Learning and Teaching the Basics  


The Goalkeeper: Part 3

   Monte Nitzkowski


Goalkeeper's should participate in all team ball handling and passing drills. When team passing begins, goalies should join the drill. This is not a good time to be doing something else.. Both Goalkeepers and field players must spend a great deal of time learning how to pass. Drills should include both stationary and movement passing drills. Goalkeepers cannot get enough passing practice.

PULL DOWNS: Goalies pair off, face each other four meters apart and block shots thrown by the partner. Shots should be within reach and taken both overhead and to each side. Goalkeepers should try to block the ball down and into water in front of them. Where possible, the body should be moved in front of all shots. Once the ball is blocked and controlled, the goalie should pick it up and shoot at partner. (Illustration #150.)

Illustration 150 - Pull down drill,
partner placing shot.

GOALIE READ-OUT DRILL: This is an important drill in teaching the Goalkeeper what to look for and whom to pass to in the counterattack. The greatest passing opportunities for the Goalkeeper occur during the counterattack. The Goalie Read-out Drill allows the goalie to read the intentions of the field players as they counter down the field of play. (Illustration #151.)

Illustration 151 - Goalie with
ball held high ready for start of
goalie readout drill.

Remember, only three things can happen with field players in the counterattack. In order, these possibilities are: The player gets completely free of the defender and then rolls to back and gets eye contact with the Goalkeeper; secondly, player is barely up and then works to get the tight defensive player ejected. The tightly covered offensive player should not get ball from goalie in this situation; thirdly, offensive player is not up and, depending on location within the field of play, the individual in this situation either squares as a leadbreak player or squares at mid-court to help goalie move the ball downcourt. In all cases, players who are being well defended in the counterattack are prime candidates for the square-out maneuver. Remember, only in the first situation and in the third situation do the field players receive the ball from the Goalkeeper.

Illustration 152A - Player positioning for start of goalie
readout drill — goalie with ball, offensive player facing out,
defensive player facing in.

Illustration 152B - Player up and on back, goalie prepares
to make the pass.

Illustration 152C - Player up, goalie ready to
make lead wet pass.

To set up the Goalie Read-out Drill, place six defenders across the pool at approximately five meters. They should be facing back toward the goalie with the ball. Place a line of six offensive players at approximately three meters, facing toward the goal they attack.(Illustration #152A.) Put a goalie in the opposite cage for defensive purposes. This arrangement makes for six pairs of two players, the offense facing out, the defense facing in. The coach starts with one of the pairs of players nearest the wall (side of the pool). On the coach's whistle, the offensive player starts the counterattack and the defensive player makes one of three decisions—let the player go completely free before chasing (Illustrations #152B, 152C.); let the player be barely up (Illustration #153.); or defend the countering player thereby forcing a square-out. (Illustrations #154A, 154B.)

Illustration 153 - Player barely up, goalie doesn't pass!!

Illustration 154A - Player not up, starts square out.

Illustration 154B - Ball passed wet to squaring
offensive player.

The Goalkeeper has six balls in the goal. On each whistle, the goalie raises a ball, reads the defense and, depending on the "unfolding" situation, makes the appropriate pass. If the countering player is barely up, the Goalkeeper does not     pass the ball, but simply hangs onto it until the next situation presents itself. It is wise for the coach to walk through this drill first, demonstrating each of the three situations for all to see.

The Goalie Read-out Drill is important both for teaching the Goalkeeper where he/she should throw the ball in the counterattack and the type of passes to be thrown. For example, when the countering player is free from the defender and has gone to the back and established eye contact with the Goalkeeper, the Goalkeeper must decide whether the ball should be thrown "early wet" or "late dry." "Wet" means to place ball on the water; "dry" means it is thrown to the extended hand of the breaking player, who catches it before it touches the water. The wet pass should be thrown when the player is totally free and has room to receive and attack with the ball; this allows the countering player to keep moving at full speed as he/she attacks the opponent's goal. The dry pass is thrown when the player can safely receive the pass, but the defense is closing in. Example: When the opposing Goalkeeper is attacking out toward the countering player, the ball should be thrown dry, alerting the offensive player to danger approaching. The "early wet" and "late dry" principle provides "read-outs" among offensive players and allows the counterattack to move faster and be better informed of defender positioning and movement.