Stefan Frei’s mistake, similar to the Robert Green’s error in World Cup 2010 in the application of the front smother, where the ball deflects to the side and in the goal, leaves me thinking about whether goalkeeper coaches should think differently about teaching tucking the knee as the go-to in their goalkeeper training.  Should the wide-footed approach have equal say? Yes, the nutmeg is a risk, however, in situations where it is vital to have the hands behind the ball first it may a better technique. Thoughts?

Adrian Clewlow – J4K of Central Virginia “The ball moved a bit, but I think Frei committed to the bent knee too early. He is too deep in his net for a strike from that far out (granted, I don’t know what happened in the lead up to the shot (corner, open play, counter attack)). He also went down with the wrong knee. The near post knee should be up. If he does this, the lead leg will either block the shot or at the very least, put him square to the ball and the hands would be inside the line of the lead leg. Just my thoughts. I coach both techniques to encourage lateral movement and getting behind the ball.”

Simon Robinson – J4K of East PA – “It almost looks like he’s caught in two minds! “Do I try to just catch?” Or “Do I try to smother?’
The fact that it looks like he took his eyes off the Ball seems to be the biggest issue in my opinion. Not watching the ball into his hands and securing it (regardless of the chosen technique)”

Matthew Rominger – J4K of East PA – “I prefer to use and teach the wide footed approach. I feel that it allows for more mobility of the hands, arms and body – allowing the keeper to get behind and over the approaching shot. For me, keeping the knees and legs close to and underneath the keeper’s body limits the arm and hand movement to get into proper position easily. Yes, there is the risk for the nutmeg and the ball squirting through, but I also think that Frei and Green lose focus through the save, which leads to the mistake.”



Stephen Swanger is a Goalkeeper Coach with Just 4 Keepers of Washington State and loves the Sounders. But, to criticize your favorite players means that you want the best for your team. Right?  ?

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Goalkeeper Coaches may think about teaching the front smother without tucking the knee.