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Goalkeeper Communication

Below are some common goalkeeper communication commands us goalies should be using.

  • These terms are not universal and may vary by region/country and/or by club.

  • The purpose of communication is clarity and understanding, so a pre-season meeting is a great way to discuss and agree with your team the terminology that you’ll use.

  • Most terms can be paired with a player name to make the command more specific.

  • In many cases, the force of your communication is as important as the words you use.

  • It’s not necessary to use every term on this list; start with a few and then add to them as you become more confident.

  • You must also use communication in training in order to feel confident to use it effectively in matches.

Communication: CV


Firstly, make sure you  encourage your team mates, in the same way that you would like them to do to you. "Well done", "Great tackle", "Good kick", etc.  If you give encouragement, you will get it back. Also, you will be respected when you give out the instructions below.


You (the keeper) are coming for the ball and leaving the goal unguarded. This could be to catch or punch a cross/corner. Or coming out for a 1v1 to tell the defender to move aside or shield the opponent from the ball to help you.


You (the goalkeeper) are not coming for the ball, and the player nearest the ball needs to clear the ball away from the goal, either to another player or off the pitch if he is under pressure with no other options to pass. Use this command on
crosses and corners or any time defenders may anticipate the keeper coming for the ball.


You (the keeper) is an option for a back pass from the player with the ball. Add to this command an indication with your left or right hand/arm, where you want the ball to be played - ie. to your left or right foot.


You are telling the player receiving the ball (either from you or another player) that he/she is not under immediate pressure and has time to control the ball and look up for a pass. You can add to this command, "TURN" if the player is facing the goal and he/she has time to turn away.


You are telling the player receiving the ball (either from you or another player) that he is under pressure from an opposing player and he needs to control and shield the ball or play it quickly.


A free kick is imminent, and you require a wall. Follow this by commands related to the number of players you require in the wall and how it should be positioned; "1 Pace Left", "2 Paces Right", etc.


Ideally precede this with the player's name, ie. "John, Goal Side". The player should take a position between the goal and the marked opponent.


Defenders should move quickly away from the goal. This is a more forceful, animated version of “STEP”, used on big clearances or counter-attacks. You can also use “PUSH UP”.


Defenders should take two or three steps forward to tighten the gap between the midfield and the back line, to force opposing attackers into offside positions.


Defenders should move towards the goal to provide defensive cover. Or precede this command with a specific player's name, ie. "John, drop" to instruct just that player to move nearer the goal. You can also add more information, such as "John, Drop 5 Yards".


You can also say "FORCE INSIDE/OUTSIDE". You are telling a player to defend side-on to force the opponent with the ball to move to the left or right. This could be to force him/her down the line away from play or to force him/her inside where he/she has no options or on his/her weaker foot.

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