Archive for the ‘goalie’ Category

95-Yard Goal; Thank the Goalkeeper

November 8, 2009

If you have read an earlier post of mine, you would know that I am a big fan of playing the goalie out as far as possible. When the ball is in the offensive third of the field, I have no problem with the goalie being at the edge of the kick-off circle. Besides making the goalie feel more a part of the team and of the action, playing the goalie that far out will prevent a number of breakaways on goal, and thus keep the opposition from scoring as many goals.

Some of you may recall that when my son was playing in goal, I always told him that I would pay him $100 if an opponent scored from long distance because he was playing too far out. Not once did I come close to paying him $100. But I know his positioning prevented dozens of sure goals from being scored.

So you can imagine my concern when I heard that a college player scored a goal on a 95-yard shot. Was the goalie too far out from goal? Had I been coaching him, would I have been out $100? Look for yourself.

As it turns out, my $100 would have been safe. It turns out that while the University of Tulsa goalkeeper was standing at the top of the penalty box, he was not playing far enough out. Had he been standing approximately 30-yards from his goal line when Ryan Rosenbaum of Southern Methodist University kicked the ball, he would have been able to easily catch the ball. He would have also been in a better position to stop breakaways if any were to develop. As it turns out, he was caught in no-man’s-land and gave up a needless goal which eventually cost his team the game.

As a goalkeeper, don’t be afraid to play up as long as you know the ball can’t be kicked over your head.

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2-3 Goal Difference Per Game: Smart Pass-Backs to the Goalie

October 25, 2009

I am all for involving the goalie as much as possible. In fact based on my previous post (Role of the Goalie) many say I involve the goalie too much. Given the extremes a goalie has to endure, from utter boredom to continuous onslaughts, and the unique pressure they face, goalies do a team a great service so they should be rewarded with more involvement.

I also believe that passing the ball back to the goalie is an important strategy. It is a great way to ‘switch the field’ and sometimes a defender has no other choice but to pass it back to the goalie or risk losing the ball. What I’m not a fan of is passing the ball back only to have the goalie kick the ball up-field with no purpose or plan. Yet many coaches promote this exact strategy.

However, since there are occasions when a passback is advisable and coaches are going to continue to employ this strategy, at least it should be done correctly. When passing the ball back to the goalie, direction and speed are critical.

Direction

Unless it is absolutely necessary, a ball should never be passed back that could potentially go into the goal. You never know what can happen. The goalie may slip, the goalie may not be expecting the pass, or the ball may take an awkward bounce. If any of these 3 scenarios should occur a passback will result in a goal (see red-shared area below).

The ideal passback should always be passed away from the goal (see the green, dashed lines below). In these cases, a pass will never directly result in a goal for the opposing team.

passbacks

A goalie can help her own cause by pointing and commanding where the ball should be passed. Besides receiving the ball in a good location, this communication confirms that everyone is on the same page. If the goalie does not initiate this communication, the defender making the passback definitely should.

Speed

Speed is also important. A ball that is passed too hard, especially on goal, is more likely to be misplayed and result in a goal. At the very least, it will result in a corner. However, a ball that is passed too softly is likely to be just as disastrous. An attacking player could reach the ball first leaving only an out-of-position goalie to beat.

By all means, involve the goalie as much as possible. Just make sure it is done correctly.

2-3 Goal Difference Per Game: Simple Goalkeeper Tricks

September 21, 2009

I’ve already written about how playing the goalie outside the penalty box will dramatically reduce the number scoring opportunities your opponents will have during a game. Fewer opportunities will reduce the number of goals that are scored. These additional tricks will help out as well.

  • On free kicks, a goalie should position herself on the goal line or better yet, one foot inside the goal line. In youth games, goals are often scored on free kicks by kicking the ball over the goalie’s head. By standing on or inside the goal, chances of this occurring are reduced. In addition, it is much easier for a goalkeeper to run forward to meet a ball than running backwards.
  • Shooters have a tendency to kick the ball right in the middle of the goal. Therefore, if the goalie is positioned correctly, chances are that a number of the shots will be easily saved. There are several methods to teach good positions that will be covered in future postings. The simplest method is to have your goalkeeper constantly check her position by looking over her shoulders to make sure she is centered between the two goal posts.
  • The next trick may be difficult to grasp and teach but once it is learned, it will become second nature. First of all, a goalie needs to learn to anticipate a shot on goal. Once the kicker’s head goes down to look at the ball, the shot is not far behind. Then just before the ball is struck, the goalie should take one hop-step forward and hit the ground with both feet at the same time the kicker strikes the ball. Besides achieving forward momentum, the goalie is now in a better body position to move to her right or left to save the kick. Oftentimes, a goalie is caught flat footed when a shot is taken, making it very difficult to move in either direction. In baseball, you often see infielders and outfielders do the same thing. In addition, the hop step will cut down the angle of the goal. Hockey goalies do a great job of being prepared for a shot and cutting down angles.

