I recently worked with a goalkeeper who had been told his footwork was poor at a recent tryout. What I came back with was the following diagnosis.
I have replaced the goalkeeper in question’s name with mine to protect the innocent!
Footwork – Lateral movement. Shuffling or gliding.
Leon moves across the goal well when instructed. Ie lateral movement through ladder. He does have a lot of movement with his head – up and down, caused by the height in which he raises his legs and not squatting to keep smooth motion. My old coach told me I have to imagine a pole through my ears so as not to have my head go up and down.
Course of action: Practice lateral movements. Ladder work / Shuffling between cones. Focus on quick feet and head at same height. Video him doing it so he can see what we mean.
Footwork – Adjusting to the ball once it is struck.
Leon tends to stop moving his legs once the ball is struck. The ball is often struck at different angles or at higher level, moves whilst in the air. Leon tends to forget leg work and focuses on trying to save with hands. This results in him not having his body behind the ball or turning to make a save. It is important that the goalkeeper’s body shape is correct to make a comfortable save
Course of action: Have shots taken from 10 – 12 yds out, into a goal just 6 yds wide. Aim chest & head height. – No diving allowed. Test how many balls are saved with body completely behind the ball. Focus on quick feet and continue to move feet even after the save is made.
Footwork – Placement of foot on side contour save
By stepping back, due to being apprehensive about a ball coming towards you ( only natural for a 10 year old ) you turn your shoulders, resulting in no second barrier, hand shapes being off and the ball going into the back of the net.
Course of action – Practice saves from underarm service to head height in 4yd goal with only one step needed to side to make save. Focus on being aggressive and stepping forward. Getting hands out in front of face and ensuring good hand shapes ( W’s ) – This save in US Soccer is called the “Side contour” – Not taught in UK.
Footwork – Favorite side
Leon has a favorite diving side and his lateral movement across goal reflects this. Like me he prefers to dive to his left despite being right handed. Quite unusual but there are often outside factors that affect this. The side on which he sleeps, lays down to watch TV, or weakness in a particular leg. I bet he starts a race with his left foot!!!
Leon is better moving to his right because he is weaker at diving to this side. He compensates poor diving with better feet. Likewise he is lazy on his left because he pulls off good saves on that side. OK in the small goals but will get found out in the bigger goals as they often require a shuffle prior to the dive.
Course of action – Start going up stairs with right foot first. Without diagnosing anything, i think he needs to work on his strength / balance of his right side. It might be his kicking foot, but the power comes from the ability to balance and have core strength with the left leg. This correlates to kicking which is below.
Footwork – Stepping leg when diving
On Leon’s weaker side, I have noticed his first step is not correct. He steps more to the side with his foot almost at right angles. It should be facing forward. By facing outwards, you are physically unable to dive forwards as you dive in line with the outside of your foot. This restriction leads to “Swimming pool” saves or taking off with the other foot. The turn in the body leads to arms getting stuck under the body and not being able to save appropriately.
Course of action – Leon needs to do the proposal save. One knee on floor with leading leg up – Like a proposal! Server throws the ball to the side where foot is on ground ( Not the knee side ) Focus on position of foot at the beginning and diving forward when making the save.
Footwork – Distribution from back pass
Leon’s left foot is non existent!! – All the above come into play with distribution. Ability to move into line quickly, see the ball, open up hips to control with the inside of the foot. Balance on standing foot and have strength in that same standing leg to be able to have your kicking leg swing.
Course of action – As mentioned before, focus should be made on balance of right root. Lots of wobble board types of things to help. Bands also allow you to stand on one foot and move other leg ( Kicking leg ) with resistance.