As a goalkeeper, one v one situations can be the most challenging and nerve-wracking moments of a game. However, with the right approach and techniques, you can become a more confident and effective goalkeeper in these situations. In this blog post, we will outline the best tips for 1v1 goalkeeping that will help elevate your game.
Stay on your feet
One v one situations are a cat and mouse game. A lot of it is mind games and forcing the other person to make the first move. This is where staying on your feet as long as possible comes into play. Obviously, there are a variety of one v one situations that may require different techniques, but in a situation where a striker has time, space, and multiple attacking options; it is best to maintain your balance and stay on your feet as long as possible. This will make it harder for the attacker to predict your movements and make it more difficult for them to score. Be patient and don't dive in too early. Making the first move, especially with the striker having the ball under control, can be a recipe for disaster. Going down too early, or guessing what the attacker is going to do, can tip your hand and allow the attacker to react to what you are doing.
Narrow the angle
As the attacker approaches, make sure you narrow the angle by closing the distance between yourself and the attacker. This doesn't mean that you should go sprinting our towards the attacker and simply throw your body at the ball, but maintaining your balance and stealing a few yards can be crucial to making sure the attacker doesn't have the entire goal to shoot at. It limits the space for the attacker and puts more pressure on them to be extremely accurate with where they are placing the ball. Again, these situations are mental games and if an attacker picks their head up and sees very little of the goal, they will begin to feel the pressure.
Be ready to react
In a one v one situation, you need to be ready to react quickly to any changes in the attacker's movement or positioning. Not only do you have to potentially react to a strike but you also have to be prepared if the attacker tries to take a touch around you or if they decide to pass the ball to a teammate. Be prepared to adjust your positioning by staying balanced and keeping your weight centered over your feet. This requires a lot of body control, focus, and plenty of practice.
Read the situation
Not all one v one situations are built the same. Sometimes, attackers get in behind the back line and it is just you and them. Other times, your defense will work to recover and try to put pressure on the attacker. A big part of winning these duels is figuring out how to put as much pressure as possible on the attacker. If they have an open field where they are running at you without any of your teammates coming to help, there isn't as much pressure on them so they can make more decisions. Typically, in a game, your defenders will do their best to recover so how can you delay the attacker enough to allow your defenders to get back and make a play? This is where balance, body control, narrowing the angle, and staying on your feet come into play. You can also look for clues in their movement, such as a change in pace or direction, to anticipate their next move. This will give you an advantage in making the save or delaying the strike.
These situations aren't for the faint of heart. You have to be bold and decisive when addressing an attacker one v one. You can't be afraid to put your body on the line. You also can't be afraid to make a mistake because that will hinder your decision-making abilities. You're going to mess up and get scored on. Sometimes, the attacker is just going to be better than you. That can be the best goalkeeping motivation to help you improve your game. There are a lot of different goalkeeper training techniques that focus on how to deal with one v one situations. Figure out what is best for you and practice it consistently.
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