Goalkeeper Keeps Rolling Ball to Our Opponents – Help!

Coach:  This weekend, my marked player and my highest rated player both were out this weekend, together with yet a third player. This left us playing without two strong players, and playing 8 on 9.

We ended up losing 3-0, but we played awfully well under those conditions. It really should have been 1-0, but our keepers handed them two goals. Both made good saves, and then rolled the ball directly at an opposing player who kicked in the easy goal. Do you have some suggestions on how to teach them in practice to roll to the side and roll to a teammate and not an opponent?

The other problem was that they ran out to the edge of the penalty area and stopped, waiting and waiting, almost to the point of an infraction. This gave the other team ample time to “gang up” on a keeper who can’t roll the ball much past the players now ganging up on them. How can I help them?

It’s actually a helpless feeling to see the girl at the edge of the box, in a very dangerous position, with little chance to roll the ball past the opponents. When they get in that predicament they have no idea what to do. I will definitely put aside some significant time to help them in coming weeks if you can give me some good things to try.

Karl:  Two question:

First, How much time have you spent with the GK practicing rolling the ball quickly to the side?

Remember…You can only expect actions that you have practiced over and over and over again until the action/technique becomes instinctive. Remember… How you have been able to get your field players to learn techniques? You must take the same approach with the GK..!

Second, Do you have anyone who can assist you in running the practice while you work with the GK? Like an assistant parent/coach?

Coach:   Answer to #1. How much have we practiced “rolling the ball quickly to the side”? We have had several practices that focused on basic keeper technique (standing save technique from your goalie book). This includes rolling the ball in these practices, basic keeper posture, “pinkies together”, “thumbs together”, etc.

These practices have used keepers in pairs (4 total). I probably missed it in your ‘FUNdamental Soccer Goalkeeper’ book, but I didn’t see anything in there about how to teach the rolling the ball quickly to the sides. I’ll take a look again at the book tonight. That’s really my main question. How can we practice that in practice that mimics game situations.

Karl: I am not a GK coach but let’s see if we can’t put the ‘9-Step Practice’ to work on your dilemma

Answer to #2.  I usually work with the keepers while the assistants work with the others during small sided games. I can get as many as 5 assistants if necessary. So if there is something we can work on that requires multiple folks, I can make that happen.

Karl:  First Let your assistance take care of the field players during the Routine.

Second, you will find the ‘bowling’ technique explained on pages 94-5 of my ‘FUNdamental Soccer Goalkeeping’ book.

…Now for you and your GK: Theme ‘Bowling the ball to the sides and maintaining possession!’

Step 1. Begin Practice by letting the team know that you will be focusing ‘strictly’ on the GK during this practice. All players must understand that you will be taking a different role during the upcoming practice.

Step 2. Warm-up the Keepers with the field players but rather than Dribbling the ball in the Figure 8 have them use the ‘bowling’ motion.

Step 3. 1+1 Cooperative Play – Let the keepers know that you will be giving them lots of detailed instructions about releasing the ball quickly to the side. Make sure that they understand that this is a new technique and they must be patient with you and themselves.

A. Have them count out 6 seconds. One-Mississippi, Two-Mississippi, Three-Mississippi, Four-Mississippi, Five-Mississippi, and Six-Mississippi.

B. Take them to the goal-line and ask them to start the 6 second count and have them see how far they can walk/run inside the penalty area during the 6 seconds.

C. Give them a ball and have them see how much territory they can cover, inside the penalty area, while counting out the six seconds.

What you are attempting to do is convince your GK that they have plenty of time to compose themselves and get the ball out to the end of the penalty area.

D. Serve easy balls to your keeper(s) and give them 6 seconds to release the ball (accurately) outside to either a target or player.
…In other words, “Time” becomes their opponent rather than actual opponents. Remember to make corrections during this phase of practice.

Step 4. 1vs.1 Competitive Play – Let the keepers know that you will not be giving any more instructions about releasing the ball to the side. Make sure they understand that you will be giving them 6 seconds to hit the targets placed on the outside and that you will be keeping score. They will receive points for releasing the ball within the 6 seconds and for hitting the target. And they will lose points for releasing the ball too soon, too late or for missing the target. Remember to make no corrections and just keep score.

Step 5. Half-time… Review the ‘rolling technique’ and cover some of the weaknesses you noticed during the 1vs.1 portion. Let them know that you will give them reminders on ‘rolling the ball’ during the Cooperative Small Sided Games and Scrimmage. But you will not give them reminders during the Competitive Small Sided Games and Scrimmage.

Step 6. Small Sided Games

Cooperative Small Sided Game – You may want to stand behind the goal and give instructions to help the GK perfect their outside roll. You must let the field players know that stoppages may occur for you correcting the GK.

Competitive Small Sided Game – You may want to stand behind the goal but do not give any instructions. (period) Take notes of the things that your GK needs to work on during the next practice to get better at rolling the ball to the sides accurately.

Step 7. Scrimmage

Cooperative Scrimmage – You may want to stand behind the goal and give instructions to help the GK perfect their outside roll. You must let the field players know that stoppages may occur for you correcting the GK.

Competitive Game – You may want to stand behind the goal but do not give any instructions. (period) Take notes of the things that your GK needs to work on during the next practice to get better at rolling the ball to the sides accurately.

Step 8. Cool-down — Compliment your GK (privately) on their progress of rolling the ball to the sides as they do some light stretching.

Step 9. End Practice — Compliment your GK (publicly) on their progress of rolling the ball to the sides and give them a ‘rolling the ball’ homework assignment.

Does this sound familiar? Yes, you should teach/treat GK technique training just like field player training. Successful repetition in practice is your Key to getting them to do it right in the actual game. And we know how successful your field players have become

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