Know Your Position Inbetween The Sticks

Sheffield Wednesday’s Steven Fletcher scores their first goal.

To get to the top of your game as a goalkeeper, it is essential you know where to position yourself in the box. Your body and mind must be at one, prepared to react to any form of attack. Having the agility of a cat is one thing, but a first-class keeper must possess undeniable vision and awareness. Being able to fully understand your angles during a match requires practice, there’s no denying it! However with dedication and the right guidance, any aspiring keeper can begin to understand what it takes to really own their goal-line!

Starting Stance

It might be the case that over the course of 90 minutes your area sees little action, and as boring as this might be, you must always be aware of your stance. Make sure you’re not rooted to the ground, you must have dynamic stability and be constantly balanced and ready. Keep your feet shoulder width apart with your weight on the balls of your feet. Keep your head steady and your shoulders square to the ball. Wherever the ball is on the pitch, keep your body moving to prevent switching off!

Angle Play

World-class keepers are always aware of their angles. You must be concerned with your left and right, near post and far post and any balls coming over-the-top. When an opponent is approaching your goal-line consider the speed of the attacker, the likely speed of the shot and the likely direction and path of the ball. If possible study your opponents before the game, get to know which attackers are prone for attempting the lob or love going for the driven strike. Your motion and moves should be in synch with the ball. When the ball is in motion, so are you. When the ball is stationary, so are you.

Controlling the line

As a keeper you need to have total control of your goal-line and a tactical understanding of the game. Whatever the set-play, communicate with your teammates. If there’s a corner, position two players on each post. If there’s a free-kick, build your wall. Quick vertical and lateral movements are essential to making the line your own. Be confident on the ball, and not just with your hands – there will always be an occasion when you’ll have to control and play the ball with your feet.

It is important to remember that not all keepers are the same. What works for you, might not work for others – and visa versa. With persistence and dedication, any aspiring goal-keeper can grasp the basics of positioning in the box. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your gloves and get yourself in between the sticks!

 

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