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Goalkeeper Training – The Forgotten Man? (Part 3)

During Part 2 we looked at reflex sessions along with pressure saves & crossing.  In grassroots football the goalkeeper is generally the forgotten man.  Simply the training they receive is in group format or via a shooting drill.  Obviously at this level resources are limited but to find someone to do a little work is better than forgetting about one of the most important people on the pitch.  Below I will share a copy of my session plan notes specifically for our keepers.  This is the final part of our 3 part series.

We will focus on goalkeeper games during part 3.

Goalkeeper Games

Distribution Games.

1. Object of the game is to score in the other goalkeepers net by throwing the ball. Goalkeeper 1 starts the game by throwing the ball towards goalkeeper 2 & their net. If goalkeeper 2 saves by catching the ball they are allowed maximum of 2 steps towards goalkeeper 1 before throwing the ball. If either goalkeeper tips ball or punches ball out of play the goalkeeper who had the shot gains possession.

Variations include kicking the ball from the hands, volley or drop kick the ball, kick the ball from the ground or play 2 goalkeepers in each goal & if 1 shoots wide or over they must complete a lap of playing area before continuing in the game.

Session 1

2. To practice good all round distribution of the ball set up areas so that the goalkeeper has targets to throw or kick the ball to.

Session 2

3. 3 players; A, B & C, & positioned along the half way line. They each have a supply of balls & stand beside a mini goal. Each take it in turn to cross the ball towards the goalkeeper. Once goalkeeper collects the ball they should look to distribute toward any of the 3 mini goals by throwing or kicking.

Coaching points include communication, distribution, winning the ball, work both feet, throwing & kicking technique & rapid build up.

You can develop by having players A, B & C dribble the ball & performing back passes for the goalkeeper to deal with in same way. You can add a second player to look to close the goalkeeper down automatically to help it become more realistic to a game. Finally, after collecting the ball the goalkeeper should look for a defender to play out to for them now to score into the mini goals.

Session 3

Crossing Games.

1. Goalkeeper 1 throws the ball to W1. W1, within 3 touches, crosses the ball long & high into the penalty area for goalkeeper 2 to collect. Distribute the ball to W2 to cross for goalkeeper 1.

3 important factors to handling crossing situations are; positioning, judgement & action (to attack cross or not). Goalkeepers positioning will vary according to the angle & distance of the cross. Goalkeepers should wait until the cross has been delivered & quickly decide whether to attack the cross or advise defenders to attack it.

Goalkeepers need much practice on positioning & decision making on crosses coming into the box. This practice is simply organised & allows goalkeepers to practice all that is mentioned above. Make sure that the winger varies the crosses, i.e. hard & low, near post, far post, etc.

Session 1

2. Players remain in zones. Goalkeeper delivers to W or to A1 & A2. A1 / A2 passes wide to W. W crosses the ball within 3 touches. Goalkeeper then communicates & decides whether to come & collect the cross or allow the defenders to deal with it.

This session adds to the previous one by testing the goalkeepers ability to deal with crosses while under pressure from opponents being marked by the keepers defenders. If is important that the goalkeeper communicates with the defence to remind them of their marking responsibilities as well as taking up a correct position. Then the keeper has to decide whether to attack the cross or advise his defenders to challenge. In taking the latter course, the goalkeeper needs to give clear information to attack the cross, shouting clearly & loudly, ‘AWAY!’ If the goalkeeper decides to attack the cross, they should shout loudly & clearly, ‘KEEPER’S BALL!’

Session 2

Duel Games / Mini Games.

1. This session is to practice & improve a goalkeeper when faced by oncoming attacker in a 1 v 1 situation. The goalkeeper should always look to come off his line (although not to quickly as to avoid being chipped) & narrow the angle for the attacking player. The goalkeeper should not be easily tricked after a feint & should remain big & confident as to outwit the forward.

(S) plays the ball to X1 or X2. X1 or X2 runs with the ball through the cones & at the goalkeeper. The attacking player attempts to score past the goalkeeper in a 1 v 1 situation by shooting or to try & dribble past the keeper.

