with players on the post. Discuss with your coach what players are going on the post ( I prefer not to have defenders on the post as I need them to defend in the box)

2 – As goalkeeper, it is your responsibility to ensure your players are alert to short corners or quick corners. You should not be collecting balls for the other team. If you see that the opposition may be looking to take a short corner or a quick one you need to give a name and an instruction to your players. ” Tony close down short corner ” for example

3 – Be seen by your coach to physically put players in the right position. It is at this time that you can give confidence to players in a calm manner. a) “Jess, go near post – stand inside the goal so I can see the ball. You have all in swingers – OK?” b) “Sarah. Go far post. Be big and cover me if I come for the ball”. c) “Monika. Six yard box – big headers in there….You’ve got anything around that area.”

4 – Decide on an action if an opposing player comes to distract you. Either a) You deal with yourself – ensure you are confident. Let people know that you are good to deal with it and start jumping up and down to make yourself big and stamp your authority in that area. b) Ask a player to separate the opposition from you. The key to both options is to not get distracted by the oncoming player and not be tempted to move further forward than the optimum position.

5 – Call “‘Keeper’s” or “Away” – If “Away” you need to get the players out. When telling players to get up, you need to give guidelines on how far to move up. There are lines of reference on the field. – 6 Yard box, Penalty spot, Edge of the box, Top of the “D” and Half way line.

Related article – Set Piece check list – Direct free kicks 
Next article Previous article

Goalkeeper HQ

Follow us on Twitter

Type a keyword for links to our Goalkeeping articles

Sign up for our weekly Goalkeeping newsletter