Monday, 11 April 2011

Playing out from the Goalkeeper

In my work I get to see many games through the season.  This usually means watching grass-roots teams in the age range of Under 9 to Under 14.  These players are starting to move from skill acquisition into skill implementation through games.  One disappointing aspect of these games is the lack of encouragement for teams to play short from the goalkeeper.  I regularly see (9 times out of 10) the goalkeeper kick the ball long into the bedlam and clutter of midfield (where most players already know the ball is going). Unfortunately this does not seem to be recognised by coaches/managers/parents as the kick from the goalkeeper regularly goes without notice or comment.

When coaching a group of players in small and larger sized games, I try to emphasise the number of times possession is kept when kicking long against rolling out to say the full-back.  This can easily be achieved by initially playing a small game with equal numbers with a Goalkeeper being asked to play a long kick on 5 separate occasions, see which team gains possession and then start again. More often than not it will be 50/50, sometimes better or worse.  Then ask the goalkeeper to roll to the full-back 5 times and ask the players how many times out of 5 possession is retained.

To move this on I now use the session shown below (5 v 3) which represents a game realistic overload when the goalkeeper has possession and both teams are 'in balance'.  Have two target goals on both flanks representing the movement of possession from defence to midfield.

With the younger players you can have two coned off areas in the right and left back positions that act as both a visual marker for the position they can take up and a zone in which the attacking team (blues) cannot enter to encourage comfortable possession for the initial roll or pass from the goalkeeper.

Start the practice
  • Goalkeeper looks both ways to see best option for initial roll or pass
  • Full-backs create width by moving into cone zone
  • Centre backs try to occupy two of 3 blues

Encourage the red 2 & 3 to:

  • Be in a half turn body shape, look before receiving, first touch forward, can I run with or pass the ball?
  • Support Play of  GK, 5 and 6 if forward run or pass denied
  • If forward run or pass denied can I switch to opposite safe zone? (via the GK if necessary)
Game Realistic
Not one team one theme - Coach what you see!  So in transition phase encourage:
  • Positive quick transition if blues win the ball - shoot, keep possession, movement to create space for further shooting opportunity.
  • Positive, quick transition to defend for reds - win the ball back, block tackle, delay, deny and divert.
  • If success - remove cone zone and encourage same style or increase to 5v4
  • If success - encourage goal scoring in limited time
  • If no success - change numbers to 5 v 2 or give time limit before blues can 'engage'
  • If no success - modify size of area and/or cone zone
  • Move to full SSG and encourage both teams to play short from GK (re-emphasise the theme of the session)
Next Session
  • Linked to the previous session and progressive for the next session
  • Development and retention of possession
  • Use of centre backs to progress the play through mid-third (overload into midfield)

Recommended Reading - The Soccer Goalkeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide for Players and Coaches by Alex Welsh

Quote of the day - I've failed over & over & over again in my life & that is why I succeed. -Michael Jordan

Video of the day - Arsenal possession

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post and nice practice you have outlined. I have spent 2.5 seasons encouraging roll outs from GK but when we go free play in sessions, players often resort to the big kick, unless corrected (funnily enough, they tend not to do it as much in league games ?!). Is it part of the 'English' DNA???