Session 1

Every club should allocate some time & personnel to work with the goalkeepers.  Whether that be to bring the goalkeeper in early of have a keeper group night it is essential that the last man in defense is not forgotten about.  I hope you have enjoyed my 3 part series.

Goalkeeper Training – The Forgotten Man? (Part 2)

During Part 1 we looked at warm ups & handling along with agility & goal line sessions.  In grassroots football the goalkeeper is generally the forgotten man.  Simply the training they receive is in group format or via a shooting drill.  Obviously at this level resources are limited but to find someone to do a little work is better than forgetting about one of the most important people on the pitch.  Below I will share a copy of my session plan notes specifically for our keepers.  This is the second of a 3 part series so please check back soon for part 3!

We will focus on reflex sessions along with pressure saves & crossing during part 2.

Reflex Sessions

The following sessions should be operated in sets of 10. Although please adapt to suit the age & fitness of goalkeeper.

1. X1 throws ball through on looking goalkeepers legs, goalkeeper then turns & X2 immediately shoots.

Session 1

2. X passes to right, goalkeeper dives to save & rolls back. Same process but to the left.

Session 2

3. Develop previous session by passing to either side. Coaching points will include not diving too early, sharp, adjust & try not to come forward.

4. Goalkeeper operates on knees in mini goals. S1 throws to X1 who volley’s to alternative sides for goalkeeper to save & knock out. Same process but from S2, firm throws, react to re-bounds. Develop with goalkeeper on feet, use whole goal.

Session 4

5. Goalkeeper touching near post & looking at S1, then reacts to shot from X1.

Session 5

6. Goalkeeper is arms length from near post, on call quick feet, spring & dive to stop throw from server scoring. Develop to working on both sides of goal.

Develop again, after save goalkeeper is flat on ground on belly & reacts on call to save in other corner. Coaching points include spring & power.

Session 6

7. Server throws to top corner, goalkeeper leaps to save.

Pressure Saves & Crosses

1. S1 shoots, goalkeeper saves, moves to other goal, sets & saves from S2 then sets & saves from S3 in other goal. Coaching points include footwork, position, relax & save.

Session 1

2. S1 throws to S2 who shoots against GK1 or GK2. Coaching points include alertness, reaction & cover re-bounds.

Session 2

Late Reaction Saves.

1. Goalkeeper looks the other way & on command turns & saves. Serve from penalty spot to 18 yard line. Coaching points include goalkeeper to be on toes, sight of ball, attack it & save it.

Crosses.

1. S1 throws ball into X1, X2 & X3 who all put pressure on the goalkeeper. Object of the game is for the goalkeeper to collect cross or punch clear out of danger zone. Coaching points include the goalkeeper being slightly off line (2-3 yards), face the ball, correct timing, catch ball at highest point, be decisive & positive in attacking the ball, call loud & early if goalkeeper is coming for the ball, if not shout away – defenders need to know, communicate, be confident & positive.

Session 1

Every club should allocate some time & personnel to work with the goalkeepers.  Whether that be to bring the goalkeeper in early of have a keeper group night it is essential that the last man in defense is not forgotten about.  Join us next month for part 3.

Goalkeeper Training – The Forgotten Man? (Part 1)

In grassroots football the goalkeeper is generally the forgotten man.  Simply the training they receive is in group format or via a shooting drill.  Obviously at this level resources are limited but to find someone to do a little work is better than forgetting about one of the most important people on the pitch.  Below I will share a copy of my session plan notes specifically for our keepers.  This is the first of a 3 part series so please check back soon for part 2!

We will focus on how a goalkeeper should warm up & I’ve also included details on agility & goal line sessions during part 1.

Warm Up & Ball Handling Sessions

1. Bounce ball, on command carry out:

  • Roll ball in front & dive on it.
  • Throw ball into air & jump & catch it.
  • Put ball in between legs & dive & catch.

2. Goalkeeper 1 kicks ball into hands of goalkeeper 3 who catches & kicks ball back, same then with goalkeeper 2. Rotate so that each goalkeeper is working. Coaching points are – stance, handling & speed.

