My focus this week at the J4K of NoVA training is being successful in 1v1 situations.

First and foremost, a goalkeeper must have the 3 C’s: Calmness, confidence, and courage. Calmness to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to take the ball, confidence that s/he will win the challenge and take the ball, and courage to be willing to go after the ball and take it from the attacking player often times laying out in front of a speeding player. A goalkeeper cannot have self-doubt! If you don’t think you can make the save, then you WON’T!

A goalkeeper facing a 1v1 must match the pace of the attacker. In the proper stalking position (hands down low, knees bent, back straight) take the space with small, quick steps as the attacker approaches. If they are moving slowly, there is no need for the keeper to race out. If the attacker is approaching at full speed, the keeper must move out quicker. Always stay big by keeping your hands low and to the sides. As you get close to the attacking player, stop about 2 yards from their position and watch for the player to take a touch of the ball off their foot. Once the ball comes off, take the opportunity to pounce, hands first pushing with your near foot, to the ball. Keep your arms bent to protect your face and top knee bent to protect your body.

Remember when you are moving forward small steps and being on balance is key. If the attacking player decides to take an early shot, you need to be balanced and able to react. Large strides put you off balance and unable to move laterally to make a save.

Patience is so vitally important in 1v1 situations. If the goalkeeper guesses on where the ball will go, or lunges out feet first, it;s much easier for the attacking player to score. If the goalkeeper stays big and keeps their body between the ball and the goal, moving quickly side to side as needed, the attacking player will often shoot right into the keeper.  Goalkeepers should not attack the shooter with their feet for several reasons. Most importantly, you could injure yourself or the opposing player with a reckless tackle. Secondly, by lunging in with feet, you have placed yourself off balance, making it much easier for the shooter to dribble around you.

So stay BIG, remain calm and confident, and have the courage to take the ball away from the attacking player!!