• You can prevent goals by talking to set up your defense, before any possible breakdowns occur.  If a defensive breakdown does occur, the best way to reorganize a defense is through quick and clear communication.
  • Establish dominance and confidence.  A keeper that is quiet gives the impression of being unsure and possibly a weak keeper.  A good striker will pick up on this and test the keeper as much as possible.  The talkative goalkeeper will have a presence about them and make the striker think twice before testing them as often.
  • The goalkeeper is the only position that can see the whole field, so it is important to let your team know what you see.


  • Say the player’s name and then the action.  This way you get their attention first and then tell them what to do.
  • If you say the action and then their name, there is a good chance they did not hear the action.
  • If you don’t say a name, then there is a chance no one will do the action you are requesting.
  • Your voice needs to carry meaning.  You can’t be monotone and have the same tone for every action.  Some actions require a sense of urgency and that should be clear by the sound of your voice.  Remember not everything can be urgent though.  You should be able to switch your voice into three different categories: Calm, Strong, and Urgent.  Recognize the situations that require the specific category and use it appropriately.


Talking too much

  • Don’t talk to the midfielders and forwards when the ball is in the attacking third.  They can’t hear you.
  • You can actually annoy your defenders by talking too much.  Your teammates may listen to you less, and when you actually need them to listen they might ignore you.
  • You will tire yourself out and mentally drain yourself if you are constantly talking.
  • Don’t cheerlead, it doesn’t help.  It doesn’t mean don’t praise your teammates work, but be selective.  If your defender makes a great play and saves you from a bad situation, you should definitely thank them.  If they make a routine pass, there’s no need to talk.

Not talking enough

  • By not talking at all your defense might get out of shape and that will come back to hurt you.
  • The opposing forwards may think you are timid and will take advantage of that.


Below are the uniform terms that keepers should be using based on their age.


  • Keeper – usually used for crosses and through balls, should ONLY be used by the keeper when they are coming to collect a ball.
  • Away – used when a keeper is notifying others that they are not coming for a ball and the defender needs to deal with it.


  • Step - used to tell the closest player to immediately apply pressure to the opponent with the ball.
  • Force Out – used to tell the defender applying pressure to force the striker to the outside of the field.
  • Force In – used to tell the defender applying pressure to force the striker to the inside of the field.  Only use if there is a numerical advantage on the inside of the field and the ball is not within shooting range.
  • Drop or Home - used when the keeper can take a back pass to relieve pressure.
  • (Turn) Outside or Line - used when a teammate is under pressure, but the goalkeeper doesn’t want a back pass because of pressure.
  • Contain - used to tell the closest player to keep the striker from advancing the ball.
  • Hold the line – used on free kicks to tell players to stay at a certain distance.


  • Step Out – When the ball is moved forward and your team has to move up the field to close down space.
  • Hold – If the team is moving up because the ball has been played backward, but there is no pressure on the ball to prevent the ball from being served in then the keeper must hold the team.
  • Drop – When the opposition has the ball and there is not enough pressure to prevent a penetrating pass, then the keeper must let the back know to drop and deny the pass in behind.  If the player on the ball is within shooting range tough, defenders should be told to step and keepers will have to deal with any penetrating balls.
  • Slide left / Slide Right – used to get the entire team to move their position to the left or right.
  • Pinch in – Mostly used when addressing both center backs to slide to the center of the field.
  • Tuck in – Mostly used when addressing an outside back, usually the weak side, to slide to the center of the field.


  • Left Shoulder / Right Shoulder – used to let a teammate know where the opposition is when they are behind the defender or making a blindside run.


Number of players in the wall guideline

Below are the set pieces responsibilities of the keeper and terms that should be used by the keeper. The image above is a guideline of how many players to put in the wall. There are many factors that can change how many players go in the wall, this is just a general guideline.


  • The gk should attempt with the help of the coach to get the correct number of players in the wall.
  • The gk should attempt with the help of the coach to line up the wall.
  • The gk’s main responsibility at this age is to make sure they are in a good starting position.
  • They should be the appropriate distance off their line.
  • They should be able to see the ball.
  • On corner kicks, they should always have a player on each post.


  • The gk is responsible for determining the number of players needed for the wall. 
  • The number of players in the wall is dependent on the distance from goal, angle, and player’s age.
  • After the gk calls the number for the wall, the gk should go to the near post and line the wall up.  When setting the wall use “step (left or right)”, you can use “half-step” to be more precise.
  • For corner kicks, the gk is responsible for getting the team into its basic defensive formation.  If the team plays with players on the post the keeper is responsible for setting them up.


  • Organization of players not in the wall, such as players denying short passes or charging players.
  • The keeper should determine the line that the defense should hold.
  • On corner kicks, the goalkeeper needs to release the post players when a ball is cleared out of the 18.  This communication of when the post players can leave needs to come from the keeper.


  • Goalkeepers should know which players need to get in the wall, i.e. cms and forwards first.  As the the free kick is closer to the goal but wide, outside backs could be used.
  • They should be able to pair up the strongest players in the air with the oppositions strongest.