One of the most nerve-jangling things for a keeper is to face a striker all alone, wither without the ball – the dreaded “one versus one”.
By one v one we consider any situation where the keeper has to face a lone striker. So that included penalty kicks, as well as “break aways”.
So forget everything you think about 1v1’s, and face the reality.
The striker should score MOST of the time. We tell our keepers to expect to be successful, one in three occasions. Thats to say, about 33% of the time.
So in a Penalty shootout, best of five, we expect them to save 1 out of the five, and perhaps two (ie 1/3 or 2/6). If they get two, we should win the shootout. No pressure!
Same for breakaways. One in three. Thats all we expect. So, actually, NO PRESSURE. The pressure should all be on the striker. They are expected to score. The keeper just has to do their best.
So in this drill we try to arm them with the ideas to best cope with each situation. Because every situation will be very different.
We have one keeper in goal, on their natural resting place for the ball around 30-40 yards from goal – the halfway line.
Another keeper plays striker, and they run in when the coach shouts go. The ball is played through by the coach from 30-40yrds (depending how much space you have) from different parts of the field – central, wide, etc.
The keeper has to choose whether to come for it, and pick it up inside the area, or kick it if outside. If the striker gets the ball early and is dribbling, the keeper has to decide how far to come out “and narrow the angle” and what what angle to take to best cover the goal.
To give them confidence, the first ball is kicked hard enough to easily make the area before the striker gets to it.
The following through balls are more difficult, dropping just short of the box forcing a decision – kick, dribble, but NOT pick up.
Add the odd ball straight to the striker who then dribbles – a proper 1v1.
This is where the challenge really comes, and the keeper has to judge where to come out to – we prefer staying inside the penalty box as much as possible, to retain “the arms”, and make yourself “big”.
In this sequence of images we show how the keeper can make themselves big, making it hard for the striker to choose – shoot, chip, or dribble “round” the keeper. We show how getting close to the striker narrows the angle – limiting the amount of goal the striker can see clearly – compared to staying on, or retreating to the line, which allows the striker to see almost all the goal.
Tips for coaches – Confidence Cohesion Technique
Any coach can utilize these drills with their keeper. The objectives are the same – enhance footwork, follow the ball better with the eyes, and judge the flight of the ball.
A coach can use any one of the drills independently, and involve multiple players, especially attackers, to sharpen their skills too.
Employ 1v1 in your regular practice sessions – this will help your strikers as much as your keeper, and keep it “real” for the keeper.
Try to encourage the keeper to use these skills – their footwork, their eyes and reflexes, and be brave to make the judgement calls and decisions that will come up regularly in games.