Once the goalkeeper has taken possession of the ball, he should attempt to set up an attack as soon as possible. He must give any pass the same way as if he was a fullback or midfielder trying to move the ball forward. This means that the ball must be thrown or kicked so that it can easily be controlled when passed over short distances or gives his team an advantage when it’s played over long distances.
The way the keeper distributes the ball will depend upon the ability of his own players and the tactics that are used by the team. For example, it’s a waste of time kicking long balls down the middle unless the forwards are capable of controlling such clearances and it’s dangerous rolling short balls out to defenders who are not sharp enough to take advantage of passes like these.
Typically a keeper will be distributing the ball over short distances or long distances. The goalkeeper who has limited methods of distribution is like a one-footed player who can only pass the ball over short distances. Opponents can position themselves to close down his passing possibilities. Show your keepers methods of both short and long distance clearing.
Short Distance Distribution
When passing the ball over very short distances, such as to a fullback just outside the box, the ball can be rolled along the ground. This technique is useful in starting attacks quickly. It gives maximum speed and accuracy and it reaches the teammate on the ground, making control that much easier. It’s similar to bowling. The ball is held in both hands in front of the body at hip height. The palm of the throwing arm supports the ball from underneath and the other supports it from the top and inside. The fingers are well spread to give maximum control.
Tell your keeper to start the movement by taking a step forward with the leg opposite the hand which will roll the ball. As you take this step, move your arms slightly behind the body to the throwing side to gather swing. Take the top hand off the ball, straighten your elbow in the throwing arm, leaving your body well forward. As your throwing hand starts to swing forward, transfer your weight gradually on to the front leg. The swinging arm gathers speed quickly, the ball leaves the hand as it is at right angles to the ground, and the hand follows through giving a final thrust and direction. Short distance distribution is probably the method your goalkeeper will use if you’re coaching any age under 10.
Long Distance Distribution
If you want to pass the ball over a slightly longer distance, it should be thrown from the shoulder. The starting position is the same for rolling the ball. Instead the ball is taken back over the shoulder with a bent arm. The opposite leg and shoulder move forward in preparation for the throw. The throwing arm is brought forward from the shoulder simultaneously with the forearm being flung forwards and downwards. Throw it direct from the shoulder to the target so that it reaches it in the least amount of time possible. For throwing further, the ball will have to be thrown with a cricket overarm bowling action. The power will come from a straight arm used as a lever against the body. Because long distance distribution requires more physical strength, it’s likely that it’s best used for teams of ages such as under 14 or under 16.
Work on these techniques in practice. There are a variety of drills that can be used to test a goalkeeper’s distribution method and fine tune his abilities before a game. Most young goalkeepers believe that they should simply kick the ball as far as possible. This couldn’t be more incorrect. The goalkeeper must be brought into the general team offensive tactics and must be encouraged to use the ball to help set up a scoring chance, not just kick it as far as he can. When he gains possession of the ball, he should see himself as an offensive player.