Football Goalkeeping Drills

The following soccer drills are specifically aimed at improving goalkeeping skills and goalkeeper training. The goalkeeper is often overlooked in training sessions and setting up some specific goalkeeping drills will build confidence and help the goalkeeper feel valued.

Catching and Throwing

Players cross the ball in high from different angles and the keeper must catch and throw the ball back. For variance, the next kick taker can be kept secret in order to develop reactions and vision.

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for:
U10’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, cones, and balls Organisation:  Play is set up using one goal, one GK, 8 players with one ball each. In order starting left to right the serving player hits a lofted cross into the marked zone in the penalty area. The GK must come with confidence and catch the ball at its highest point. To get the best possible jump, the goalkeeper should jump off one leg and lift the knee. If the GK collects the ball they must move towards the edge of the box and throw the ball towards the cones, simulating a fast break attack.

Progressions:

  • Randomly number the servers so the GK does not know which direction the next cross is coming from.
  • Place a forward in the marked area to try and get on the end of the crosses

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • The goalkeeper should jump off one leg and lift the knee
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Starting position
  • Timing

Decision Making

One player takes shots at using five balls spread around the ‘D’. This drill is good for shot-stopping, reactions and covering all angles of attack at the goal.

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for
: U8’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, cones, and balls

Organisation:  

Play is set up using one goal, one GK, one forward and 5 balls. 1 striker works and has five attempts to score. The players come and collect a ball, turn and shoot. As soon as the player shoots they must sprint to pick up another ball. The aim of the drill is for the goalkeeper to quickly decide on angles, positioning and which technique he is going to use to save the ball, chest save, ‘W’, low dive and if they are going to catch the ball or parry it into a safe area.

Progressions:

  • Ask the forward to mix their shooting technique. Low drives, chip, curl, etc.
  • The forward must try and round the keeper 1 on 1.

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Starting position
  • Saving technique

Catching Crosses

Goalkeeper defends against corner crosses aiming to catch the ball and return it quickly to a wide receiving player. Attackers can be added to put more pressure on the goalkeeper.

 Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for
: U11’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, cones, and balls

Play is set up using one goal, one GK, one server, one wide player and 10 balls. The aim of the drill is for the server to cross the ball from a wide area or corner into the cone’s area around the 6yd box. The emphasis is on the GK’s decision making, anticipating the flight and speed of the ball to come and catch the ball at its highest point. When the GK has collected the ball they must move towards the edge of the box and throw the ball towards the wide play simulating a fast break attack.

Progressions:

  • Alternate sides so crosses come in from both the left and right wide positions.
  • Change angles of server
  • Wide player can cross balls into coned area.
  • Drive crosses
  • Loft crosses

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Communication, keep talking to the defenders and other players around the last 3rd of the pitch (KEEPER’S BALL !!!) Even at training it is good practice to shout loud for the ball
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Starting position

Catching Crosses 2

The ball is crossed in at varying heights and positions and the goalkeeper competes with outfield players to catch the ball. More players can be added gradually to recreate a game situation.

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for
: U11’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, cones, and balls

Organisation: Play is set up using one goal, one GK, one server, one wide player, one defender, two forwards, and 10 balls. The aim of the drill is for the server to cross the ball from a wide area or corner into the cones area around the 6yd box. The 2 forwards and the defender are allowed to compete for the ball. The emphasis is on the GK’s decision making, anticipating the flight and speed of the ball to come and catch the ball at its highest point. If the GK collects the ball they must move towards the edge of the box and throw the ball towards the wide play simulating a fast break attack.

Progressions:

  • Alternate sides so crosses come in from both the left and right wide positions.
  • Change angles of server
  • Wide player can cross balls into coned area.
  • Drive crosses
  • Loft crosses

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Communication, keep talking to the defenders and other players around the last 3rd of the pitch (KEEPER’S BALL !!!) Even at training it is good practice to shout loud for the ball
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Starting position

Anticipation

Two players attack against the goalkeeper. They mix it up between passing and shooting direct and the goalkeeper must anticipate and react.

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for
: U9’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area and balls

Organisation: Play is set up using one goal, one GK, one server, one forward and 10 balls. The aim of the drill is for the server to either shoot towards the near post, high or low, alternatively, the server can pass the ball to the forward for a 1st time . The emphasis is on the GK’s decision making, anticipating where the ball is going, and quick feet, keeping the body square and if possible behind the ball.

Progressions:

  • Increase/decrease tempo of shots
  • Increase the distance between server, the forward and GK.
  • Change angles of server and forward

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Stance – bend the knees to lower the body, head, and shoulders up straight.
  • GK’s body to be relaxed at all times to aid quick movement

‘W’ Catch

The ball is thrown high in the air and the goalkeeper must catch it above the head. This drill works well as a warm-up for intercepting crosses and long passes.