Session 2

3. Develop by serving the ball high in the air so that goalkeeper 3 can take short steps & jump high to catch the ball finishing with stretch.

4. Operate sessions 2 & 3 again but vary starting position so goalkeepers can work on foot work & turning.

Session 4

5. Goalkeeper 1 throws to goalkeeper 2 who dives to right, catches & throws back while getting straight back up to dive again – carry out 10 times. Coaching points are – foot work, handling, speed, return ball & get back up in one motion.

Session 5

Agility & Goal Line Sessions

The following sessions should be operated in sets of 12 developing to 20. Although please adapt to suit the age & fitness of goalkeeper.

1. Goalkeeper sits on bum with legs bent & loose, partner then serves ball so goalkeeper can stretch & catch ball over head & return. Coaching points is speed & technique, i.e. operate session like sit up.

2. Rowing, feet off ground, partner throws ball goalkeeper catches with knees up to chest & returns with legs out. Coaching point is co-ordination, i.e. operate session like rowing machine.

3. Goalkeeper on bum, partner throws ball to left & right so goalkeeper can catch & throw back. Coaching points include agility, service, catching & to keep loose.

4. Develop above session, dive from left to right – keep ball off the ground. Main coaching point is to keep ball in front of body line.

Every club should allocate some time & personnel to work with the goalkeepers.  Whether that be to bring the goalkeeper in early of have a keeper group night it is essential that the last man in defense is not forgotten about.  Join us next month for part 2.

Possession With A Focus On Width

UEFA A Licence Coach, Tim Wareing, operates his Academy in Belfast.  The ex Academy Director of Irish League side, Lisburn Distillery, shares his latest elite session with The Soccer Store.  All the equipment that Tim uses can be purchased direct from The Soccer Store.

As soon as the players report in for training they each get a football.  The first 10 minutes is for them to juggle the ball, dribble & perform skills.  It also offers time for them to catch up with team mates.  The Academy is open to all players & many will play for different clubs across Northern Ireland.  After this period I will come in & increase the tempo.  On Sunday I put them through the ‘Ronaldo 7′ which is a series of 7 skills performed stationary with the ball.  We then played a game of ‘Every Man For Themselves’.  Simply half the boys will have balls to dribble & protect while the other half attempt to steal & keep.  This insures maximum exposure with the ball & increases the tempo.  After some stretches & water the players went through S.A.Q. (Speed, Agility & Quickness training using speed ladder, hurdles & hoops) before I progressed the session.

I wanted to keep the high tempo but at the same time recreate game like scenarios.  The below session comes from the outspoken Dutch man, Raymond Verheijen, who is a master on periodisation training.  Many of my sessions will focus on possession type games.

5 V 2 Periodisation Game

5 v 2 Periodisation Game

Emphasis

Ball possession based around periodisation.  Overload then build up to 5 v 5.

Set-Up

Session takes place on a 20 x 20 yard area.  5 attackers v 2 defenders.  Have 3 players waiting to be fed into session to build up to 5 v 5.  The coach should have a supply of balls to keep the game moving.

Objectives

Simple possession game where players develop their skills of passing & supporting each other.  Players in possession should try to pass to teammates.

Simple, early passes should be delivered & after having delivered the pass, players should adjust their positions so as to receive a return pass if necessary.

The team that starts with 2 players receive an additional player every 30 seconds.  The coach lets them know when to join in every 30 seconds as follows;

0.00 – 5 v 2 (2 touch)

0.30 – 5 v 3 (3 touch)

1.00 – 5 v 4

1.30 – 5 v 5

Progressions

  1. Set target of passes to be awarded a goal.
  2. One / two touch play.
  3. Add target players on the outside of the grid.
  4. Rotate groups to suit squad size, i.e. 3 groups of 5, work 2 & rest 1.

Coaching

  • Movement on / off ball.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Create angles.
  • Protect ball.
  • Communication.
  • Quality passing.
  • Positioning.
  • Passing combinations.

