The skill sets required for soccer goalies are different from any other position on the field. While midfielders or forwards can expect to run miles over the course of the game, a goalie would be lucky to take a couple dozen steps during a game. As such the goalie drills are unique and focus on skills beyond endurance and ball handling.
There are three basic skills needed to play in goal. A good goalie needs to be able to anticipate the shot, react to the shot, and then block the shot.
Anticipate the Shot
Anyone who watches or plays soccer knows that the penalty kicks are one of the toughest parts of being a goalie. With just twelve yards separating the goalie and the shooter, anticipating where the shot is going is the first and arguably most important part of being a goalie. Just looking at the statistics, a goalie has a 50/50 chance of choosing correctly. The shot is either going left or right. Obviously these odds are complicated by the possibility of the shot going straight. But the point is that even before the ball is kicked, the goalie needs to make an educated guess as to where the ball is going. Roughly 85% of penalty kicks are successful, meaning that chances are the goalie will fail to make a save. Never the less, an easy drill is to just practice taking penalty kicks and learn to read body language to help predict where the ball is going.
React to the Shot
The next step is to react to the shot. A split second decision can determine whether a shot is blocked or whether it hits the back of the net. Again, taking penalty kicks can be a good way to practice relation time. Stand in the middle of the net and have people take shots at all four corners of the net. This will help you practice your full range of motion and highlight any of the weaknesses you have with a particular side. If you have a weakness, the opponent will find it and take advantage of it, so it is important to be comfortable making saves in all directions.
Stop a Shot
The last basic skill required is the ability to stop a shot. you can’t stop the shot from going between your hands, it doesn’t matter if you can anticipate and react to the shot. Practice really makes perfect in developing the stopping skills. You will develop your own style, but be sure to keep your hands pressed tightly together to prevent the ball from going right between your fingertips. Another good skill is learning how to jump up and catch or punch a ball, such as a corner kick. Practicing corner kicks can help goalies learn when to play defense and when to go out and attack the ball.
There are any number of other drills and exercises to develop your goaltending skills. If you can master the arts of anticipating, reacting, and then stopping the shots, you will be unstoppable in goal.