Goalkeeper Distribution Following Cruyffs Principle

By Danny Carvalho, 

The one and only Johann Cruyff once said a phrase that is forever immortalized in soccer for the ones who appreciate attacking and possession-based soccer. It was something like: “In my teams, the goalie is the first attacker, and the striker the first defender.”

As I’m a big fan of this philosophy, I like to often times on the GKs specific practice work on distribution and playing from the back.

This a session usable to every age group.

Warm Up
GKs are going to be working in pairs. Start five to ten steps apart depending on the level and age group.
1- Two hands chest throw (10 times)
2- One-handed side shoulder throw (10 times each arm)
3- One-handed over shoulder throw (10 times each arm)
4- Short passing back and forth (10 times each foot)
5- Long passing back and forth (6 times each foot)

Activity 1
GKs taking turns on goal, another two GKs open wide. One of the open wide GKs takes a shot on goal. The GKs on the spot must save it and then throw it to the opposite open wide GK. The principle here is to stop the shot first and then as soon as possible distribute on opposing side of the play, thinking about the game situation where when the play comes from one side, this is probably the most crowded place on the field in the moment. By throwing it to the other side, we are thinking about starting quickly a counterattack on the open side.

Activity 2
In this activity we are going to emphasize the building from the back moment. Now we will have two players on the side of the box, one on each side. The GK is now going to work on pass to one side, move to the bottom line to support the player, receive it back, turn and switch the play and so on for a set time. On the coaches’ whistle, sharp pass to one of the two mini goals positioned in a diagonal angle as the midfielders to progress up the field.

Activity 3
In this last activity we are going to play a possession game focused on the GK getting used to play with their feet and play under pressure in the box. The numbers of this confrontation will depend on the GKs age group and ability as well as the quantity of GKs available at practice. If they are beginners, maybe a 5 v 1 is the best option. As the coach, jump in to help if needed. If they are medium to advanced level, 4v1, 4v2 or 5v2.

Have each GK play from 1min to 2mins in their original goalie position and then rotate. Obviously, if the player(s) in the middle wins the ball, try to score and the GK tries to stop them from scoring.

By Danny Carvalho, DOC at Corinthians Campinas Youth Club,  Brazil

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