Protecting the Posts on Corner Kicks

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s topic deals with protecting the posts on corner kicks.

When watching many professional teams defending corner kicks we see one, or both, posts left unprotected. Without looking at the data but rather using general observation, it also seems there are a lot more goals being scored on corner kicks. One might say this is because of better services, better attacking players etc. but I have a hard time believing this isn’t partly due to lack of players on the posts.

My suggestion, especially at the youth level, is to have a player on each post.

It’s not good enough to just have a player on each post, they also need to know how to position themselves.

Too often I see players on posts with their entire bodies facing the corner.

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There are a couple of problems with the players lining up this way. The first one is the player at the near post tends to block the view of the keeper from seeing the ball. It’s one thing for an opponent to do this (if it happens, the keeper has to learn to deal with it) but something else entirely for a teammate to intentionally do this. The other thing is it’s vital that the players on the posts know their primary purpose. Their primary purpose is to protect the goal (aka ‘make the goal smaller’). The best way to reinforce this is to have the keeper start in a position to do this exact job. Both feet should be on the goal line with the shoulder touching the post.

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By lining up this way there is no doubt the players primary purpose.

The next thing is to understand when this player should move vs when he should stay where he is.

As a general rule, the players on the post should only move for one of two situations.

1. If the player knows (not thinks but KNOWS) he can win the ball, then he should go win the ball.
2. The player should move when the keeper tells him to.

A person might wonder why I’m writing about the players on the posts when this is supposed to be about goalkeeping but the reality is if the players on the post aren’t doing the right things, ultimately it affects the keeper. If the keeper isn’t going to be held accountable on corner kicks then the keeper must be given the power (and knowledge) to direct his players in these situations.

If I’m coaching a team, I expect the keeper to be in control on corner kicks (and for the keeper to know how I want them handled). If a player on the post leaves when he isn’t supposed to I’m going to expect the keeper to take responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen again so the keeper must know when and where the players should be.

The keeper MUST be in charge in these situations and the first step in putting them in charge is to educate them on what everyone should be doing.

This is yet another example that where the saying “you have to be crazy to be a keeper” is false, the keeper has to be the leader and must know everyone elses responsibilities and be able to direct them, when needed.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Distribution with the Feet

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on distribution with the feet.

Start with a keeper in goal, a server 30 yards out (with balls), a line of players even with the server and a player out wide on each side.

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The server plays a ball back to the keeper, out wide (representing a back pass from a teammate) and the first player in line chases after the ball.

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The keeper passes the ball out wide to his teammate and that player dribbles back to the line.

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The player who was pressuring the ball takes the spot of the wide player and the server then plays the ball to the other side.

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The points of emphasis for the keeper is to receive the ball outside of the goal mouth, look for the simple pass and play toward the players front foot. We want to emphasize safety first and playing the ball in a way to make it as easy as possible for the field player to receive the ball.

You can vary the distance and angle of the players out wide to make the keeper work on different forms of distribution (short hard pass on the ground or longer driven ball etc).

Have a great day!

Lawrence

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Footwork, Fitness, Balance and Catching

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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

Start with a speed ladder on the ground and a keeper on one end facing a server who has a ball.

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The keeper starts by hopping (with two feet) into the first hole, then hopping in front of the ladder and then the server plays a ball. The keeper catches the ball.

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The keeper then returns the ball to the server, hops backwards back through the ladder.

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This continue all the way down the line and then back.

Next, you can do the same thing but this time it’s hopping on one leg only. For example, if we start with the right leg, the keeper stays on the right leg, while going forward, while catching the ball and then while hopping backwards. The left foot doesn’t touch the ground until the keeper has gone all the way down the line and back. As soon as the keeper goes down the line and back he switches to the left leg and does the same thing.

You can also do things such as knees to chest jumps, receiving high balls, receiving low balls, forward dives etc.

There are many options and this is a great way to work on footwork, fitness,balance and catching.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Positioning in the Goal

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter.  Today’s topic deals with positioning and taking advantage of the fact the center of the goal never moves.

As a general rule, a keeper wants to be centered (which means however far off his line he might be, he would be on a line from the ball to the center of the goal).  The exceptions of this would be when the ball is out wide and a few other times when a keeper choose to be off center BUT would want to know where center is.