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for
: U7’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area and balls

Organisation: Play is set up using one goal, one GK, one server, 10 balls. The aim of the drill is for the server to half volley/or throw the ball above the keeper’s head. The ‘W’ catch is used by the goalkeeper when the ball is high or going over the head of the GK. It is important to lock the wrists getting the body in line with the flight of the ball as quickly as possible using good footwork.

Progressions:

  • Increase/decrease tempo of shots
  • Increase the distance between servers and GK.
  • Change angles

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Stance – bend the knees to lower the body, head, and shoulders up straight. as the ball arrives, lock the wrists getting the body in line with the flight of the ball as quickly as possible

Chest Catch

The ball is fed in on the half volley towards the goalkeeper’s chest and they must catch safely and return the ball. A good drill for a quick warm-up to get the arms and hands moving.

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for
: U7’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area and balls

Organisation: Play is set up using one goal, one GK, one server, 10 balls. The aim of the drill is for the server to half volley shots straight at the keeper’s chest. The chest catch is needed when the shot is right at the keeper, as the ball arrives, the keeper should surround it with his arms, elbows close together to trap it against the chest.

Progressions:

  • Increase/decrease tempo of shots
  • Increase the distance between servers and GK.

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Stance – bend the knees to lower the body, head, and shoulders up straight. as the ball arrives, the keeper should surround it with his arms, elbows close together to trap it against the chest

Footwork

Two attackers alternate shooting from different sides of the goal. Keeper must use his feet to get quickly get in a good position to save the next shot.

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for: U9’s and upwards

Equipment:
Marked area, cones, and balls

Organisation: Play is set up using one goal, one GK, two servers, 10 balls. The aim of the drill is for the servers to shoot/volley/throw at the goal in 2 different directions. Server 1 is shown aiming towards the near post both high and low. Server 2 is shown aiming high to the near post but also high to the far post. The timing of the shots is important, as the aim is to work the goalkeeper, but not to make it impossible for them to save the ball.

Progressions:

  • Increase/decrease tempo of shots
  • Disguise the shot so the keeper has to make quick decisions.
  • Increase the distance between servers and GK to wider areas.

Coaching Points

  • Communication, keep talking to the defenders and other players around the last 3rd of the pitch (KEEPER’S BALL !!!) Even at training it is good practice to shout loud for the ball
  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Stance – bend the knees to lower the body, head, and shoulders up straight. The legs are now loaded like springs for quicker reaction to low or high shots
  • Decision making regarding the positioning of the hands/arms. Elbows tucked in with hands up or hand low.

2 Way Shooting

Two players shoot from different sides of the goal aiming to force the goalkeeper to react and change sides quickly. An advancement would be to sometimes have the same player shoot twice in a row to give the goalkeeper another element to think about.

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for: U9’s and upwards

Equipment:
Marked area, cones, and balls

Organisation: Play is set up using one goal, one GK, two servers, 10 balls. The aim of the drill is for the servers to shoot/volley/throw at the goal in 2 different directions. One server hits the ball low to the goalkeeper’s right and the other server then aims high to the goalkeepers left. The timing of the shots is important, Working the keeper is the aim but do not make it impossible for them not to save the ball.

Progressions:

  • Increase/decrease tempo of shots
  • Disguise the shot so the first one could be high or low or to the left or right.
  • Increase/decrease distances between servers and GK.

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Footwork – agility & flexibility
  • Stance – bend the knees to lower the body, head, and shoulders up straight. The legs are now loaded like springs for quicker reaction to low or high shots
  • Decision making regarding the positioning of the hands/arms. Elbows tucked in with hands up or hand low.

Cone Deflection

A number of cones or obstacles are placed in the penalty area. Striker shoots hoping to get a deflection which will force the keeper to react

Aim: To improve Goalkeeping techniques

Suitable for: U7’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, cones, and balls

Organisation: Play is set up as in diagram using one goal, one GK, two servers, 10 balls and cones randomly placed in or around the 6yd box. The aim of the drill is for the servers (midfielders or forwards) to shoot at the goal along the ground trying to hit a cone on the way, this will obviously deflect the ball in a different direction. Players shoot alternatively from either side giving the keeper time to set themselves in between each shot.

Progressions:

  • Increase tempo of shots
  • Increase/decrease distances between servers, cones, and GK.

Coaching Points

  • Keeper to be on toes all the time
  • Anticipation & awareness
  • Agility & flexibility
  • Stance – bend the knees to lower the body, head, and shoulders up straight. The legs are now loaded like springs for quicker reaction to low or high shots
  • Decision making regarding the positioning of the hands/arms. Elbows tucked in with hands up or hand low.

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