We spent a great session indoors on Sunday working on communicating with our defenders. So many field coaches complain that their goalkeeper doesn't talk enough, but little time or focus is ever given to teaching this skill. As a recap for all the keepers who were there, here is what we looked at:
1/ An attacker has the ball in front of the defender.. we call the defender's name, and tell them to step (to pressure the ball). Secondly, we tell the defender which way to force the attacker - we were typically forcing out, trying to take the attacker away from goal.
2/ With a second defender, we would tell them to "pinch in" or "tuck in" to the middle, to give cover. This was done after ensuring we had pressure on the ball.
3/ In a 2 attacker/2 defender situation, we did all of the above. In addition, if the attackers passed the ball square, we told the covering/second defender to step and pressure the ball.
If a defender got their attacker facing away from goal, we tell the defender to "get tight", and not allow the attacker to turn.
All of this was done loudly, clearly and early. It was awesome to see our ten year keepers directing play in front of them! As fun as it is to save shots, it makes life a lot easier when we can organize the play so we don't have to hit the ground as much.