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Coaching: Distribution – Dead ball kick

This is a big topic, that I have already alluded to in a previous post,, which highlighted that for a goalkeeper a large proportion of the match (approx 80%) concentrates on distribution. So it is indeed a subject worth covering…

There are 4 main types of distribution* for a young goalkeeper to master:
Goalkicks (‘Dead ball kicking’);
Volley (‘Kicking from hands’);
Over arm throw-out; and
Under arm roll-out.

{*Other distribution techniques to learn later will be the half volley and dribble & drive}

I shall then over the next few blog postings look at each one of these, showing basic technique and giving an idea of a training exercise (which can be expanded on).

To start with then lets look at the most difficult of distribution techniques: Dead ball kicking.

First the technique:

To save repeating myself please go to:

  • which discussed the use of Imagery scripts in use at the Academy and how my daughter used it to help her improve her dead ball kicking; and
  • which showed an example of an imagery script for a dead ball from one of our Student Goalkeepers and how it could be improved.

You as a coach could teach the basics of kicking a dead ball, using the examples from and then get your Students to write their own imagery script. Then, once written you could get them to demonstrate their technique in line with their script. This is a good bench mark for you and the keeper as you can see what they think is the right technique and then you can improve on each part of it as needs be, whether that be the number of steps to run up (2, 4 or 6),capered of run, part of the foot to kick with, follow through, looking at the ball etc…

Some useful exercises:

  • To aid them with getting height with the ball and encourage them to get their foot under the ball, you may wish to put an obstacle in the way to challenge them to kick the ball over the object;
  • One from the Soccer AM archives… you could do the ‘Cross-Bar Challenge’, to encourage height, distance and accuracy – Give them the cross-bar to aim from varying (appropriate) distances (penalty spot, 18 yard box, half way line); and
  • For game scenario accuracy, kicking the dead ball to a target area – Set out a box with marker cones on different parts of the field at appropriate long/short distances to the left/center/right of the field. place a coach/keeper/player in that box to collect the ball with hands/feet. If using another keeper they could work together kicking the ball to each other in boxes/target areas whilst you as a coach look on/or assist.

Finally don’t be scared of going back to basics with the Goalkeepers, that includes new staters and those more experienced keepers having a few difficulties. That you could get them to kick/chip the ball from a standing start (no steps) with foot in position next to the ball ready to chip the ball. This can help focus on the right part of the foot to kick with. When they have kicked the ball like this a few times and gaining confidence, then get them to take 2 steps back… then 4 (even number of steps). However if they do then have trouble at 4 or 2 steps take it back to no steps to gain their confidence.

Perfecting Dead Balls is about practice, routine… and a lot of patience. If at first you don’t succeed… Eventually you will! 😉

Punch or Catch?

In the Liverpool vs Brighton and Hove Albion FA Cup match, we saw Peter Brezovan decide to Punch out in front of Goal rather than catch the ball. The result of which was that the ball was punched out to a Liverpool player. Which then came back into the danger zone and a couple of defensive errors later the ball was in the back of the net.

The commentators suggested that he (Brezovan) should have caught the ball. And even though in a previous blog I suggested that commentators should think about doing a goalkeeper coaching course, this time I agreed with them. He was at the right height to catch the ball. What’s more if you are going to Punch the ball you should at least make sure you punch it out to a great distance or to the side of the goal. This was seen where Tom Heaton of Cardiff City against the same team, Liverpool in the Carling Cup Final, punched strongly away from goal. Or as also seen in this picture where Jamie Langfield of Aberdeen punched the ball clear after being under immense pressure from Dundee United in the CIS Cup.

image from

However sometimes making the right call of punching doesn’t work out, as David Forde of Millwall found out in the match against West Ham. It was the correct decision made to punch especially with the pressured situation he was in, however like Peter Brezovan, the execution was not great.

Let’s not hold it against these keepers, as mistakes are made and as goalkeepers we live by our decisions. Bette still that we learn from these experiences and develop. Besides, when it comes to deciding whether to punch or catch often it’s an instinctive reaction that when executed correctly has great impact.

image from

Coaching punching technique is the easy part. However this is another example of how imagery scripts can help in the decision-making process. By imagining different situations and how you would react to each and in training this in the mind so that when faced with such a situation you are as ready as you can be. But that then is the difficult part as however much we train our minds there can always be ‘that’ situation that we haven’t trained for that such a split second decision is made… With 1 of 2 outcomes… We can only pray it’s a good one! 😉

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