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Goalkeeper drills Training the Basics for Handling - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote
Goalkeeper drills

Goalkeepers at all levels are required not only to handle the ball, but to handle all routine shots and crosses successfully. Yet, in every game, we see, regardless of the level, mishandled shots or crosses.

At   the   NSCAA goalkeeper drills  Academy,   we train coaches to train goalkeepers to minimize mishandled shots through the following sequence:

1.  Identify or name the handling techniques. There are only 4 ways in which a keeper has to handle any shot. Also identify the associated handling positions and there are only 3 of these. By  simplifying the  position, you allow the keeper to  make easier technical decisions and also allow them the appropriate reference points  so  that  they  can  coach themselves.

2.   Train each handling technique separately to make sure the key aspects are understood and repeated and then train them collectively so that the keeper has to adjust from one handling position to another based on the shot,soccer goalkeeper role location and pace. Remember when training techniques; make sure there are many, many repetitions.

However,   before we even begin to identify and train handling, we must first perfect the goalkeeper stance and ready position. The stance is consistent with any athletic starting position. The knees are slightly bent and the feet are about shoulder width apart, the weight is forward onto the “ball of the feet” and the feet are only slightly toed out.goalkeeper training videos A key aspect of the proper stance is that the elbows are also flexed at about 90 degrees with the hands forward, relaxed and with the palms facing down.  A flat piece of cardboard should slide up along the body with the elbows slight in front. The head is still and slightly forward and also relaxed. The important aspect of the stance is that the overall position is relaxed, not tense and that it facilitates movement.

Movement is created by a “transfer of momentum” initiating from the hands and arms (the smaller levers of the body) and then transferring to the legs and back (the larger levers of the body). Common mistakes with the stance are:

1.  Rigid, tense muscular positions,

2.  Palms facing out (either above the waist or from below the waist),

3.  Arms allowed hanging down too low,

4.  Feet staggered and not balanced or square

5.  Poor head position.




The four handling positions are:

1.  Basket Catch – balls played along the ground or up to mid-trunk that allow the keeper to get behind the ball.

2.  Contour Catch – balls played at mid-trunk or higher that allow the keeper to get square behind the ball. The question always arises, when do I go from a basket catch to a contour catch? goalkeeper tips The answer is when the ball is to be first touched by the forearms then use the basket catch. When the ball is going to hit your body first, then use the contour catch.

3.  High-Contour Catch – balls such as crosses that can be caught above the challenge use the same technique as the contour catch but with extended or nearly extended arms so to catch above any field player’s challenge .

4.  Side-Contour Catch – balls that are slightly to the side, not allowing the keeper to be square behind the shot, require a side-contour catch. This catch is again the same as the contour catch but just turned on its side. The head, hands and ball come together to secure the catch.

Training Methods:


GK-2 begins between back 2 cones, spaced shoulders’ width apart, on command from GK-1, GK-2  steps forward and sets in front of top 2 cones – 2 yards apart and handles ball delivered by GK-1.  Continue. Train each technique in 2-3 minute intervals.

Use hand distribution to maximize repetitions to train the basic techniques to handling:

1.  Basket Catch (baseball throw a skipped ball)

2.  Contour Catch (sling throw the ball towards the chest/head)

3.  Side-Contour (toss the ball just outside the frame of the body)

4.  High-Contour (toss the ball into the air in front of GK)


• Foot distribution: off the ground, half-volley and volley should be used for intermediate to high level goalkeepers

• Coach serves the goalkeepers; goalkeepers rotate through the exercise

Phase 1 Set up:

Utilizing the goal. Cones are placed 3 yards off the goal line representing the middle third of the goal. 3 goalkeepers train. GK1 in goal, between the goalie training  GK2 and GK3 outside the goal on each post. Coach (C) serves from 14 – 16 yards.


Emphasizing the middle third of the goal enforces the goalkeepers to use proper footwork, which should eliminate diving and reaffirm utilization of basic techniques. The coach should stipulate no diving and encourage good footwork.


