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Reply with quote  #1 
I used to coach goal keepers. Recently my grandson, age 9, decided he wanted to be a goalie. Alas, he moved 1,000 miles away and his parents asked me to write down basic drills and skills he could follow and they could supervise. Here is my attempt.

Some basics, such as how to form the hands (e.g., a "W" catch), I omitted because he already knew them.

An excellent web page on goal keeper training is Benji's: He covers this subject far better and in greater detail.

To me this is just the basics for someone who wants to start learning the position.

Here are some basics to work on with corrections.  Some of these can be very taxing and training needs to include conditioning to avoid injury.  Most likely injuries are pulled or strained core muscle groups.  Because of the twisting and torsional rotation involved he needs a strong core (abs and back).  Doing the plank, sit ups and squat thrusts are a very important part of any training regimen.  

1.  Warm and cool down work.  Keeper lays on back with upper torso at a 30 to 50 degree angle.  Ball is throw so keeper has to reach to the side and catch ball.  Initial throws are just to the side.  Successive throws slowly force keeper to extend reach to the side and stretch to make catch.  Throws alternate sides and keeper throws ball back returning to central, raised position. 

As the keeper gets better I add another ball to the mix to increase pressure.  The drill evolves to the two of us tossing the balls simultaneously, as the keeper comes back to the center he returns the ball he caught to me and I throw the second ball to one side for him to catch.

2.  Learning the position and fast feet.  The starting position is for keeper to stand with feet positioned under shoulders, knees bent slightly, butt back and torso upright but slightly forward.   Butt is back to balance torso.  Feet and toes should be pointed forward, not splayed to side.  Arms can be up or down, but should be slightly bent.  This is the "position."

Warm up, from the position, rapidly piston feet and move side to side, forward and back.  Place stakes five to six feet to sides, forward and back.  Keeper, maintaining torso and butt, with knees bent, piston shuffles from stake to center, to new stake.

Corrections focus on keeping feet pointed forward, butt back, head and torso upright with eyes focused down field.  This works on maintaing balance and proper posture to rapidly accelerate or jump.

3.  Second save drill.  From the position the keeper collapses to the side (not a dive, but more of a folding, roll to tbe ground.)  The collapse should be quick as the keeper is halfway to the ground if in the correct position.  The collapse should be a very low impact move.  

Position on collapse is torso slightly up so as to prevent a chip shot.  Upper arm extends above head.  Leg not on the ground is pointed up at about a 30 degree angle.  Lower arm extends away from body to lengthen profile.  The only part of the body in contact with ground is lower leg and side of hips.

Correct any other part of body touching ground, especially hands,  which need to be up and ready to parry or catch ball.

After collapse player is to immediately snap up to position.  Snap up is done by snapping upper leg down and twisting up.  Hands NEVER touch ground, but snap, reach up.  The momentum of hands snapping up and leg snapping down is sufficient to propel body up and to the position.  

Hands must stay up to be able to catch, parry a second shot.  Player should never roll unto butt, because you cannot snap up from that position, nor can the keeper maintain a full scan of the field.  

Drill is from position, collapse to right or left on command, immediately snap up, repeat.

4.  Soft hands.  Toss water balloons.   Arms should give.  If balloon breaks or drops they will get instant, wet feedback.

When catches become consistently soft advance the player to a forward roll (somersault) and toss balloon/ball at player's upper chest as they complete the roll so that ball arrives as player is coming up out of the roll.  

The focus is to force quick acquisition of the ball and not rush catch (not slap ball away).  Also works on balance.  

Hand catches are the result of poor positioning, deflections, or wicked curves.  It is necessary to know how to catch with just hands, however, taking the ball into the chest with a basket catch is much preferred.

As the keeper becomes proficient with the hands add a knee lift.  The knee comes up to add lift but also to protect the keeper's ribs by serving as a barrier to any in rushing player.

5.  Catching.  The idea is to take every ball with the chest as the back stop.  This can mean having to jump so the high ball comes into the chest. This technique is called a basket catch, where the ball is caught against the chest with the arms pinning the ball, hands folded across each other sealing the ball in.  Chest should be angled forward so that if ball is not caught it will bounce down in front of the keeper, who can then fall and smoother the ball.

This should be the keeper's primary catch method.  A ball can split your hands, it will not go through your chest.  A high, descending ball or bouncing ball is caught in a modified basket where the ball is scopped by the forearms and pinned against the chest.

The concern with the modified basket is the keeper will throw the ball over their shoulder into the area behind them - usually into the goal.  Practice should focus on bringing forearms with ball into chest, hands curled over the ball, chin tucking over hands.

6.  Smoother save.  When the ball is coming below knees, either on ground or bouncing, keeper does a modified basket catch to corral ball. Keeper should land with chest pinning ball to ground.  Arms are to the side (do not land on arms) of the ball.  This way hands are free to reach out and protect head if needed.  

(If the ball is above the knees the keeper should keep the torso in the position, go down on one knee and basket catch the ball.  This keeps the head out of a zone where it is likely to be kicked and aids in making a more rapid distribution.)

7.  Sliding.  A keeper's slide is very different from a slide tackle.  Whereas a slide tackle is a desperation stab at the ball in many cases, a keeper's slide is not to dispossess the opponent of the ball (though that is often the result).   Instead, it is to be a flying wall that seals off the goal in a 1 vs the keeper situation.