The one constant is the center of the goal never changes so we can start by putting a cone in the center of the goal.  Then we spread some balls out around the 18.

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If you find the keeper is struggling finding the line you can switch the cone for a coaching stick or corner flag and tie a piece of string to the stick to make it even easier for the keeper to see the line and how he is doing lining up.

Move the balls round, move them further and further out and from different angles and you will see the keeper really focusing on his positioning (this only works on being centered and not how far out the keeper should be).

Have a great day!

Lawrence

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Developing Good Habits to Deal with Rebounds

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter.  Today’s topic deals with developing good habits to deal with rebounds.

Coaches like to do a lot of pressure training which can be defined as a lot of activity in a short period of time.  An example of this would be a server with a line of balls and a keeper in goal.

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The server shoots the balls as quickly as possible, one right after the other, and the keeper makes save after save after save.

While there are good reasons for doing this type of activity (working on shot blocking, getting up quickly etc) the danger is there is a tendency to allow rebounds and then quickly get up for the next ball (instead of dealing with the rebound first).

In a real game it’s vital that a keeper be able to make a save, and if they can’t hold onto the ball, make the second and third saves as well.

To a large extent this comes down to developing the habit of always being ready for the second shot.  This means in any activity, if a rebound has been given, the keeper should not stop until that ball is safe (in his hands or out of play).  If this means not being ready for the next shot in an activity, as a coach, I find that acceptable.  It’s up to the coach to make sure the keeper knows saving the second shot is extremely important and takes priority over preparing for the next shooter.

I have posted a lot of activities working on saving the second shot but the key is the mindset of the keeper and the coach.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Explosiveness, Diving and Changing Angles

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter.  Today’s featured activity works on explosiveness, diving and changing angles.

Start with a keeper in goal two servers at the top of the 18 with balls and 6 hurdles in a line in front of the keeper (around 1-1.5 yards apart).

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The keeper starts by jumping over the first hurdle and making a save from one of the servers.

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The keeper then gets up and quickly goes back to the middle and jumps over the next hurdle.

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The other server plays a ball and the keeper dives to make the save.

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Each time the keeper makes the save he gets back up and jumps over the next hurdle till getting to the end.

Not only is the keeper working on fitness, explosiveness and diving but he is having to adjust to the angle.  For example, the first shot might require him to make an extension dive to save a ball in the upper corner but the 6th shot will be from a distance much closer to the keeper so while it will come quicker, the range will be much less.  The keeper must react accordingly.

When a keeper gets through all 6 shots, the next keeper begins while the first keeper rests.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

The Benefits of Explosive Training

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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

Three things keepers really need to work on are:

  1. Being more explosive with their legs
  2. Getting down for low balls quickly
  3. Improving their range on extension dives.

This activity works on all three of the above items.

Start with a keeper in goal with 2 hurdles, a yard apart, in front of the keeper. There is a server with balls near the top of the 18.

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The hurdles can be as high as you have available (and as

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How to Speed Up Training

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Todays’ topic shows a simple way to speed up training.

This is going to seem incredibly simplistic but it’s something a lot of keeper coaches miss. If you want the keeper to work faster in training, add a second server and a second ball. The reason this works is the keeper is no longer in charge of how quickly a ball can be played in.

As an example, in the diagram below, the server volleys a ball to the keeper who must catch the ball and then quickly return the ball for the next serve.

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One-Handed or Two-Handed Punch?

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on two handed punches and then the follow up save.

Start with a keeper in goal, a server 35 yards from goal with balls and a second server 25 yards from goal, also with balls.

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The server from 35 yards out starts by lofting a ball toward goal (this can be a

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Why Goalkeepers Need to Master the Drop-Step

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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

The drop step is extremely important for the keeper when he is off his line and the ball is chipped toward to cross bar. The way he executes the drop step is if he is doing a drop step with his right foot, he turns his lower body to his right and his right foot goes straight back (making a 90 degree turn).

This activity starts with 3 cones making a triangle. Two cones are just a bit wider than the keepers normal stance and the third cone is 2 yards straight back. The keeper starts between the first two cones and a server is 10 yards in front with a ball.

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The server starts by playing a ball right

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