Knee-down behind the ball

We’ve all done it – bit slow to get our feet in position, not quite behind the ball, thinking “this is an easy, soft shot, rolling along the ground “….. then, WHAM!! it’s in the net.

All we can do is drop to our knees and feel terrible… and wait for the criticism……

The trials of being a keeper

So what should we have done?….

Well, remember there are NO right or wrongs in goalkeeping – just good, better and worse solutions.

Sometimes just reaching down for a shot, and getting our hands behind it, is sufficient – no one would ever know we took a risk.

In this post, we’ll discuss a better method – getting the knee down behind the ball to make sure it doesn’t sneak past us, through our legs, and into the goal.

The Drill

The coach faces the standing keeper and takes a shot (or rolls the ball)along the ground, towards the keeper.

The keeper sees the shot and moves their feet behind the ball, then drops a knee towards the ground, to get behind the ball, ready to make the save.

Put your hands down towards the ball, in the normal hand shape.

Try to drop the knee which is on the opposite side to the path of the ball – if the path of the ball is on your right side, drop your left leg, and vice versa.

When the ball arrives at your hands, your knee should be down low or on the ground, and your hands safely behind the ball to make the save.

Make sure you’re balanced, try not to fall on top, or over the ball – if you do it may still go under you and into the net!

As you get older, you can drop your knee towards the ground, BUT NOT actually rest it full on the ground – this will give you more mobility in case the ball suddenly changes direction – if it hits another player for instance.

This technique takes practice, but it’s well worth it – to avoid those horrible moments….

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.