Pressing times – Does a goalkeeper press forward or not?

I had a tweet this week from @Pumpherston_Utd who asked me if I had any tips on GK decision making for youngsters and to explain what the trigger is for when to stay, when to press out. So as promised, this week I shall hopefully provide some answers…

Of course in Goalkeeping there are a number of triggers for a Goalkeeper to know all dependent on the situation they face, such as the trigger to rush out in a 1v1 situation; the trigger of when to stay put or not for a cross or high ball; and the one we are going to look at here, that being the triggers related to positioning during phases of play and whether to press forward or not.

There are many schools of thought, but ultimately they are all dependent on where the action is on the pitch, however for our young student keepers we need to start with the easiest example.

First of all we need to imagine the pitch being split into 3rds:

So now we look at where a goalkeeper should position themselves in relation to where the action is on the pitch. However, in all these instances the Goalkeeper shall need to follow the movement on the pitch moving left and right in line with the ball and the goal… 

First lets look at action in the 3rd closest to the goal:

As in the diagram, for instances where the action is in this 3rd nearest the goal, the goalkeeper would position themselves in the 6 yard box (marked in Red). However remember that the Goalkeeper should look to stand off their goal line, not too far off the line that could allow the opposition to chip over their head and not to far back that they look too small in goal or that they can’t step back if need be.

If action then moves into the middle 3rd:

As in this diagram, for instances where the action is in the middle 3rd, the goalkeeper would position themselves in the 18 yard box (marked in Red). Remembering that if the action changes and comes back into the closest third to start moving back into the 6 yard box as described in the first example.

Finally if action moves into the final 3rd:

This time the goalkeeper can come forward and sit around the D next to the 18 yard box (marked as a Red blob) for instances where the action is in the final 3rd. The Goalkeeper is almost acting like a sweeper. That sometimes where the ball is played over the top the Goalkeeper may be closer than the defenders to come out and kick the ball back up the pitch. But they must only do this if they are able to do so, confident enough to distribute the ball, and agile enough to get back to protect their Goalkeeping line.

Movement from the goal and back to the goal line, when to stay and when to press is then all dependent on those triggers of seeing where the action is on the pitch. Not just moving based on the 3rds but also across the pitch in line with the ball.

This is just the basics, for those young student Goalkeepers and should help them to begin  to appreciate where they need to think about positioning themselves. Then as they get older, more agile and more confident, they may perhaps have a better understanding of the game, reading it better, Perhaps like my daughter, who now moves further forward (if safe to do so) – quickly moving back and forth with the action… it also keeps her warmer in the winter! 😉

I hope this helps. Happy Goalkeeping! 😉

Posted on Sun 20 May 2012, in Goalkeeper Coaching, Goalkeeper Development and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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