Goalies: How to command your area

by Ivan Bobanovic | Last updated

Goalie’s not only have to guard their net, but the penalty area as well.  The penalty area is the one area on the filed where one player has an advantage over all other players — that being that the goalie can use his/her hands. With this advantage come responsibility.  Goalie’s must develop the role of an army general and control the area.

As a defender, there is no better feeling than knowing your goalie is the boss of the penalty area.  Having this confidence in a goalie increases the entire teams confidence as well.

The 4 most important things for a goalie to think about when talking about commanding the penalty area is this:

1. Position

2. Judgment

3. Technique

4. Communication with your defenders

It’s very important to maintain the proper position at all times.  Wherever the ball might be, you must be aware of where your defenders are and where the attackers of the opposing team are.  When the opposing player has the ball at their feet, never take your eyes off of them.  The reason for this is that these players can take a shot on net at any second and catch you off guard if you’re not prepared.  And so, your number one responsibility as a goalie is to know exactly where you are standing in proportion to your net in order to protect it.

When an attacker is approaching the goal, it is crucial that the goalie communicates with the defender and tells him/her which way to push the attacker.  For example, if the attacker is being forced to the far post, the goalie can position himself accordingly in order to make a save at the far post, rather than having to guess which way to jump.  IT is much easier to defend and make a save this way.  This takes a lot of practice and a lot of understanding between a defender and a forward.

Many goalie’s are unsure of where to position themselves for corner kicks.  The first thing to know is that you need to position yourself differently for an in-swinging corner kick (curling towards the net), than you do for an out-swinging corner kick (curling away from the net).  When it is in-swinging, the goalie should stand closer to their goal line in order to protect the net better.

When the corner is out-swinging, the goalie is allowed to stand further away from the goal line, say 2-3 meters.  This way you put yourself in the position – ahead of time – to make a play on the ball.

What about catching the ball in corner kicks?  First, it is important to catch the ball at the highest point of your jump.  The reason is simple, when you are at the highest point og your jump and you extend your arms, you are most likely able to reach a ball before any other player with their head.  And when catching the ball, make sure to put your thumbs behind the ball to assure it doesn’t slip through.  If however you are unsure you will be able to catch the ball, punch it at the highest point.  Clearing the ball out of your area with a punch is an excellent means of defense.

Now I often hear about goalie’s struggles in the box when going into the air, mainly about protecting themselves.  Use your knee.  When going up for a ball, raise your knee to protect yourself from any incoming danger.

Call for the ball when you decide to come out for it.  In fact, SCREAM for it.  When you scream for the ball, it helps your defenders know where you are and what you are doing.  What this also does is scare any attackers from going for the ball.  When you are going for the ball and you here someone scream GOALIES BALL…I bet you think twice about jumping.

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