AFC Ajax Amsterdam: Advanced Coaches Clinic, Part IV – Integrating the Goalkeeper into Team Play

The last part of the lecture at the clinic was a short presentation by Frans Hoek, legendary goalkeeper coach at Ajax and later Barcelona and the Dutch National Team, among others, on integrating the goalkeeper into team play. Hoek is a big proponent of the goalkeeper participating in team training. In fact, he was instrumental in changing the role of the goalkeeper in possession-based teams, requiring the goalkeeper to be as good with the ball at his feet as with his hands, and requiring that the goalkeeper play an integral role in each phase of play.  Of course the goalkeeper in this Ajax team was the great Edwin van der Sar.


In order for Hoek to accomplish his aims, the goalkeeper must be included in all aspects of team training.  This makes sense on many levels including technically and tactically, as well as from a team building and team chemistry point of view. The only difference that I feel is important, and I think one in which Hoek would agree, is in conditioning. The aerobic and, to some extent, the anaerobic conditioning requirements for a goalkeeper are very different from that of the field players.  Of course, certain sprinting, strength and SAQ training can and should be shared by the goalkeeper and the field players.

What follows is my notes (mostly in their original form) from Hoek’s discussion on Integrating the Goalkeeper into Team Play:

Job of the goalkeeper:

  1. They [the opposing team] have the ball → make scoring difficult
    1. Communicate/coach defense.
    2. Proper positioning.
    3. Technique – getting the ball.
  2. We have the ball [possession] → responsibilities
    1. Goalkeeper has the ball – begin transition play.
    2. Defense has the ball – support, be ready for back pass.
    3. Midfield/attack has the ball – move upwards to protect against long thru balls over the defense.
  3. Transition [transition to attack] → support the defense

The goalkeeper gets

  • Thru balls
  • Crosses
  • 1 v 1s
  • Shots

Training should be based on percent of each expected in the game, i.e. more crosses in the game then training to deal with crosses.

*Goalkeeper has crucial and active role in distributing/supporting in transition.

ImageFor more material on Frans Hoek and his goalkeeper training concepts:

UEFA Training Ground

Frans Hoek Revolutionizes Goalkeeping – Soccer Coaching International (PDF)



One response to “AFC Ajax Amsterdam: Advanced Coaches Clinic, Part IV – Integrating the Goalkeeper into Team Play

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s