A soccer goalkeeper is a unique, tough and vital position in this beautiful game. For success in soccer, the goalkeeper needs to have the essential skills to play the position effectively.

This is why coaches incorporate soccer goalkeeper drills into the training sessions – to enhance the player’s goalkeeping skills.

For beginner teams, these soccer goalkeeper drills can be instrumental in identifying who among the players is best suited for the goalkeeper position.

This post outlines some of the most effective soccer goalkeeper drills your team can implement.

It is important to note that each drill focuses on a different skill or set of skills. Let’s go into the details.

Agility Hands

This drill is meant to enhance the goalkeeper’s footwork and agility skills. It focuses on improving the goalkeeper’s catching ability.

How it works

In this drill, the goalkeeper works through multiple cones and then tries to save balls that are shot from short distances.

Setup

  • Place a sequence of cones in front of the goal. These cones can be set up in different variations.
  • At the end of the set of cones farthest from the goal, set up two mannequins (or cones/flags) about seven yards apart
  • One goalkeeper starts at the goal (on the goal line)
  • Two other goalkeepers play as servers to perform this drill. The two servers start about 5 yards off each of the two mannequins each with a ball at hand.
  • Each server should have about four extra soccer balls.
  • For experienced players, you can perform this drill in front if a full-size goal so that goalkeepers can get used to their box. For less experienced keepers, you can use smaller goals or simply cones/flags.

Instructions

  • The goalkeeper at the goal line begins by swiftly running through the sequence of cones placed in front of the goal.
  • When they have moved through the entire series of cones, the keeper then quickly runs to the outside of the nearest mannequin.
  • When the goalkeeper arrives at the outside of the mannequin, the server placed at that mannequin dropkicks the ball they are holding towards the goalkeeper’s chest.
  • The goalkeeper then catches the ball, instantly throws it back to the server it came from and quickly moves across to the outside of the second mannequin. The same process is repeated at that other mannequin.
  • After they throw the ball back to the server at the second mannequin, the keeper runs backward, while adhering to the proper footwork, to the goal line, and then repeats the same process for about ten catches.
  • When the goalkeeper completes their round, they are allowed to rest, and any lost soccer balls are recovered. If there are other goalkeepers, rotate them accordingly.
  • Every goalkeeper should perform for three rounds. The footwork used to move through the cones can be set to be different for each round.

Variations

The coach can instruct the servers to pass the ball on the ground, instead of throwing, and the goalkeepers to pass the ball back by the feet in one-touch.

Servers can also toss the soccer ball high so that the goalkeeper has to jump in an attempt to catch the ball

Alternatively, servers can make the goalkeepers dive for the ball by tossing or passing it wide outside the mannequins

Deflect and Dive

This soccer goalkeeper drill focuses on improving the goalkeeper’s ability to block shots by moving swiftly and with agility across the goal.

How it works

The goalkeeper tries to block a low shot at one of the goalposts and then quickly gets up and sprints across the goal in an attempt to block a high ball at the other goalpost.

Setup

  • A full-sized goal is needed to perform this drill
  • One goalkeeper starts at the goal, on the goal line.
  • Three other players position themselves as servers for this drill.

 Server 1 starts on the goal end line, about 1 or 2 yards off the goal post.

 Server2 starts inside the field, about 7 yards off the goal post opposite of server 1.

 Server3 also starts inside the field, approximately 9 yards away from the midpoint of the goal.

  • Server 1 and server 3 should have a sufficient supply of soccer balls. This will depend with the number of saving attempts the goalkeeper will make before resting.

Instructions

  • Server1 begins the drill by making a low pass to server2
  • As the ball moves towards server2, the goalkeeper also moves toward server 2 trying to disrupt the scoring angles.
  • Server2 then takes a low shot, and the goalkeeper tries to block the shot. Server2 is only allowed to make a one-touch shot, and the goalkeeper can block the ball by their hands or feet.
  • Immediately after the first shot, the goalkeeper then gets up, and sprints towards the other post while serve3 concurrently throws a high ball towards the goalpost the goalkeeper is running to. The goalkeeper then attempts to make a save.
  • The coach can allow the goalkeeper a few seconds of rest time before they begin the next round depending on factors such as age and fitness level of the goalkeeper. Experienced goalkeepers may not need the break. If there are many goalkeepers for this drill, allow each goalkeeper to perform 2 or 3 rounds and then immediately rotate to the next goalkeeper.
  • Rotate the positions of the high ball and low ball servers so that the goalkeepers move in different ways
  • 3 to 6 rounds per goalkeeper is a good number, but the coach can vary the number of rounds accordingly.

