Communication with your Defence  by Jay Gibbs

Goalkeepers who communicate with their defenders are much valued. Clear, early calls can alert team mates to unseen dangers as well as averting any confusion arising between players. Furthermore constant communication with your defenders will aid your concentration, especially during those periods in the game where you are largely inactive.

It is important that you know what, how and when to communicate. As you are in the privileged position of seeing the whole pitch, you can alert defenders to blind-side runs from opponents, As play develops down one flank a quick glance across the pitch might reveal unmarked players. An early call to a team mate can ensure that the unmarked player is picked up. You must be specific in the information you direct at the team-mate who is dealing with the situation. In this case it may be:

‘Jay, Pick up the spare man at the back post!’

If the ball is played over the defence, you  must make your intentions clear in order to avoid any confusion. Any hesitation on your part or the defenders could have disastrous consequences. If you intend to claim the ball, you must call:

Keeper’s ball, let it run!’

On no account should the defender play the ball if you are coming to collect it. When you want the defender to make a back pass, you should shout:

‘Keeper’s on. Push it back!

Merely to call ‘Keeper’s!’ does not clarify the situation sufficiently. The call should leave defenders in no doubt as to what the keeper intends to do. Typical instructions for back passes are:

‘Keeper’s on. Push it back!        ‘Keepers on. Early!’      ‘Keeper’s on. Head it on!

                                                ‘Keeper’s on. Time!’

The call for a back pass must be combined with support at the correct angle and distance so that the defender has little trouble.

Whenever defenders are in possession and are facing their own goal you should always help them make the right decision. On the one hand they maybe under severe pressure, necessitating an early back pass, and on the other they may have time to turn with the ball. The calls in these situations would vary from:

‘Keeper’s on. Man on!’ to ‘Time. Turn!’

You should feel happy about maneuvering your own defenders in order to protect your goal. If you feel that attackers are being allowed too much space you must tell your team mates to mark more closely. For example you might call:

‘Get tighter! Or ‘Close him down!’

One of the aims of defending is to force play in one direction so that it becomes predictable and easily dealt with. Information such as:

‘Tight!’ Do not let him turn!’  and   ‘Force him down the line!’ will help to achieve that end.

Futhermore, reminders to team mates of basic defending principles, such as:

‘Close him down quickly! Or ‘Stay on your feet!, will also assist the defensive unit in its job.

When the ball has been cleared you should encourage your defence to push out to leave those forwards remaining in advanced positions offside. A loud cry of

‘Push out!’ or ‘Squeeze up! Will suffice.

You must always encourage the nearest player to pressurize the ball carrier when the defensive unit is pushing up.As soon as the ball crosses the half way line you should be giving information and encouragement to other defenders. You should be mindful of the defence’s objective to make play predictable by forcing the ball in one direction.

On the high Cross you must not allow defenders to drop too deep and thus deny you space in which to attack the ball. The timing and manner of your communication is almost as important as the information you impart. Early calls are absolutely essential because defenders already committed to a plan of action will not react well to late instructions, The information must be concise and easily understood. Precious seconds could be wasted by instructions that are long winded. All information must be given in a loud, clear voice that instills confidence. An indecisive and nervous call can panic defenders and drain confidence. Even if you feel nervous inside try and be calm. You will achieve this if you provide early and relevant information in a confident and controlled manner.

Key Points

A)    Adopt a good starting position relative to the proximity of the ball

B)    Keep in line with the ball

C)    Be ready to deal with through balls

D)    Support team-mates when in possession

E)    Give clear information to team-mates when and where necessary.

And finally……..BE LARGE AND IN CHARGE!!!!!!