Tracking the #9


Don’t let the simplicity of the diagram fool you. Tracking the #9 is a simple and outstanding activity to try with your GKs. All you need is a group of balls and three different colored cones or bibs.

This will help your GK become comfortable with an aggressive starting position outside the 18 yard box, force them to manage off the ball by picking up the speed and movement of the pressure (tracking the color of the cones), and ultimately making the right choice of how and where to distribute. Depending on the age ability level of your GK you can add certain demands like adding pressuring forwards, playing bouncing balls back, asking them to use their chest and head etc. Dedicate 20 minutes twice a week and over the course of a season you will see great improvement.

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Tracking the #9


Group of three GKs, one working and two acting as targets. Set up as shown, coach has a group of balls and three colored cones; yellow, red, and blue.

Tracking the #9, Goalkeeping Soccer Drill|


The coach holds all three cones behind his back and plays a back pass/through ball back to the GK on the ground. As the ball travels the coach flashes one of the cones up in the air for the GK to see and then puts it behind his back again. Each color represents a certain type of action/distribution. For example, blue cone- first time right footed clearance to target in red, red cone- first time left footed clearance to target in yellow, yellow cone- GK must back peddle quickly and pick up the ball inside the 18 and distribute with his hands to either target. If no cone is shown the GK simply plays an accurate ball with pace back to the coach which represents a penetrating ball into a midfield player. Rep through a designated number of balls and then switch GKs. Progression could include: two touch clearances, one touch clearances, laces, inside the foot, outside the foot, balls played back on the ground, bouncing, and in the air. Add pressure with oncoming #9, #7, and or #11.

Coaching Points:

Aggressive starting position outside the 18 on top of the D. Managing the space outside the box by reading the pace and angle of the back pass and through ball, speed of thought, and speed of play as if there is a #9 running full speed at the GK. Tracking the color of the cone by keeping your head up and watching off the ball momentarily and then shifting focus back to the ball. Deciding which foot to use, which part of the foot, amount of touches, no risk execution of possession over distance to wide areas of the field.