Offensive Counter

Once again, playing against a good goalie can make for a long and frustrating day. There a several ways to counter these types of goalie tricks.

  • If the goalie is short and the goals are tall, even if the goalie is standing on the line or in the goal, it is still worth shooting the ball high. Be aware that by playing on the line, the goalie has probably created more space between her and the defenders. In this case, a good strategy may be to drop over the wall but in front of the goalkeeper to an on-rushing attacker.
  • If the goalie has excellent positioning and is cutting the down the angles beautifully, the best thing to do is make one extra pass to a wide-open teammate. This extra pass will require a lot of discipline on the kicker’s part but will almost certainly result in a goal.

2-3 Goal Difference Per Game: Role of the Goalie

August 27, 2009

The easiest way to save at least 2 or 3 goals a game is to have your goalie play out of the goal as far as possible. How far you ask? How about when the ball is in the other team’s offensive third, have the goalie at the edge of the center circle. That’s right, the edge of the center circle. At the youth level, many goals are scored on breakaways. By having the goalie play out, she will prevent these breakaways from materializing by getting to the ball first and thereby save countless goal-scoring opportunities. Follow these additional tips and tricks:

  • Consider putting one of your better field players in goal. A goalie who plays out will need good ball control. In addition, they will need to be able to read the game well so they know which balls to attack and when to retreat. If you allow your goalie to play this way, you should have plenty of volunteers.
  • I guarantee your goalie will be hesitant to come too far out. I have bet my goalie (in this case, it was my son) that if an opposing player scored on him when we he as was far from the goal he would get $100. He played in goal up through U13. Not once did he come close to getting the $100. However, he would only have received the money if he was least 25 or 30 yards out of the goal. It would not apply inside this distance because balls are kicked routinely over the goalie’s head in the youth games from closer range. Still this last fact should not dissuade you from playing your goalie out.
  • Assuming your goalie comfortable coming out to the edge of the center circle, make sure that she is not too slow to retreat. It is still the duty of the defenders to prevent the offensive players and ball from penetrating close to the goal. The goalie should always be the last defender. Your goalie should never find herself playing ahead of a field player.
  • By playing the goalie out, you will force your defenders to play further up as well. This, in turn, will result in more players playing closer to the opponent’s goal which will lead to more scoring opportunities.
  • I always liked rewarding my goalie by having them take all goal kicks and free kicks in the defensive half of the field. This made the goalie feel more involved. By taking the free kicks, the goalie played further out from goal.
  • Make sure your goalie never dribbles around an offensive player. If she does and loses the ball, a goal will most likely be scored. Her main role when playing outside the penalty box is to stop breakaways. If she receives a ball with little or no pressure, have her control it first and then make a nice pass. No dribbling!
  • When clearing a breakaway, make sure the she kicks the ball out toward the touch line. You would rather give up a throw-in than risk the clearance hitting off the offensive player and ricocheting toward your own goal.

Offensive Strategy

Playing against a good goalie that plays far out from goal puts an offensive team at a huge disadvantage. However, there are several ways to counteract this play:

  • Since the goalie will usually get to any through balls first, limit those types of passes. Instead have the offensive team dribble more or make shorter passes. By keeping the ball closer to the offensive players’ feet, the goalie will be forced to retreat.
  • Any long balls should be passed down the wings and not up the middle. Passing the ball down the wings will put the goalie in a quandary. If the goalie decides to go after this pass, she will end up much further from goal than a ball passed up in the middle. Make the goalie think twice about going after balls kicked to the wings.
  • Instead of your center forward playing near to the last defender, play him close to the goalie. Naturally the forward will be in an offside position if the ball is kicked to him, but see how the other team counters this strategy. You may get lucky and get the defenders to retreat which will force the goalie closer to her goal. At the expense of a few offside calls, try to get the other team to change their strategy.