In football, the goal keeper is the last line of defence. This crucial position requires the best of the best players. Lightning-fast reflexes, high agility and sharp thinking apart from the usual are absolutely necessary.
Good keepers wait, great keepers run
A sweeper keeper rushes off the goal line and tries to obtain possession of the ball or anticipate the shot of the forward. By reducing the reaction time and shot range of the forward, the keeper has increased their odds of blocking the shot.
- Imagine the top view of the keeper vs forward faceoff.
- The base of the green triangle is the goal line between the goal posts.
- The reach of the keeper will be a line segment of fixed length since they can only jump a certain distance in either side.
- Taking a modest reach for the keeper, it will be the base of the red triangle.
- The apex of the triangles will be the forward.
- Red triangle because if the forward shoots in that area, the keeper will block it.
- Green triangle because it will be a sure goal.
- The stationary keeper waits for the forward to make their shot.
- The forward has a decent range to shoot their shot.
- The forward closes in.
- Shot range widens for the forward.
- Things turn tougher for the keeper.
- The keeper lunges forward restricting the shot range of the forward.
- The forward is under pressure to take the shot ASAP with every second costing dearly.
Sweeper keepers contribute and build the play for their team. They push forward the entire formation.
Unfortunately, sweep keeping is a high-risk high-reward tactic. The forward can opt to chip the ball, pass the ball back or any of the other 51 alternatives. Mistakes of sweeper keepers can lead to long range goals. Think Zlatan’s 30-yard bicycle kick goal vs England [VID].