Coaching Goalkeepers to Defend……Why Not?

Do we ever coach Goal keepers how to defend, for example in 1 v 1 situations, not to get beat, force a mistake and even make a tackle?

Over recent years, as the game has changed with the rules, tactics and the type of player, the expectations and demands of a goal keeper has evolved. By this, I am referring to their ability to use their feet and to distribute in order start attacks. They are required to manage back passes, maintain possession of the ball and play as the 11th outfield player. It has become a big part of their training, managing the ball, opening out to change the direction of play, clipping the ball into full backs, travelling with the ball outside of the penalty box to distribute and build from the back.

On many occasions a goalkeeper is required to play outside of their penalty box, for example, clearing a through ball using their feet, body and even their head. On some occasions goalkeepers are caught coming out to close a player down to prevent them from a goal scoring opportunity, without the use of their hands. In fact, this even occurs when a keeper has gone to defend a player inside the penalty box, and the opponent has their back to them. In doing so, they are required to defend the player, holding them up, enabling others player to recover and help defend. However, on numerous occasions they will come out with impulse, placing themselves in a situation which results them going to ground early and potentially catching the opponent and conceding a penalty or a free kick depending where the incident takes play’s, which can often result in a red card.

If this is the case, then why are we not teaching our goalkeepers how to defend, coaching key principles, their approach to the ball, distances, body shape, decision-making when in a 1 v 1 situation? The role of a goalkeeper continues to evolve and the goalkeepers themselves are required add more skills to their game and surely defending is one of them.

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