Goalkeepers: How To Deal With One-On-One Situations

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There are easy and there are hard ways to score a goal. An easy one is considered, when a player faces a goalkeeper alone, on four eyes. However, goalkeepers should make strikers’ finishing as hard as possible, so here are some useful tips that will help you deal with one-on-one situations.



When opposition players are coming alone towards the goal, they have everything in their hands (or legs to be precise). They have multiple choices how to score a goal. But so does the goalkeeper in trying to prevent it. Goalkeepers usually step forward, outside of the 6-yard box, to confront the strikers if they are coming towards the goal through the middle. With that, they narrow the angle. They even sometimes try to distract the opposition players with waving their hands before the shot is fired at goal. However, the success is still far away.

The first and most important thing is that the goalkeepers focus only on the ball. That increases their chances of saving the shots and not getting beaten by any dribbling techniques of the opposition players. Second, if opposition players knock the ball too far in front of them, that means they no longer have it under full control and that is the sign that goalkeepers should rush out. They should dive with their hands (not legs) towards the ball and try to collect it even if the opposition player is trying to kick it. The important thing is that goalkeepers get to the ball first and are not scared of getting injured. With using hands, goalkeepers give themselves a chance of securing the ball, because if they slide with their legs in front, the ball can, unfortunately, bounce back to the path of the striker, who will gladly score a goal.

Third, if opposition players have the ball under control the whole way that makes the life of goalkeepers a lot harder. It means goalkeepers should lower their arms by having them parallel to the knees. That’s because the potential shots are, due to the narrow-angle and closeness between goalkeepers and opposition players, most often fired low, near goalkeepers’ body parts. Moreover, when the distance between both of them is becoming smaller and smaller (up to two meters or less) and goalkeepers see that opposition players will take a shot, they should make themselves big by using every body part in trying to make the save. They should also be careful of not getting beaten between the legs, so they should bend one knee and get to the ground to close the space between their legs.

In addition, if they see that opposition players will try to lob them, they should not get on the ground too easy. Instead, they should make a “fake” move towards the ground and then suddenly stand up and collect the ball. Fourth and last, if opposition players are coming towards the goal with great pace, goalkeepers should expect them to dribble. That means that they should be careful because any wrong contact may result in a red card, because of denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. So if goalkeepers dive under players’ feet and get to the ball first during the dribbling, they often just push the ball away with one hand, because if they try to catch it, opposition players can often knock it out of their hands.

But if opposition players succeeded and got around goalkeepers, latter should return to the goal by taking the shortest way. They shouldn’t chase opposition players because they already have the advantage. If they got there before the ball crossed the goal line, the one-on-one situation between the two main actors continues all over again.


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