Helping Struggling Goalkeepers

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter.  Today’s topic deals with when keepers are struggling.

Too often, when a keeper is struggling the coach thinks the proper response is…work harder.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always the right solution.

The alternative is when a keeper is struggling, go back to the basics.

This is the time to look at the most important parts of the body for catching.  One of the very first articles I wrote for FineSoccer.com was the three most important parts of the body for catching.  16 years later, they are still the same (and people will still argue with me).

The most important part of the body for catching a ball is the eyes.  If you don’t believe me, try catching a ball kicked at you with your eyes closed.  When I see a keeper struggling with making a clean catch my first thought is they are taking their eyes off the ball.  The tendency is for a keeper to look up, at oncoming players or where the ball came from instead of watching the ball into their hands.  When I see a keeper having problems with this, I simply ask them to stare at the ball as it comes into their hand AND THEN TO CONTINUE STARING FOR A COUNT OF 2. By doing this, it forces them to watch the ball all the way into their hands and it’s amazing how much of a difference this can make.

The next part of the body I would focus on would be the feet.  When keepers are struggling they frequently stop emphasizing getting their body behind the ball by moving their feet.  Instead, they start reaching for the ball.  Start simple by tossing the ball slightly to the side and make them get behind the ball before they catch the ball.  Doing something as easy as this will get them back in the habit of getting behind the ball and the rest becomes much easier.

The third part of the body (and for most people the surprise that it’s not the first part) is the hands. Once the keeper is watching the ball into their hands and they are getting behind the ball, then focus on hand position.  Make sure they are positioning their hands properly for the particular flight of the ball (taking into consideration hand size etc).

If you really focus on these three parts of the body, you will find most keepers will recover their form and stop struggling pretty quickly.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Shot Blocking from Different Angles

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on shotblocking from different angles.

Start with two servers with balls on the 18, each even with a goal post. There is a keeper in goal and another keeper waiting on the side of the goal.

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The first server starts by

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Diving Cone to Cone

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on technical training of diving and coming forward on the dive.

This can be used after the exercise from last week’s post.

Start with 2 lines of staggered cones, 5 yards apart. There is one keeper who starts at one end between the two lines and a server 10 yards away, in between the cones.

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The keeper starts by moving forward and the server

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Coming Forward on Dives

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on coming forward on dives.

Start with a rectangle that us 8 yards wide and 4 yards deep. There is a keeper in the middle of the rectangle and a server, with a ball, on each end line, 10 yards away.

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One server starts by playing a ball to a cone. The keeper must get out of the

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Quick Movement, Balance and Catching

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on quick movement, balance, and catching.

Start with a keeper standing in a 6 x 6 square. Each corner is numbered 1-4. There is a server 10 yards away with a ball.

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The server calls a number and the keeper must

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Positioning for the Long Shot

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Todays featured activity works on positioning, reading the game and saving long shots.

Start with a 20 x 44 grid just outside the 18. There are three groups of 3 and a keeper in goal.

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Two teams are on offense (in this case the

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Scrambling to Make the Save

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on scrambling to make the save.

This activity is designed to work on when the keeper has been caught out of position (possibly because of having made a save and then given up a rebound).

Start with two goals, three yards wide that are six yards apart. There is one keeper and two servers with balls 10 yards from the goals.

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One server starts by

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Diving with a Quick Change of Direction

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on diving with a quick change of direction.

Start with a horizontal line of 6 cones, 2 feet apart. A keeper starts on one end of the line and a server is 10 yards away with a ball.

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The keeper starts by sprinting behind the cones to get to the

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Shot Blocking, Footwork and Rebounds

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on shot blocking, footwork and dealing with rebounds.

Start with a keeper in goal and three servers on the field. The first one is 15 yards out, even with the 6 yard box with balls. The second one is 15 yards out, even with the other side of the 6, with balls and the third is at the 12 yard spot.

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The keeper starts by sliding and

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Dealing with Breakaways

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on breakaways.

One of the difficult things about working on breakaways is that much of it comes down to experience. Knowing when to go down, when to stay up, when to come out, when to stay back is extremely difficult and it really does come down to experience. This activity can’t recreate a true game situation but it can help a keeper get accustomed to reading the touch, coming out for the ball and making the save.

This works best with a couple of keepers and a few field players. Each field player will need a ball. One keeper starts in goal and the others are to the side. The field players are near the top of the D.

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The first player touches the

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