The most common direction of short goalkicks is from goalkeeper to central defender (GK->DC). However, the reversed direction (DC->GK) is getting more and more popular.
If you split by season you’d notice a trend. For the last 3 seasons percent of goalkicks directed towards goalkeepers increased from 0.5% (2019/20) to 6% (2021/22). It is especially noticeable in Serie-A.
A list of teams with the highest percentage of short goalkicks played towards goalkeepers for the past 3 seasons. Calculated for ‘short’ goalkicks only (i.e. pass length less than 20 meters). 8 out of 10 top teams are from Serie A.
Now you probably want to know if the strategy works. As an efficiency of sequences started by goal kick I like using an ‘average progression distance from own goal’. Graph compares progression height for ‘traditional’ (GK->outfielder) and ‘nerdy’ (outfielder->GK) goalkicks.
Almost all of these teams progress the ball higher when they make their first pass to a keeper. In replies, I’d love to read your ideas why passing to a keeper helps progressing the ball higher than traditional approach.