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Better positioning for the goalkeeper

Elvis Elvis

The goalkeeper position in soccer requires precise and skilled positioning around the goal. Quite often, his or her positioning directly influences the outcome of the game.

If you take the time to study the actions of goalkeepers, you’ll notice that a significant number of goals scored are a direct result of a keeper being in the wrong position as the soccer ball crept behind into the goal. In many instances, another keeper would have saved the shot.

Poor positioning by the goalkeeper.

When playing the goalkeeper position, keep yourself from falling into the trap of trying to cover the entire goal. A regulation soccer goal is 24 feet wide by 8 feet tall. There is absolutely no way that you’re going to be able to cover every inch. Instead, cut off the easiest and most direct scoring paths from your opponent, forcing him into making the most difficult of shots.

A common example of poor positioning by the goalkeeper comes when the keeper fails to cover the near post, moving more toward the middle of the goal to protect the entire goal, while a striker is shooting from the side closest the near post.

The angle taken by the striker makes it more difficult for him or her to score on the far post, but quite easy to score on the near post. As a goalkeeper, you have little time to move from your center goal position and defend this shot.

Better positioning for the goalkeeper

For this reason it is imperative that you move closer to the near post, taking the easiest shot away from the opponent and allowing the opponent a clearer, yet more difficult, shot at the far post.

Another example is when the opposing team has a free kick in a dangerous area. It is critically important for the goalkeeper to cover the post that the defending wall is not covering.

If you position yourself directly behind the defending wall of teammates you give yourself a better chance to defend a high kick over the “wall”. However, this is the offense’s most difficult angle as they need to kick the ball high enough to get it over the “wall”. Too much arch and the kick becomes a simple save regardless of where you are positioned.

If you position yourself at an angle where there is direct, open shot to the side of the defending wall, you not only remove that option as a possible scoring opportunity, but you also put yourself in a position to defend the high arch kick over the wall. Only the perfect line drive kick by your opponent over the wall has a chance to be a score.

Positioning to narrow the angles.

If you’re away from the shooter, he or she won’t have a difficult time kicking the soccer ball over or around you. Instead, he or she simply needs to aim the ball to the location where they’d like to score.

It is very important, particularly on one-on-one situations, for the goalkeeper to move into a position that narrows the shooter’s possible angles.

This is done by having you aggressively move toward the shooter. The closer you position yourself to the ball, the fewer number of options the shooter has because you’ve eliminated the angles above and to each side of yourself.

Good example of goalie positioning.

Peter Schmeichel of Manchester United is a great example of a goalkeeper whose positioning was virtually perfect.

During the 1990s, Manchester United’s success was in large part due to his excellent goalkeeping skills, including his excellent positioning. He was the master at properly positioning himself to block shots during one-on-one situations.

There are many different skills necessary to be an effective goalkeeper. However, positioning by the goalkeeper in critical situations can change a win into a tie and a tie into a defeat.

Be aware of where you are in the box, where your teammates are positioned, and where the shooting lanes for you opponents exist … and then position yourself to take them away.