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Through Balls


  • To give realistic practice for goalkeeping in through balls.

  • To produce critical one-on-one attacking and defending situations.


  • Mainly to assist all players in becoming comfortable in dealing with the through ball from a goalkeeping perspective.


  • Set up two groups of field players as above and one group for the goalkeeping action. Goalkeepers rotate after each shot.

  • First field player to the ball becomes the attacker. 2nd player becomes the recovering defender.

  • After an attack, give time to clear the area before serving the ball for next two players.

  • Coach always touches ball to side before playing the ball in to get everyone ready to respond.

  • Coach/server should vary the service: sometimes biased in favor of goalkeeper, sometimes to a field player.

  • Occasionally give a three-way "hospital pass," and a lobbed/bouncing service.



  • Starting position of the goalkeeper critical - off the line to gain yards, but not too far to be exposed to an accurate long chip ball.

  • Early decision is desirable but exception to "good goalkeeping rules" can apply here:

  • As ball is played in, goalkeeper can move forward two or three paces while still assessing the situation. If the decision is to go, then ground has already been gained. If decision is to stay, the keeper relaxes while skipping and dancing back to original position.

  • Attacker must be incisive and not be shepherded away from the goal.

  • Defender works in cooperation with the goalkeeper either engaging the attacker or covering the blocking or side-diving goalkeeper.

  • Good decisions and good techniques for the goalkeeper for final action in either diving at feet to win the ball; spreading and forcing attacker wide; or standing up and reacting to shot.


  • This is an extension of This Way/That Way and Submarining.

  • Make the service less predictable and play some lobbed balls.

  • Still use caution and maintain the rule that attackers cannot physically challenge the goalkeeper.

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