With the new season beginning this week, we want to sharpen our keepers and dust off some of the inevitable rust gained over the winter break.

In this session we worked on the basics for the younger keepers – catching, reflexes, and Angles.

As in most sessions, we finished with a game of “keeper frisbee” – see below.

Each group begins with a thorough warm up 

Youngers keepers – 2007-2010

Three session points for this session;

  • Catching – in pairs
  • reverse-reflex agilty
  • Angles – the “set” position and judging angles

Finish off with 15 mins Keeper (American) frisbee

Why we like keeper frisbee for young goalkeepers

Session Details

Catching – in pairs, high thrown or kicked ball

Set the keepers up in pairs, about 5 yrds apart. Give each pair a ball, and have them throw the ball to each other at varying heights, to make the catch. Explain the various hand- shapes required, and coach technique.

Vary it by allowing “gentle” kicked shots, from 7-10 yards.

Introduce variations which speed up brain function – for example, place them in a line and have them throw to each other while catching a second ball thrown by coach.

Reverse-reflex – agility exercise

We start with reverse-reflex, where 3-5 keepers stand next to each other on the line, but facing away from coach.

On the call of “go”, all keepers flip around to face the coach, and ready for a thrown or kicked “save”.

Coach throws towards one keeper.

Only one will make the save, the others expected to go down on one knee.

The purpose of the drill is to sharpen the reflexes – the keeper goes from seeing nothing to having to find the ball, judge its flight, the intensity of shot, and whether it’s shot at them (make the save) or a colleague (and go down on one knee).

This is a great drill for sharpening reflexes, and also for driving home other lessons which have been covered in the session. The coach can see if the keeper moves their feet quickly and precisely, makes good decisions (save or kneel) and picks the ball out quickly.

After 8-10 attempts, some with thrown “shots” some with kicked shots, the keepers will all be sharper and faster and more decisive. They also learn to cope with “obstructions” – other players also going for the ball, and how to deal with the melee of a goalmouth.

Positioning – practicing the correct “set” position and angles

Keepers line up behind one post. The coach prepares a number of balls from different angles to goal, and chooses one to shoot from.

The first keeper moves from the post towards the best “set” position, providing the best “angle” between goal and shooter.

Once the coach has made the shot, the next keeper readies for the coach to choose a new shooting location.

Once in place, the coach shouts “set” and the next keeper chooses a “set” position.

try from different angles, and different distances, with chip shots and high/low drives.

Each keeper has a range of locations.

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.