Another important factor to remember is to keep a similar theme to your session so you build it up nicely & each session relates to the last one.  To develop I focused on a session I viewed from Arsenal Football Club.  This starts to add a bit more shape & encourages the central players to be the playmakers linking in with the wall players.  You can offer an opportunity for all players to sample each role or if you have an established team or working with an adult team simply play each player in their position.

Arsenal’s 6 V 4 + 2

Arsenal's 6 v 4 + 2

Emphasis

Keep ball game with play makers linking with wall players.

Set-Up

Session takes place in a 30 x 25 yard grid with a supply of balls on the outside.

Full build up with 12 players involved.  Positional game with 6 outfield players, 2 midfielders in the middle against the 4 defenders, represents a real game-like environment.

Objectives

6 wall players look to keep the ball through linking with the floaters (play makers) in the middle.

Encourage your players to think about the set up.  From the bottom of the diagram to the top you can see the basic formation of left back, centre back & right back.  In front of them left & right winger with forward at the top…playmaker / centre midfielders working to link all in the middle.

Keep score.  1 point for 5 successful passes, bonus 2 points for a split pass made between the defenders & 5 bonus points for a nutmeg.

Likewise, if the defenders win the ball they get a point.  If they keep it for 5 successful passes in the middle they get a bonus point & the same points for a nutmeg!

Progressions

  1. Change players roles throughout.
  2. Limit outside players to 2 touch.
  3. Floaters in middle only allowed 1 touch.
  4. Change scoring system.

Coaching

  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Movement on / off ball.
  • Communication.
  • Quality passing.
  • Passing combination.
  • Use the whole area.
  • Shape.
  • Positioning.
  • Losing the defender.
  • Receiving the ball side on.
  • Defenders should stay compact – play in a diamond shape.  They should play pressure, 2 support players & a cover man (sweeper).

The goal of my session was to build into a game.  The game below works perfect as it keeps the theme of possession going but encourages width.  As always don’t get too caught up in the training game.  For example, although you want to encourage the ball to go wide if the ball is played through the centre encourage the forward player to have an attempt at goal rather than always going wide to the winger.

Wingers Game

Wingers Game

Emphasis

Encouraging attacking play through the wings.

Set-Up

Play takes place on half a pitch with 2 full size goals & goalkeepers.  A channel is marked out with cones on either wing & separated in two.  Also divide the pitch in two.

Play 3 v 2 in either half (+ goalkeeper).  4 wide players are positioned in the channels, 2 playing in the attacking half for each team.

Objectives

The objective is to play the ball from the back, where the 3 defenders should have comfortable possession against the 2 attackers.

The ball should be played to one of the forwards who passes wide to one of the unmarked wingers.  The cross is then delivered to the 2 forwards who look to finish at goal.

Progressions

  1. A defender can join the attack along with the other winger being allowed to leave their zone & come into the central area.
  2. Change roles.

Coaching

  • Quality of crosses.
  • Movement of forwards.
  • Movement – check run, make space in front to receive.
  • Technique – stop just before receiving the ball.
  • Strength – shield the ball from the defender.
  • Awareness.
  • Quality passing.
  • Timing of run.
  • Quality finishing.
  • Communication.

The football played was terrific.  I always allow the players their own time at the end to play a game with no restrictions.  It was encouraging to see the main points we worked on carried out.  Some of the football was a joy to watch.

Another important factor is to be flexible in your sessions.  I had no goalkeepers present so used 4 mini goals (2 either end) & positioned them 5 yards in from each touchline.  This again reinforced width & switching.  Likewise adapt to suit the players you have in.  Although the above game is based on 14 outfield players I only had 12 present.  I simply played with 1 wide player on each wing who played as a neutral player.

Enjoy the session & let us know how you found it!

Periodisation, Possession & Switching Play

Sundays Academy session was influenced by Raymond Verheije (current periodisation coach for Russia) & notes I’d found on some session plans from Jose Mourinho.  I adapted them to suit my group & to keep the session along the same feel so it had natural progressions.  The players enjoyed & responded well to the session.  It challenged them which is always the outcome we want as coaches for them to problem solve.  The quality improved as the session developed.

