One on Ones

The skill of taking on an attacker one on one is not an easy skill to master. There are a number of things that a goalkeeper can do to make this easier for them to be successful in these contests.

The skill of taking on an attacker one on one is not an easy skill to master. There are a number of things that a goalkeeper can do to make this easier for them to be successful in these contests.

A goalkeeper needs to be attacking the ball and only the ball. If you attack the player it may result in a penalty stroke being called or at worst the goalkeeper receiving a yellow card. None of us like being sent off so we must be smart with what we are doing when taking on attackers.

If a player is about to be tackled by one of your defenders this is not when you should be taking them on one on one. The time that you need to do this is when there is a break away situation with the attacker coming into the attacking 25 area unattended. This may also happen in the circle, and the area that you have to play in may only be 2 or 3 yards (this becomes a desperation save).

The main skills involved in taking on a player one on one are:

  • Speed
  • Tracking
  • Having presence
  • Sliding
  • Decision making

is essential in any movement towards a player. The most important factor in this is speed over the first few steps that you make. Ways that you can improve this is by doing short sprint work.

is another essential element in getting the player to go where you want them to. This allows you to get the player to go in the direction that you want them to and also to put them in a vulnerable position that you can make the most of. Tracking can also assist in getting the player into a position in which it is harder to get a good shot away and at the same time giving your defenders time to get back into position. For those of you who don't know what tracking is, it is a sideways movement similar to side stepping. It is important that you move with intensity, keeping your legs together to stop the ball going through the legs during movement.

Having presence
is vitally important. As I have mentioned in earlier tips it is about making yourself big rather than like a mouse. If you have presence players are going to be likely to be thinking more about how to get the ball around you rather than getting the ball into the back of the net (this is a good thing).

is not a terribly hard skill. You need to come at the ball with speed and total commitment to what you are going to do. The first thing you are required to do is extend your stick to ensure that you will have maximum coverage when you are on the ground. When you are approaching the ball and player you need to start lowering yourself to the ground. This is a very quick skill and needs to be done with speed and control at the same time.

I think it is best to practice the skill and develop your own style.

It is good to slide at a player when you are close to them and are sure that you are going to get the ball. Being close to the player and the ball is crucial. If you are not close enough to the player then you will be in danger of getting the ball dragged around you. I find it best to position yourself inline with the ball in the mid region of the body.

Finally you need to get up quickly after making the save ready for the next save to be made. You may need to get back nearer the goal line so speed is again an issue.

Decision making
is crucial in this whole process. As I have previously said you must be totally committed to making the decision to take on the attacker. Another important tip is to remember you do not always have to take on the player. Sometimes it may not be the right decision to come a long way off of your line to take someone on if they are about to be tackled by one of your defenders.

How to practice this:

Set up 2 on 1, 3 on 2 (etc.) situations so that you are continually made to make decisions. It is important that this is not too close to the circle so that a breakaway situation can occur.

It is also a good idea to practice this starting from the penalty spot or just above it so that you can meet the player at the top of the circle to cut down the chance of them having a shot.

All the best with your quest for excellence.

Keep on keeping well!

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