The slide starts from the position.  The keeper should time the slide so contact is made seven to eight yards from the goal line.   Too soon and the keeper, who should be positioned outdoors three to four yards out from the goal, has too much distance to cover.  Too late and the shot had already been taken.  This often means the keeper starts his move when the attacker is ten to eleven yards out (just inside the spot for taking a penalty shot.)  This varies with the speed of the attacker's approach.

The movement is a rapid, total commitment.   The speed of the slide should carry the keeper through and beyond the point of contact.

The slide should resemble a forward version of the collapse save with the keeper's lower knee leading and targeted on the ball.  Upper torso is angled up to block any shot, and since the far post will generally offer the largest exposure, this should be the side the upper torso covers.  

If the attacker tries to cut the ball to the side the torso is covering, the torso fully collapses and both arms come forward to corral the ball.  Ideally the contact with the ball and arms is with the forearms, which can withstand the force of a kicked ball better than the wrists or hands.

If the attacker attemps to cut the other direction the legs sweep out and kick the ball away.  By attacking initially with the knee, the keeper has the length from his knee to his foot to block the ball if the attacker attempts a cut to the weak side.

Speed is critical.  Steps should be powerful and explosive.  Power comes from the squat in the position.  Keepers who are standing "tall" will be slow to explode.

The slide should not be head or feet first.  Either of these makes a very small "wall".

Good practice drill is to place ball on penalty spot, keeper in position three yards off line.  Ball is kicked so it rolls fairly slowly toward one post or the other.   Once ball is moving, keeper explodes and slides into ball making contact with lower knee.

Corrections focus on correcting posture, positioning.   Knee into ball, torso up.

Once this is consistently mastered keeper graduates to an attacker dribbling in with the idea being to shoot or cut the ball.  Keeper slides out to prevent either.

8.  Strong hands.  Keepers should expect opponents to cheat and try to knock the ball out of the keeper's hands.  A game we play is one person is the thief.  They can do anything they can to knock the ball out of tbe keeper's hands other than strike the keeper - hit the ball;  tickle the keeper, blow in his ear; kiss him; grab the ball; give a wet willy; anything but hit or kick him.  The keeper must hold on to the ball despite all that is done.  The keeper can take steps to move away from the thief, however, when the keeper's feet move the ball has to be moving - usually I require that the ball move between the legs.

9.  If you cannot catch you punch the ball.  This is usually when the ball is above the keeper's head.  The keeper should always start a punch by jumping into the punch.   The mantra we repeat over and over is to attack the ball.  

If the punch is in front of the keeper so he moves forward with shoulders square to the ball, a two handed punch is used.  

If the keeper must move sideways (any backward movement as when the ball is going over the keeper is done with a sideways movement) the ball is punched one handed using the hand farthest from the goal.  In these cases the idea is to punch the ball over the goal out of bounds, a corner kick being a better alternative than punching the ball into the mixer (crowded penalty box.)

Learning this is as much timing as technique.  Before we start I have keepers for a few weeks learn to run sideways from the top of the box to the goal line.   No backward runs.  Running backwards risks a trip or stumble and fall.  Moving sideways significantly reduces this risk.

We work on sideways running and karaoke runs.  We then progress to me tossing the ball to them as they run back.  They are to jump and catch the ball.

As their timing becomes proficient with catching we start punching.  Do not start with punching for punching can mask bad timing.

An entirely separate subject is distribution, learning to throw and drop kick accurately. This along with proper positioning and communication is to me intermediate training for a goal keeper. Learning to control the shot is the starting point.

Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."

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Reply with quote  #2 
Good stuff AFB, although I have one quibble.

In these cases the idea is to punch the ball over the goal out of bounds

IMO punching is for clearing the ball away from the goal on a cross or serve. A two-handed punch sends the ball back in the direction it came from (roughly), high, far and wide, away from the goal. A one-handed punch keeps the ball moving the same direction it is already going, but directs it up and over players in the area but still high, far and wide.

For balls that need to be saved (headed into goal) but cannot be caught, I advocate fingers, not a punch. Using the hand to "push" the ball over the bar or around the post has several advantages. The keeper has better control of where the ball will go, it really doesn't take much to push it around the frame (doesn't require the same force as a punch), and the use of the fingers gives the keeper a critical extra few inches of reach.

Instead, [ the keeper's slide ] is to be a flying wall that seals off the goal in a 1 vs the keeper situation.

The latest technique is the "split" or "straddle" save (illustrated by this picture). It certainly makes a higher "wall" than the traditional approach, but also takes more flexibility and athleticism to pull off. Given the difficulty, especially with lower-level players, of lifting the ball over a keeper at full speed, I'd probably stick with the traditional technique with younger players, but this is certainly a technique to be mindful of.

"My Goal is to Deny Yours"
JB Goalkeeping : Comprehensive Information for Goalkeepers and Goalkeeper Coaches

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Reply with quote  #3 


Finger rolls are to me a more advanced topic. I do not raise them with beginners, waiting till I am sure they have both their timing down, know how to read the ball's movement and fully know where they are positioned. I became a full time keeper because the fellow ahead of me on my college team attempted a finger roll, only to break three fingers when the ball dipped and mashed his fingers against the cross bar. We are all products of our experience.

I was not aware of the slide variation. I appreciate your sharing it. It is nice to learn something new.

Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."
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