By Jason Stockman -
Recently I have been watching a variety of game highlights from last season’s MLS, the Premier League and the U.S. v Iceland game and received inspiration for this drill. What I started noticing more and more after watching a bunch of highlight videos in a row was how many goals were being scored on the far post…and how often the keeper had almost no chance at being able to actually make the save.
And that got me thinking, “How can we equip keepers to better be able to handle those far post situations?” Taking out the fact that sometimes with set pieces (especially corner kicks) a keeper had to be in a spot that leaves the far post more open in order to cover the best angle in the moment, I turned to how to work on saving far post shots during active play.
The drill I offer up today is one I call “Back and Forth” and it offers the following benefits:
- Goalkeepers – identifying and cutting down angles; saving shots; diving; punching; agility
- Field players – shooting to far post
I like this drill for keepers because it sets up a practical, real-world scenario for far post shots, helping the keeper make quick decisions and constantly be moving to an appropriate angle.
Though this drill is primarily for keepers, I like this drill for field players because it gives them practice at placing shots at a specific target area that is easily translatable within actual gameplay.
- Players: one or two goalies; 2 field players
- Gear needed: one goal; 8-10 soccer balls
Players A & B should be between the goal box and penalty box boundaries and be at about a 30-45 degree angle from the center of the goal. This should give them a variety of distances and angles to shoot from that will also be challenging for the keeper. The keeper should start on the close side of the goal (near player A) in a position that shuts down the angle from that side.
When ready, Player A takes a shot at the far post and the keeper attempts the save, doing their best to dive and make a clean capture. The keeper should quickly get up and roll the ball to Player A as they reset in a close side position on Player B’s side.
As soon as the keeper is reset, Player B shoots for their far post, the keeper makes a save and so on. Continue this back and forth shooting for a total of 10 shots before giving the keeper a short rest while the field players collect the balls. Do a total of 3 sets before giving the keeper a longer break. If you are drilling two keepers, have them switch out after every set to help reduce downtime between the two but still keep the workout pace steady.
For the field players, there isn’t much fitness in this drill, but the keepers should be worked to the point where they are ready for a break when a set is complete. Having to work to make a save, get up, run back and do all of it over again 10 or more times in a row should be a good workout for even the most fit keepers.
- Use a different shot technique each round (ground, line drive, high or chip shot, etc.) or make it random for an even greater challenge. For high shots, let keepers punch the ball out as well as capture it.
- For a more intense fitness level, increase the number of shots taken during a set.
- Add in a point system for some competition – players get 1 point as a team if they score, keeper gets 1 point for a clean save (catch or direct deflection out of bounds). If using two keepers, make it a competition between all of them.
By Jason Stockman - Coach at Missouri Rush