All keepers have weaknesses, and those often create nightmares. Mistakes can repeat, and even destroy careers. In this post we look at one of the most common – the daisy-cutter or “Yorker“. These are balls that keep low or bounce just in front of the keeper. In our humble opinion this is the most difficult ball for a keeper to cope with. In this drill we practice dealing with the Yorker ball.
The low ball which pitches or bounces just in front of the keeper, is the nightmare ball. It’s often travelling very fast, with spin and swerve, and can kick-up at you when it hits bumpy ground. It needs a lot of respect, even if it’s just rolling quite slowly towards you.
The coach (or better still, a player with a good shooting technique) relies several balls on the edge of the penalty area, about 18-20 yards from goal. The keeper stands on the goal-line.
The coach aims their shot to land or pitch just in front of the keeper, about 1-2 yards in front. The ball should be hit with some force, and it’ll take a few tries to perfect the shot.
The coach should add the occasional high shot or chip, just to keep the keeper “honest”. Otherwise they will begin to ready for the low “Yorker” ball and become complacent.
This drill, done 5-10 times, will certainly test a keeper and over time their confidence will grow. Each shot, pitching in a different spot on the goal mouth, will behave differently. Some will hit a bump and move erratically. others will keep very low (cutting the daisies!) while the odd ball hit with some spin will swerve in the air or move away from the keeper to the side.
We offer some tips on how to deal with these shots here
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.
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.