Dealing with back passes and the importance of distribution in the modern game
When practising the art of dealing with a back pass always start with short, sharp passing drills. This not only tests the GK’s touch but ensures that he\she sorts their feet out before receiving the ball.
Make sure that your GK on receiving the ball adjusts their feet with short, sharp steps enabling them to adjust quickly behind the ball, always having a barrier behind it incase of a bobble and helps them massively when taking their first touch. Failing to get quick steps makes the GK over stretch and makes it far harder to deal with first touch and first touch placement.
Encourage your Keepers first touch to be out of their feet and slightly to the side!! obviously out of their feet enables them to see the picture in front,make quicker decisions and pick the correct pass. Their touch has to be slightly to the side so to save time on feet adjustment.
When devising your passing drills make sure that they are at MATCH PACE!!, touch-pass! touch-pass! touch pass! as this speeds up their feet on receiving and quickens up their decision making on their pass out.
Work a lot on right foot touch left foot pass, left foot touch, right foot pass on diagonal angles to full backs as this encourages keepers to switch play with BOTH FEET!!
As they get more comfortable with short side foot passing increase the length and change distribution to lofted wedge or low drive, depending on ability levels. Remember working on a young GK’s first touch is not just about them technically but the mental side is just as important. The more you practice with them, the more comfortable they will become with the ball at their feet and all this will add to their overall confidence and presence in the game. If you have a keeper that can demand the ball from a team mate and distribute it accurately around the pitch, then they are going in the right direction technically, tactically and mentally!!!
In the modern game more and more keepers are gaining what we call “all the clubs” this term is used to describe the fact they have all types of distribution to a high level and compare them to golf shots, i.e Drive, wedge, chip, etc..
It is no longer a matter of how far you can kick the ball in the modern game as we are now more concerned with ball possession and retaining the ball in final third of the pitch rather than just distance. We now look for our keepers to be precise and kick into areas of the pitch which will give us a better chance of retaining the ball. Show your young keepers Joe Hart, or Reina as they are the modern keeper in a nut shell!!!
Remember to talk to your GK about playing to his/her team mates strengths for example if you have a Walcott/lennon then they have the pace to run onto balls over the top where as if you have a Crouch he will want it to head or chest to hold up and play or flick!!
The Goalkeepers overall distribution is massively important to a teams performance not only to ensure ball retention in the right areas but also to set a teams tempo!