This practice is designed to enhance the composure of goalkeepers when they have the ball at their feet. It uses situations that vary in space, time and pressure to test ability and decision-making skills.
We find that the platform for success often starts with a comfortable and confident goalkeeper. The more assured he is, the better the variation and accuracy of his supply to defenders and other players.
Balls, cones, goals
Number of Players
12 (incl. 2 keepers)
What do I get the players to do?
First, we run a 6v6 warm-up in a 25×20-yard area with keepers on opposite long touchlines. On opposite shorter touchlines add a player from each team. Simply, the starting team must retain possession by using both keepers (1).
• In the warm-up, the keeper is a crucial part of a possession game
For the main 5v5 game, we lay three 18-yard boxes end to end. Outfield players cannot stray from the middle box. The team in possession must complete five passes before passing to either keeper (2a), who deals with the back pass and plays back out to the team in possession. That team can now score a point by playing through to the opposite keeper, and so on (2b). If play is turned over, the new team in possession now attempts to make five passes. If the ball goes out of play, the coach restarts.
• or the main practice, players make five passes before laying the ball back to the keeper
• He makes a pass, enabling his team to retain possession and switch the direction of play
How do I progress the session?
To progress, when a back pass is made to a keeper, opposition players can enter the area to close him down and apply pressure. Here, he must make one of three decisions – pass to a supporting team mate (3a) , play the ball forward to an advanced player (3b), or clear the ball out of play. If he succeeds in completing a return pass, the team in possession can now send men to attack the far goal (3c). If a goal is scored, the ball goes dead or the keeper saves a shot, play restarts with the coach.
• In the progression, a back pass can be closed down by an opposition player
• Under pressure, with the wingers covered, the keeper plays a long ball to a team mate
• Involving the keeper allows the team to attack and a goal is scored
What are the key things to look for technically/tactically?
The keeper must stay focused – he needs to observe, communicate and understand the ever-changing player environment in front of him. He should always be positioned on the front foot, ready to receive the ball at any time.
How do I put this into a game situation?
In any game scenario, we can maintain and reinforce the aims and objectives of this practice by insisting that play always goes through the keeper before an attack can be launched.
This is a functional shot stopping session that starts using just the goalkeepers and the goalkeeping coach and it then progresses into a broader session and a small-sided game with the outfield players. The integration of the outfield players makes the session more match realistic and it will enhance the goalkeeper’s decision making in game... MORE
This is a session for goalkeepers that teaches and rehearses dealing with crosses, both opposed and unopposed, and in the context of a small-sided game. The ability to manage balls crossed in from the wings is one of the most important parts of a goalkeeper’s game. It relies specifically on positioning, technique and good decision-making.... MORE
“…fantastic… I encourage all my coaches to read it,”