Five Aside Goalkeeping

Like many a boy I had dreams of being a footballer - a depressing lack of outfield talent scuppered all my dreams. However, I could hold my own as a five aside keeper and played until just after I turned 40. I wasn’t good enough to read the game and distribute the ball to be an eleven aside keeper. But with five aside the main requirement is to be a shot stopper.

I never had any training, I just picked it up skills and techniques along the way. Here follows my tips:

  1. Don’t allow an injured, or tired, outfield player to take your place in goal. It’s your goal, if they’ve got injured then tough. Being a goalkeeper is not a lesser position. It takes unique skill and shouldn’t be handed over to somebody that doesn’t want to leave the pitch.

  2. Remember it’s YOUR goal. Nobody has the right to put the ball in YOUR net. Chant this to yourself as you take up your position. It psychologically helps.

  3. When your team is attacking watch out for a loose opposition attacker in your half. Shout at your players to mark him or her.

  4. Always watch the ball and not the player. You won’t get to a shot quick enough if you are watching the player and not the ball.

  5. The art of goalkeeping, and I’ve never seen this written elsewhere, is to know where the ball will be when you can make a save. I discovered this when I once did a flying backwards save and tipped the ball over the bar. There’s no way I could have travelled backwards faster than the ball. But subconsciously my mind knew where I could meet the ball on its flightpath. So before the striker had kicked the ball I’d already made my move. This technique only comes with experience and is subconscious.

  6. Five aside matches are often not refereed. This makes for the cheat. Watch out for him or her. They’ll enter the D that is your own territory. Point it out only when the ball has gone dead. Don’t point it out in play – it ruins your concentration and, if they score while you are protesting, the goal usually ends up standing.

  7. Get to know your opposition players. Often in five aside you regularly come up against the same players. Get to know those that can place the ball and get to know the strength of their shots. Those with a strong kick and can place the ball, are the hardest to defend against. Some players use you as a target, making saves a lot easier. It’s okay to stay on your line for these type of players. However, with those that can place come out, spread yourself and narrow the angle.

  8. Get to know the selfish strikers that never pass. You come out to them. If it’s two or more strikers on to you, and the player with the ball is likely to pass, then stay on your line.

  9. Often poorer players will be put in defence. If you have a defender that can’t win the ball ask him or her to just frustrate the opposition. A defender doesn’t have to touch the ball to be useful. He or she can just get in the way, get goal side and block the striker’s path.