Whenever planning a session, I think about the topic, and also how I would like to get my coaching points across. The main keys I’m always sure to include are to Develop Technique, Instill Good Habits, and Grow Confidence.

When I look back to my playing days, I think about the experiences I have had while goalkeeping, and by drawing from these experiences, I’m abIe to help my keepers understand that I have been in their shoes and have faced the same things they face on a weekly basis.

When coaching a keeper on how to deal effectively with a certain situation, I believe the best way to help them learn to make effective decisions, is to try to put them in that situation. This approach, I feel, will help the keeper understand the reasons why decisions are made, give them options to consider and show them possible outcomes that could occur.

Goalkeepers cannot assume or anticipate what is going to happen in a game. We, as coaches, need to work to prepare them as much as possible to help them make quick in game decisions. This can be achieved with ‘Situational” Coaching focusing on the situation and breaking it down allowing the keeper to develop those Techniques, Habits and Confidence.

When running this type of session I ALWAYS focus on the technique first, coached with no pressure allowing the keeper to learn how to either Catch, Dive, Jump, etc, and to help with forming good habits.
The next step is to add a little pressure to help the keeper to focus and learn decision making in a more game like situation. This will help improve a keepers confidence with having to make the correct quick decision and to see the outcome of that decision.

Finally we add more Game “Situational” drills, starting off slowly helping keepers make saves and build confidence, gradually gaining speed with each rep to help get the keeper to the point that they feel comfortable with dealing with the “Situation” in both practice and more importantly during the game!

For Example, this week with my groups I have been working on dealing with 1 on 1 breakaways. Not a favorite situation for a good number of my keepers as they were not overly confident with the fact that they are out there alone to face the striker and concerned with making mistakes and letting their team down.

Beginning the session I focused on low dives with keepers serving themselves to either their left or right, replicating the diving technique required for the situation of a striker trying to dribble around the keeper, this allows for technique develop and good habit forming.

I followed this up with a drill that continued the low dive technique with the inclusion of a player providing pressure and requiring the keeper to make a decision to dive either left or right based on the Direction the pressure player went. This drill was high tempo high reps to allow the decision making process to become ingrained and effective. I coached the importance of feet in this drill and working on taking the shortest/quickest diving route to the ball, resulting in more success.

The keepers favorite part of the session was when we moved into the goal to face an actual ‘Breakaway’ Situation. Attacking players were instructed to not go 100%, allowing Decision making reinforcement, correct timing develop and confidence growth.

Each rotation the attacking player was allowed to increase speed until the reps were completed at a game like speed. The number of saves stayed high, the decisions were smart, the timing was effective and the smiles were wide.

“Situational” coaching is a big part of my coaching style and I find the keeper can relate to it, the development from it is solid and the confidence can be increased from it.

“Every situation is a positive situation if viewed as an opportunity for growth and self-mastery” – Anon

Thanks for Reading – Simon Robinson