Vocal. Agile. Sharp. These are a few traits every goalkeeper should work to develop. Goalkeepers are the only player on the soccer pitch that can see the entire field in front of them.
Communication can go a long way between a goalkeeper and field players. Goalkeepers should call out everything that’s happening in front of them.
- To their defenders, goalkeepers should relay when an opposing forward is making a run inside the box.
- To their midfielders, goalkeepers can signal when it’s time to move up the pitch to attack.
Goalie positioning is also important to study. Being in the right place at the right time is crucial to make a save. Those saves can be up or down, left or right. Positioning yourself at the right spot inside the box can help you make a big stop.
Ultimately, you’ll call out to your teammates when it’s time to set up a play. Erik Eisenhut, a Division I goalkeeper coach and trainer, talked with Pro Tips about different scenarios you might face, how to adjust for those situations and how to communicate with teammates.
PREPARING FOR A FREE KICK
Eisenhut says that the first step for a goalkeeper on a free kick is setting up a wall.
To set up a defensive wall, you have to communicate how many players you want for the wall. While there is no exact number, it’s encouraged that four or five players line up for a wall.
Once you decide how many players will complete the wall, you’ll communicate to them how they will position themselves on the pitch. Eisenhut says that goalkeepers will position wall players from the near post. One player will turn and face the goalkeeper, so communication is direct and understood. Be sure to use a loud, clear voice when speaking. It’s important to be vocal in communicating where the players should be for the kick.
With your wall players set, it’s time to get yourself into position.
“If a free kick is being taken on the right side of the pitch, avoid going near the closest post to the ball, because that is where the wall is positioned,” Eisenhut says. “Be sure to position yourself so you are able to see the ball around the wall. Same goes with the left side. You’re going to be slightly toward the far post, to the side that is not covered by the wall.”
SETTING UP FOR A CORNER KICK
Another situation that requires you to be vocal and take command of the setup is a corner kick. This is when the opposing team kicks the ball from one of the corners of the pitch and into the box. Eisenhut says your setup should involve putting players in a spot to block the ball.
“Options are having a person on the front and back post, maybe a man-to-man marking or a zone defensive scheme,” he says. “On corner kicks, goalkeepers will usually have the opportunity to either vertically jump to catch or punch the ball.”
However, according to Eisenhut, catching is the preferred option. By catching the ball, you have the opportunity to throw or roll the ball out to a teammate. Punching the ball could give the opposition another chance to strike toward goal.
Looking to learn the proper technique for rolling, throwing and punting the ball? Eisenhut breaks down all three options and how to successfully keep possession of the ball with these goalkeeper tips.
STAYING AWARE AT ALL TIMES
When your team has possession on the opposing team’s half of the pitch, goalkeepers still need to be aware. There is always an opportunity for the opposing team to take the ball and go on a breakaway play. Being aware and keeping constant communication is crucial for goalkeepers, even when they’re not asked to make a save.
“There’s more room to come off your line and move closer, and outside of, the top of the penalty area with the ball in the opponent’s half,” Eisenhut says. “However, be alert in case of a counterattack or long-range pass.”
Remember to call out to your teammates if you see opposing players making a run. Goalkeepers can also announce to their teammates when to push up the pitch to attack and when to pull back to defend.
Always keep good goalkeeping posture when preparing for any situation you may face. To learn proper goalkeeper posture and ball-handling technique, check out these additional Pro Tips from Eisenhut.