The goalkeeper is often the bedrock to a successful football team. With a capable and confident goalkeeper behind them, a team can play with free-flowing confidence and belief, knowing that their ‘back is covered’. Yet, sometimes, goalkeeper training is basic and limited.
Andy Elleray is the author of a number of goalkeeper training books; get the lowdown with two of his goalkeeper development drills, below.
Goalkeeper Training | Exercise 2
Goalkeeping Themes: Warm-up – handling and distribution actions.
Practice Objectives: To allow the GK to go through a selection of movements, handling opportunities, and foot contacts.
Description: GK starts behind a mannequin (or pole/cones) and travels in front to receive a strike, in and around their body. They then travel backwards behind the mannequin for a 1-2 pass to the opposite side. The final action is a travel back from action 2 into a dive from the server (any height).
Vary the angles and distances of the service.
Build in other actions – for example, specific movement patterns related to a session’s topic.
Technical: Consistency and detail of handling and footwork | Efficiency of footwork patterns
Psychological: Concentration relating to all four actions (all at a high standard) | Decision-making for the handling technique to use and where/when to set themselves
Physical: If travelling a short distance, keep hands closer to the body | Focus on balanced and co-ordinated movement with upper body still | Ability to decelerate to be in a set position
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Goalkeeper Training | Exercise 7
Goalkeeping Themes: Distribution with central shot stopping.
Practice Objectives: To challenge the GK’s speed of thought in making different kinds of saves along with igniting attacks (transitional focus).
Description: The GK starts with the ball outside the line of the post; they play the ball (driven, clip, or drilled pass) to the server. The GK follows their pass into the goal mouth. The server will take a touch and then look to score after this initial contact. If the GK claims the ball, they can distribute into the small mini goal or target area. If the ball is left in the penalty area (or playing area) after the GK’s initial contact, they can look to rebounds, giving the GK a recovery save/decision.
Change distribution length to work on counter attacking methods.
Take out, or move, mannequins to provide different vision blockers.
Technical: Initial consistency, weight, and direction of the distribution to the server | Technical response to the initial shot on goal |Individual effectiveness to defend the goal
Tactical: Ability to adjust position in the goal depending on the server’s first touch | Decision off the GK’s first contact on the ball – recovery save or defend the goal | Positioning in relation to the mannequins (defenders)
Psychological: Adaptability to assess the changes of movement of the ball, picking up the relevant cues to advance/drop etc. | Save selection decision – appropriateness and the speed with which this is done
Physical: Focus on body control (balance/co-ordination) | Speed to engage the ball if necessary on recovery saves | Arm and lower limb extension | Head as close to the ball as possible on lateral saves (diving, jumping, and leg saves)
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These two exercises are excerpts from Andy Elleray’s book 101 Goalkeeper Training Practices
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