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Soccer Drills - 5 Goalkeeping Drills

Updated on October 22, 2013

The soccer goalkeeper is one of the most important players on the field - they are the last line of defense and the first line of attack. To play the position well requires special skills and training. Here are a few excellent drills designed to help soccer coaches coach their goalkeepers. It outlines and demonstrates basic soccer goalkeeping techniques and tactics.

The areas of a goalkeepers skills that need to be worked on more than most are the areas of Footwork and Postioning, Catching, Diving, Distribution and Punching. Improving on all these areas will make your goalkeeper an invaluable member of the team and the team will improve overall having a solid back line of defence behind them.


Along with footwork and good catching skills, positioning provides the foundation of good goalkeeping. A keeper who is always in position makes it look like every shot goes right to them, because the shooter has nowhere else to put the ball. Poor positioning leaves vast areas of net for a shooter, or even an empty net.


Get the goalkeeper to stand in the net with 3-4 players waiting on the outside of the area at one corner. Have a huge supply of balls


The players one by one dribble across the top of the penalty area. As the player moves across the penalty area, the goalkeeper needs to move along an imaginary arc 2-6 yards from the goal line while keeping their body positioned between the goal and the ball. The player can shoot at any point at their own discretion. The keeper should make the save and quickly back to be in place along the arc for the next player.

Coaching Points

  • Goalkeeper should shuffle their feet quickly without crossing their feet
  • Goalkeeper should keep good position on the arc between the ball and the goal
  • Goalkeeper should keep a good distance of 2-6 yards from the goalline and never on the goalline.
  • Goalkeeper should move quickly

Recommended Goalkeeper Coaching DVDs from Amazon

Soccer Coaching:34 Soccer Goalie Drills
Soccer Coaching:34 Soccer Goalie Drills

This DVD provides numerous creative drills that some of the best soccer goalkeepers in the world use to perfect and enhance their skills.


Recommended Books from Amazon for Goalkeeping Drills

Coaching Kids to Play Soccer: Everything You Need to Know to Coach Kids from 6 to 16
Coaching Kids to Play Soccer: Everything You Need to Know to Coach Kids from 6 to 16

A friendly, easy-to-use, fully illustrated guide which shows coaches how to run a successful soccer team. Emphasizing that kids should have fun, stay active, and learn about team spirit and competition, win or lose, the authors detail every step of building a soccer team that plays well and plays healthy, while having a great time.

W or Contour Catch
W or Contour Catch
Inverted Contour Catch
Inverted Contour Catch
Rolling Ball Pickup
Rolling Ball Pickup


Catching technique is second only to footwork in making a safe, solid keeper. The first thing to remember about catching a soccer ball is always get the hands to the ball first, the second thing is a keeper must have "soft hands", this means they must use their arms, back and legs to cushion the ball, absorbing its energy and allowing them to hang on to it.

There are several ways of catching a ball properly, the W or Contour catch, the inverted Contour catch and the Rolling Ball Pickup - all displayed to the right.


Get the Goalkeeper to stand 5 feet away from another player (or Server) with between 1-3 balls.


The Server either drop kicks, volleys, or kicks ball from the ground to the goalkeepers hands.

Coaching Points

  • The Goalkeeper must use the proper “W” catching technique.
  • The Goalkeeper must have his or her chest forward and attack the ball.


The dive can be the most spectacular save in soccer, with the goalkeeper seemingly flying in out of nowhere to keep the ball from hitting the net. It's an important part of the keeper's arsenal, but a keeper must have sound fundamentals to perform a dive successfully. Diving should only be done as a last resort and good footwork and positioning should eliminate the need to dive often.

Set Up
You should take 5 or more balls and put them few yards from the goal. The goalkeeper should stand in the middle of the goal to start with.

The shooter should kick the ball either to the left or to the right corner of the goal, they should not reveal where they are going to aim.  This should be varied between low and high kicks or also throwing the ball instead of kicking it.

Coaching Points

  • Ensure the goalkeeper uses good footwork
  • Ensure the goalkeeper gets up quickly to receive the next ball
  • The Goalkeeper should try to get his hands to the ball first and use soft hands


The goalkeeper is the last line of defense, but also the first line of attack. After a save is made, the goalkeeper must quickly look to see if there is an opportunity to break out and start the counter attack. Distribution can be done two ways: throws or kicks. Both have advantages for certain situations.

Set Up
Create a small coned area preferably 20m x 15m, with a goal at each end. Divide your players into groups of 4 plus 1 goalkeeper each

During this drill, the players will shoot often and the goalkeeper will put the ball into play at least every 30 seconds or so. The faster he puts the ball into play the better. He should also try to find the best passing alternative and find a player and not just throw or kick the ball away.

Coaching Points

  • The Goalkeeper should practice different types of throws to find the most accurate and the best for each situation.
  • The Goalkeeper should practice rolling the ball out occasionally.
  • Ensure the goalkeeper distributes the ball so that the player can control the ball on receiving it.


There are a few occasions when a goalkeeper will not be able to catch the soccer ball. It still must be kept out of the net, of course, so sometimes the keeper must deflect the ball over the crossbar or around the post. For high crossed balls in traffic, sometimes the safest play is to knock the ball way from the goal area if it cannot be caught.

The three keys to an effective punch are:

  1. Width - getting the ball towards the sidelines, out of the center of the soccer field
  2. Distance - getting the ball as far away from the goal as possible
  3. Height - getting the ball over the attacking players


Have 2 goalkeepers facing each other 3m apart.


Goalkeeper 1 serves ball to Goalkeeper 2 who returns it to Goalkeeper 1 with a controlled 2 fisted punch. Goalkeeper 1 saves the ball. Continue this and do the same but reverse the roles.

Next drill is to do the same but stand the goalkeepers either side of the goal and do it over the top of the goal back and forth.

Coaching Points

  • Two hands to send the ball in the opposite direction; one hand to continue it in the same direction
  • Start with hands in, elbows out, and drive through the ball
  • Fingers form flat surface, thumb behind fist


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