• GK1 starts between the cones with a ball.GK1 bowls ball to coach.  Prior to first time redirection from coach, GK1 should pre-stretch and set.  GK1 reacts to shot using proper handling technique. After making the save, GK1 exits the goal towards GK2. GK2 enters the exercise and continues the sequence

• GK1 starts between the cones facing the goal. Coach has the soccer balls. On command, GK1 will turn to handle a shot from coach

• GK1 starts outside the cones. On command, GK1 will shuffle and set in between the cones to handle a shot from the coach


• Coach serves volleys and drop-kicks

• Incorporate agility: start goalkeepers on their stomach or sides

• Have goalkeepers face the flank outside the cones.goalkeeper training drills This will force the goalkeepers to use a drop-step and/or cross-over step

• Have goalkeepers shuffle and touch the cone or footwork around the cones

Coaching Points:

• Focus on setting feet and using proper ready

Position to handle shots

• Utilize proper techniques to catch the ball.

• Emphasize footwork and getting the body behind the ball

• Maximize the number of repetitions to train technique

Phase 2 Set up:

Utilizing the goal, GK1 will stand in the center of the goal. GK2 and GK3 will be positioned outside the corners of the 6 yard box with 2 medicine balls each. Coach is 16 yards away with soccer balls.


Kick Goal medicine balls are useful tools to assist goalkeepers with using proper technique and increasing strength.


• GK1 wills footwork to GK2 and handle a bowled ball using a front-smother save. GK1 will then recover back to the center of the goal, set to handle a shot to a pre-determined side to train the collapse dive. Repeat sequence to the other. After completing the sequence, GK2 replaces GK1 in goal; GK1 becomes a server.

• GK1 wills footwork to GK2, set to handle a bowled ball to the right side using a collapse dive. GK1 will then recover back to the center of the goal. The coach will then play a ball in front of GK1 for them to make a breakaway save.goalkeeper drills to do alone Repeat the sequence to the other side. The only change is having GK1 make a collapse dive to their left

• GK1 will footwork to GK2, set to handle a ball played to either the sides or at GK1 to make a collapse dive or front smother save.  GK1 will then recover to the center of the goal, set, then handle either a shot or respond to a loose ball for a breakaway save.


• Replace medicine balls with regular soccer balls

• Incorporate a live breakaway from the top of the penalty area

• Provide foot service from the angle positions

• Increase the intensity level; each segment of the training exercise should be continuous

Coaching Points:

• Stress the importance of the technical set position

• Goalkeepers need to bring in the forearms when making a front-smother save

• Encourage saving through the ball when making the breakaway save.

• When making a collapse   dive save, the goalkeeper’s body momentum should come forward towards the ball

Phase 3 Set up:

• Mark out a field: 25 x 44

• Divide 18 players into 4 groups, each with a different color. Arrange four teams of 4 and

2 goalkeepers

• The game is 2 v 2 + 2 neutral players

• Utilize resting team players as neutral players.

• 2-3 minute games


Goalkeeper coach should be behind the goal evaluating the goalkeeper’s performance. Feedback should be provided after the 2-3 minute intervals.


• Teams play 2 v 2 + 2

• The objective is to create as many shots as possible on goal

• After 2-3 minutes, alternate the 2 resting players from each team,goalkeeper drills youth as well as the neutral players and play another game.  Winning team will remain on the field.


• Add two neutral players to the flanks. This will add the dimension of dealing with crosses (high-contour)

• Eliminate directional play; allow the teams to attack either goal

Coaching Points:

• Emphasize positional play; ball-line and angle arch

• Use proper distribution

• Tactical decision making

The associated handling positions are as follows:

1.   Front-smother – this is an extension of the basket catch, used to control hard low shots.

2.  Break-away technique – this is an extension of the side-contour catch.goalkeeper drills for kids The Break-away save, technique and tactics will be discussed in a later article but as you can see, the technique requires the side-contour catch position as the keeper sprawls to win a through ball or an open ball in their penalty area .

3.   Collapse Dive – these techniques is again an extension of the side- contour handling position requiring a diving save. The collapse dive is when the keeper catches the ball before the save but their momentum requires a controlled collapse with the ball.

Remember, when training techniques the key component is repetition.  You should coach to build self-confidence in your keeper. Don’t overanalyze…sometimes you do everything right  as a keeper and get scored on,  and  other times  you  make a number of mistakes but the ball stays out of the net so be selective with your coaching.

Briana Scurry, probably the best woman keeper to ever play was not a great technical goalkeeper drills. Some of her catching or handling was not perfect BUT, she made the save so I didn’t over- coach her. That is what I mean by being selective.  It’s   more important to have a self-confident keeper than a keeper suffering from paralysis by analysis!

Good luck and enjoy working with your keeper…the time spent will make a difference for your team.


Learn More Here:

Goalkeeper Training Workout

Analyzing Soccer Goalkeeper Performance




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