Goalkeeping Position One
Ready Position - Dealing With Shots and Basic HandlingThe Ready position is the stance the goalkeeper adopts when making saves or dealing with situations that arise throughout a game. See diagram 1 below for front view and diagram 2 for side view.
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Knees slightly bent to 60 degrees
- Weight transferred to the balls of the feet
- Elbows tucked into the waist
- Hands waist height and shoulder-width apart
- Hands making the shape of the ball
- Head slightly forwards, fixed and firm
- As the attacker begins to shoot the keeper widens his feet position.
- Hands prepare to catch the ball.
- For a catch above the waist level, the thumbs come together so that the hands make a “W” formation, with the fingers spread wide and in front of the bodyline with the elbows tucked into the waist giving a tighter grip. See Diagram 3.
- Tucked-in elbows act as shock absorbers when catching the ball at speed.
- For a catch below waist level, the hands lower and the little fingers comes together to make an “M” formation with the fingers spread wide, again in front of the bodyline with the elbows tucked in. See Diagram 4
- The left foot is placed forward of the right or vice versa, depending on the position of the ball.
- Body and hands remain the same as goalkeeping position one.
- As the ball is played, the keeper must first quickly access the position of play and the direction the ball has travelled on the pitch.
- Once assessed, he can move forwards, backwards or sideways, depending on his decision.
- Balance is essential at all times.
- Balanced and prepared to react in any direction.
- Knees bent at 45 degrees.
- Hand position slightly lower with palms open.
- Used in 1v1 situations when the ball is played through and the goalkeeper becomes closer to the ball. By attacking the ball from this stance see diagram 1, the keeper will be able to drop to either side quickly by diving across and forwards.
- Know the location of the goalposts
- Stay on line between the centre of the goal and the ball
- Move far enough off the line to cover the angle to each post
- Be aware of balls over the head when way off the line
- At sharp angles, always play outside the near post
- Not checking the goalposts frequently
- Staying planted on the goal line
- Standing inside the near post on sharp-angled shots
- Moving into line
- Moving down the line
Goalkeeping Position Two: General Play
Goalkeeping position two – scenario:
Goalkeeping Position Three: Low Stance
Along with footwork and good catching skills, positioning provides the foundation of good goalkeeping. A keeper who is always in position makes it look like every shot goes right to them, because the shooter has nowhere else to put the ball. Poor positioning leaves vast areas of net for a shooter, or even an empty net.Basic Positioning Principles
First, to position themselves accurately, the goalkeeper must know where the goal is! It sounds obvious, but during the scramble of a game a keeper can lose track. When the play starts moving towards the goal, the first thing the keeper must do is check the posts to make sure they are starting off with good position. Then, whenever they can divert their attention for a split second, they should check the posts again to make sure they've maintained that good position in the face of a moving ball.
Second, the goalkeeper must always try to position themselves on an imaginary line that runs from the centre of the goal to the ball (Fig. 1). This puts them in position to get to either post equally well. The centre line determines the side-to-side positioning.
Third, the goalkeeper must position themselves far enough off the goal line to cover the angle created by the ball and both posts. They should be able to cover either post with a couple of quick steps (footwork!) and a dive if necessary (Fig. 2). The angle and the keeper's ability determine the forward/backward positioning. Many young or timid goalkeepers tend to stay very close to the goal line - sometimes right on it. They must be taught to come off the line if they are to cover any shots near the posts.
How far out a goalkeeper must come depends on their size and ability - smaller goalkeepers or keepers with a poor range will need to come farther out to be able to cover the entire angle.
But don't forget the third dimension not represented in these pictures: height. A keeper who is far off their line is more likely to be beaten by a chip over their head, so that must also be put into the equation. The keeper must adjust the forward/backward position so that they're confident they won't be beaten easily over the top.Positioning Around the Goal
The goalkeeper must constantly adjust his or her position as they move around the goal. Let's look at what happens as the ball changes spots.
At a tight angle, with the ball near the touch line, the angle the keeper needs to cover is very small, so they can stay near their goal. However, the keeper must stay outside the near post. This will prevent them from deflecting a shot into their own net inside the near post. At sharp angles the goalkeeper should always position themselves so any ball they deflect at a right angle (they should already be square to the ball) will go outside the near post.
Here's a quick way for goalkeepers to tell if they are outside the near post: if the goalkeeper, while square to the ball, points their arms straight out sideways, the arm nearest the goal should be pointing outside the near post. If it is pointing into the net, the keeper needs to take another step or two out from goal.
As the ball moves further out onto the soccer field, the near post is not as much of a concern any more, but the keeper must move further out to cover the angle.
Figure 3 shows conceptually where a keeper should be positioned (red dots) as the ball (black dots) moves around the edge of the penalty area. The blue line shows the shape this makes. The actual size of the arc will differ depending on the size and skill of a particular keeper, but the general shape will remain the same. (The angle lines are only drawn on the left side of the illustration to avoid clutter.)
If we look at the top of the arc, though, we notice that the keeper is very far off the line (sometimes 10-12 yards out!) and likely to get chipped, especially if they're not very tall. So we need to adjust the top of the arc to account for high balls. The top of the arc gets flattened, bringing the keeper back to a position where they have a chance to get to any ball over their head (Fig. 4). Again, the exact position will depend on the size and skill of the player. Shorter, less skilled keepers will be more comfortable closer to the goal line; others may be comfortable closer to the six.
Some goalkeeping coaches call this concept the "Arc Angle". It can easily be demonstrated on the soccer field with three ropes about 50 feet long, one attached to each post and one to a stake at the middle of the goal line. Place the ball at varying spots around the penalty area and have the keeper find their position, then place a cone there. When the exercise is finished, the cones will show that keeper's arc as in Figure 3. Adjust for chip shots and you'll end up with the keeper's arc as in Figure 4.
A goalkeeper should learn this arc and use it as a general guideline for how they position themselves as the ball moves. Notice that this arc roughly follows the goal box. Make sure the goalkeeper notes how their own arc matches or differs from the goal box, so they can use the goal box as a reference during practices and games. However, do not let a goalkeeper, especially a young one, think they must move along this arc at all times. If the ball quickly changes position, they must move as quickly as possible to cover the new position, cutting across the box if necessary.
Also, remember a given keeper's arc will change as they gain size, strength and ability. You may want to run the exercise with the ropes once a season to see if their arc has changed.
Quick Summary - Positioning:
Mistakes to Watch For:
Goalkeepers who take up the correct position in relation to the ball will reduce the size of the goal, giving them the maximum opportunity in stopping a shot. Depending on the distance and the angle, all keepers will tend to work at a distance of 4 yards from their line when shot stopping. This will create an arc from the post when the keeper is moving into line and down the line.
Making the goal look big
Making the goal look small by moving down the line
The two main elements of positioning are:
If the ball is central to the goal, by moving into line the goalkeeper places himself to the middle of the ball. However, if the ball is in the wider position, then the goalkeepers near post will become priority. Because this area is more venerable, the goalkeeper will have a smaller near- post area to cover, leaving a larger far-post area. This gives the goalkeeper one step to cover the near-post shot, and a step plus a dive to cover the far post.Moving Down the line
After achieving the correct positioning into line with the ball, the next stage is to move down the line. This reduces the size of the goal for the forward to shoot at. The goalkeeper must make the right decision as to when and where to stop when moving into the ball. Not moving far enough, and he will not cover the entire goal; moving to far and he becomes vulnerable to be chipped shot over him.
Changing the goalkeeper’s angle in relation to the position of the ball. In the second pictures, the keeper steps across and then down the line to reduce the goal scoring opportunity.