When dealing with Free Kicks inside of your own half that are not within a realistic
shooting range the goalkeeper should instruct teammates to retreat no further
than the top of the Eighteen Yard Box.
The goalkeeper can use the offside rule to ensure that any balls that are played
into the Six Yard Box can be dealt with under little or no pressure (a free ball!).
The opposition will usually attempt to play the ball in and around the penalty marker.
By getting teammates to "Hold the top of the box", the goalkeeper should also be
able to deal with these balls under only light pressure from the opposition.
If the opposition plays the ball in or around the top of the Eighteen Yard Box this
will also give the goalkeeper several advantages:
1) If the goalkeeper decides to attack the ball he will get a running start to gain
momentum while the opposition will have to try and attack the ball from a standing
2) If the goalkeeper decides to hold his position, it means that any balls that
are headed or volleyed at goal will be coming from a farther distance and will afford
the goalkeeper more time to save if necessary.
If the goalkeeper decides to employ this "Hold the Box" tactic, he must be willing
to play in an aggressive manner and attack any balls that are played behind his
teammates. He cannot hesitate or be fearful of a confrontation.
The goalkeeper must be very vocal and animated in these situations. He needs to
take charge immediately after a free kick is called. He should shout out general
1) "Hold the Eighteen!"
2) "Eighteen! No further!"
3) "Step Up!"
Once the goalkeeper has shouted some general directions he must then pick out any
teammates who have hesitated or dropped too deep into the penalty area. The goalkeeper
should then be very specific with his directions and call out players by name so
there is no doubt as to who and what the goalkeeper wants. For example:
1) "Eric! I said hold the eighteen, move up!"
2) "Ryan! Watch the man on your left!"
The goalkeeper should use hand and arm gestures to emphasize his points. Point to
any areas or players that need attention or marking. Wave the arms in a forward
motion to encourage teammates to move up, etc.
If the goalkeeper decides to come for the ball he should shout "Keepers!" as early
as possible and then attack the ball with the intention to either punch it or catch
it. If the goalkeeper decides to hold his position he should shout "Away!" or "Clear
it!" to let his teammates know that they have to deal with the situation.
Here you will notice that the goalkeeper has let his teammates retreat too far into
the Eighteen Yard Box. This means that any balls played into the area will now have
to be dealt with under heavy traffic and pressure. There is now no such thing as
a 'free ball'. The opposition will now be able to challenge the goalkeeper for balls
inside of the Six Yard Box where a mistake will now surely result in a goal being
This means the goalkeeper is more likely to make mistakes and the likelyhood of
sustaining an injury because of a collision is greater.
Also, the opposition has the opportunity to win balls closer to the goal (headers,
volleys, etc.). This gives the goalkeeper less time to react and the likelyhood
of a goal is now greater.
This position will also give the goalkeepers teammates less time to get out of the
goalkeepers way if he does decide to come for the ball.