I took a goalkeeping coaching session for a side local to me. The age group I was coaching were the U12’s. They were grassroots/amateur level who play recreationally and are not at any professional academy clubs.The exercise I chose to use was the exercise below that was designed by Andy Barlow and is available on the PFA’s website.
I felt this exercise would be a good exercise to use as it involves 7 players in total and can be rotated, therefore it is useful not just for the goalkeepers but also for the rest of the team, as it is important to keep players involved as much as possible when coaching children (Carr, 2006). On the plan above, only one goalkeeper is used, however I opted to use both goalkeepers we have in the squad, and they would change after each go. This again made sure everyone remained involved and interested in this drill. I think the positives of this drill were to begin with were that the attackers are restricted to shooting from a distance therefore it allowed the goalkeepers to position themselves well, set themselves and be in good positions to save the shots. One negative I found about this though was that as the exercise is designed for adults, some of the lads weren’t generating enough power on their shots to properly test the goalkeeper. After one round, I brought the area in slightly, as on the plan the whole 18 yard box is being used. I brought the area in with some cones to bring the lads around 15 yards in. That meant that even if the lads were shooting from distance, they would be 2-3 yards closer to the goalkeeper which would mean they would be getting off better shots and also testing the goalkeeper more.
I feel in general the exercise went well, however on reflection I should have marked the 15 yard area from the start as to not interrupt the exercise and disrupt the momentum the players were achieving. In terms of what the exercise set out to achieve I feel it was fairly successful. I think the positives were the amount of players involved as it created a more game like drill that can be replicated in a match. This is important, as if training exercises can be replicated in game it can be a lot more transferrable and can improve players match performance (Curneen, 2013). The possible negatives of this exercise is that although this is a goalkeeping exercise, it may not be intense enough for goalkeepers of this standard, and they may have benefited from a more one to one type session with myself rather than a team based session.
Curneen, G. (2013) The modern soccer coach 2014: A four dimensional approach. London, England: Bennion Kearny.
Carr, T. (2006) How to coach a soccer team. Sterling.