We always have to remember we are coaches & we need to plan a session but also have the freedom to change or develop where need be.  At this time of year it is difficult to establish how many players I will have to work with.  This sometimes bugs the life out of some coaches but we should be able to adapt.  Always remember the fun stories of Paul Cooper (from GUBOG) when he told us about the coach that had the 12 players for his session then little Jimmy walks over the hill & he is pulling his hair out as he is ‘one player over’.  Crazy.  The session plans I will share with you below allow many changes from playing 5 v 5 to 8 v 8 in sessions to adding a neutral player in the session.  Always adapt.  For the record I had 15 players in.

After my initial warm up of dribbling & ball familiarisation exercises we performed a series of group juggling games.  The first 20 minutes is light & allows players to loosen up which is important as they are different ages & have different needs.  Some have also started the pre-historic ‘pre’ pre-season sessions of 3 hours of physical abuse!  So we have to be careful.

5 V 2 Periodisation Game

5 v 2 Periodisation Game

Emphasis

Ball possession based around periodisation.  Overload then build up to 5 v 5.

Set-Up

Session takes place on a 20 x 20 yard area.  5 attackers v 2 defenders.  Have 3 players waiting to be fed into session to build up to 5 v 5.  The coach should have a supply of balls to keep the game moving.

Objectives

Simple possession game where players develop their skills of passing & supporting each other.  Players in possession should try to pass to teammates.

Simple, early passes should be delivered & after having delivered the pass, players should adjust their positions so as to receive a return pass if necessary.

The team that starts with 2 players receive an additional player every 30 seconds.  The coach lets them know when to join in every 30 seconds as follows;

0.00 – 5 v 2 (2 touch)

0.30 – 5 v 3 (3 touch)

1.00 – 5 v 4

1.30 – 5 v 5

Progressions

  1. Set target of passes to be awarded a goal.
  2. One / two touch play.
  3. Add target players on the outside of the grid.
  4. Rotate groups to suit squad size, i.e. 3 groups of 5, work 2 & rest 1.

Coaching

  • Movement on / off ball.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Create angles.
  • Protect ball.
  • Communication.
  • Quality passing.
  • Positioning.
  • Passing combinations.

This was a nice session & due to timing the session we worked in periods of 2 minutes with recovery.  Quality rather than quantity.  We started with an overload 5 v 2.  The first group was slow to get going as their decision making & poor movement off the ball to create an angle for team mates was lacking.  With having 3 groups of 5 players there was opportunity to work 2, rest 1 & the quality improved second time round.  The group that wasn’t involved worked with my assistant 3 v 2.

I always like to have my coaching area set up so there is no waiting for the players.  The first 2 parts of my session worked easily in a 20 x 20 yard area in one of the corners of my 40 x 30 yard pitch.  After concentrating on possession I wanted to continue the theme but encourage a point of attack along with the focus on switching.  This worked perfect.  With my group of 15 I had the option of playing with 10 (3 v 3 with 2 sets of outside players) & rest 5 players then rotate.  Rather than doing this I decided to adapt & play 5 v 5 in the middle with one neutral playing with team in possession.  They looked to combine & attack either side of the pitch to their wide man.  The person that made the pass to the side player replaced them keeping the game competitive & played to a high intensity.

3 V 3 Playing To End Lines

3 v 3 Playing To End Lines

Emphasis

Possession game focusing on shifting the point of attack & switching play.

Set-Up

Vary the size of the grid to suit your players & what you want from the session.  Larger grid offers further distance for players to cover but smaller sized grid offers less space for turning & keeps the session game realistic.  Players have less time on the ball & will help decision making.

I’ve carried this session out in a 20 x 20 yard grid.  The players have to play quick & always look over their shoulder before receiving!

Have a supply of balls with the players on the outside to keep a high tempo to the session.

Objectives

Team that has the ball tries to keep possession by playing from one side of the pitch to the other.

A point is awarded for each successful pass to an outside player then switch to other side.  Teams can play off same side to keep possession but are only awarded a point for each successful switch.

Keep score to add a competitive side to the game.

Develop so player that passes to outside player replaces them – always rotate!

Progressions

  1. Increase / decrease size of grid.
  2. Limit touches.
  3. Change scoring to encourage passing sequence or certain passage of play.

Coaching

  • Movement.
  • Quick combination play.
  • Change of direction with the ball.
  • Communication.
  • Support play.
  • Decision making.

This was carried out to a very high standard & I was extremely happy with the quality of play.  I wanted to build & progress this along with focusing on the killer pass.  I still wanted to continue the theme of width but wanted to see the ball played into an attacking area that focused on the weight & timing of pass & run.

Switching Point Of Attack Encouraging Width Through Full Backs

Switching Point Of Attack Encouraging Width Through Full backs

Emphasis

Attacking play through encouraging width & support from full backs.

Set-Up

40 x 30 yard pitch, with 5 yard end zone at either end & 5 yard channel for full backs to operate in.

5 v 5 is played in middle with a neutral full back on either channel.

Have a supply of balls around the perimeter of the pitch.

Objectives

5 v 5 is played in the main playing area with 2 unopposed full backs in either channel that are neutral & play with the team in possession.

Score by playing the ball into the scoring zone, player must not arrive before the ball but must time their run to control in end zone.

Attack either end & use either full back to keep possession & encourage width.

Progressions

  1. Rotate players roles.
  2. Restrict touches for full backs.
  3. Add a neutral player in the main playing zone.

Coaching

  • Forward runs.
  • Timing of runs.
  • Create space.
  • Quality passing – weight & accuracy + forward pass.
  • Movement & work rate on / off ball.
  • Decision making.
  • Combination passing.
  • Communication & understanding.

Again I adapted to suit my group size.  I played 6 v 6 in the middle zone along with a neutral player.  With adding the neutral full backs on either side this offered all 15 players involved.  1 or 2 players struggled with the timing of their runs at the start.  For example they arrived into the scoring zone before the ball.  I wanted to keep the session game realistic so added the off side rule for any player arriving into the end zone before the ball.  Again I was happy with how the players performed.  Only on a few occasions did I decide to stop the play to really get across my coaching point.  In most cases it was due to giving away possession too easy through making a difficult pass when a better option was on, i.e. the full back or playing back & starting again.

As always I wanted to take the technical & theme based session into a tactical game.  The introduction of 6 small sided goals still offered the focus on switching play & the players enjoyed finishing with a game.  This also offers players an opportunity to problem solve themselves without a coach going in & stopping it every few minutes.

8 V 8 Game With Focus On Width & 3 Goals

8 v 8 Game With Focus On Width & 3 Goals

Emphasis

8 v 8 game with focus on width & 3 goals.  Team shape & changing the point of attack encouraging play through full backs.

Set-Up

30 x 40 yard area.  8 v 8 + a neutral full back on either side of pitch.  3 mini goals are positioned on either side of the pitch.

Supply of balls spread around pitch & with coach.

Objectives

Each team has 3 goals to attack & 3 to defend.

Look to score in any 3 goals with support from fullback encouraging width & changing the point of attack.

Look for good rhythm in possession, when to switch & when not to.  Also when to penetrate & when to be patient.

Progressions

  1. Rotate players roles & organisation.
  2. To encourage sharper passing limit number of touches on ball.

Coaching

  • Width – look to switch (when & when not).
  • Use of full back.
  • Create attacking options.
  • Decision making.
  • Shape.
  • Work rate & movement on / off ball.
  • Quality passing & finishing – don’t force it.
  • Positional play.
  • Communication & understanding.

After the session we had a quick debrief & cool down.  Always ask your players open questions so they can start thinking for themselves rather than always offering the answers & solutions.  We need to create a new breed of young players that think for themselves & play with flair, creativity & freedom.

Let me know how you get on if you use with your own team.  Always feel free to re-post & share as long as you link back to my blog.

Want more info?  You can access over 450 of my session plans by clicking here!  Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or You Tube

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