Variations

Instead of throwing or making light passes, the coach can instruct the servers to move farther away from the goal and make heavy on-goal shots.

Goalie Wars

This soccer goalkeeper drill works on developing various goalkeeping skills including footwork, reflexes, and agility. Goalkeepers also train for distribution and confidence.

How it works

This drill involves goalkeepers competing against each other at high speeds while attempting to score at each other’s goals.

Every goalkeeper is allowed to throw, kick, or drop kick the soccer ball towards the other goalkeeper with the aim of scoring. The other goalkeeper tries to block the ball.

Setup

  • Use cones to make a grid measuring 20 by 15 yards. Place a cone at the midpoint of each sideline of the grid.
  • Place a full-sized goal at the two end lines of the grid farthest from each other.
  • Use cones to make goalie zones by marking a line about five yards in front of each goal. The cones should not distract the play, but the goalkeepers should be able to see the lines easily.
  • One goalkeeper starts at each of the two goals. After each round, the goalkeepers should be rotated. Rounds can be determined based on time or score limits. About 4 minutes per round is suitable. You can also decide that a round ends after any of the two goalkeepers scores five goals. Each goalkeeper can be required to play about five rounds.
  • One of the two goalkeepers starts with a soccer ball
  • Ensure that there is enough supply of soccer balls at each goal

Instructions

  • The drill begins by each goalkeeper standing inside their respective goalie zones. The goalkeeper with the ball throws, kicks, drop kicks, or volleys the ball towards the opponent’s goal in an attempt to score. This attempt must be made while remaining inside their goalie zone.
  • The other goalkeeper attempts to defend and save the shot, and if they make a save, they attempt to score at the other goalkeeper’s goal
  • If a score is made, the goalkeeper who scores starts with a new soccer ball from their goalie zone
  • If a save is made and the ball leaves the designated grid, the goalkeeper who blocked the shot gets to start with a new ball
  • If the ball hits a goal post and rolls back into the shooter’s half, the shooting goalkeeper gets to make a one-touch on-goal shot attempt from anywhere within their respective half.
  • The above is repeated until the round ends
  • Goalkeepers rest when the round is over. If there are other goalkeepers, they should rotate immediately and accordingly. If there is only one set of goalkeepers for the drill, have them rest for about 3 minutes before they start the next round.

Variations

For younger or less experienced goalkeepers, the coach can form a 2v2 so that two goalkeepers start at each goal.

The coach can also change scoring techniques to make each round different. For instance, the coach can allow only kicks from the ground or throws only.

Goalkeeper Reaction

This drill trains goalkeepers for better positioning, fast decision making and shot stopping.

How it works

The goalkeeper attempts to save a shot from two attackers that move behind mannequin defenders ready to receive the ball from the passing player and attempt to score.

The goalkeeper doesn’t know which of the two attacking players will receive the ball, and must, therefore, react instantaneously and try a save the ball once the on-goal shot is made.

Setup

  • Set up three mannequins/flags/cones about 2 yards outside of the penalty area. These three should be about 6 yards apart, and all should be parallel to the penalty area line.
  • Set up three mannequins/flags/cones about 2 yards outside of the penalty area. These three should be about 6 yards apart, and all should be parallel to the penalty area line.
  • Place three cones about 10 yards directly from each mannequin. This is where the starting attackers will begin.
  • Place a full-size goal on the end line of the penalty box.
  • A goalkeeper starts at the goal. Any extra goalkeepers can stand at the side of the goal ready to rotate in after a certain number of repetitions.
  • You will need three other players to play as the attackers for this drill. One attacker begins at each of the three cones. The attacker at the center cone should begin with a ball placed on their feet. Any extra attackers can line up behind the cones ready to rotate.
  • The attacker on the center cone should be supplied with 4-6 soccer balls.

Instructions

  • The attacker with the ball starts by dribbling towards the mannequins. The goalkeeper begins at the goal ready to save the shot.
  • The other two attackers run towards the mannequins ready to receive a through ball from behind the mannequins.
  • The attacking player with the ball then makes a pass to one of the other two attackers
  • When the pas is made, the goalkeeper immediately moves towards the attacker who is set to receive the ball and attempts to cut off the scoring angles.
  • The attacker then attempts to score by either taking a one-touch shot or attempting to bypass the goalkeeper by dribbling around them
  • The goalkeeper reacts appropriately to the attacker’s move and attempts to save
  • The attacker that receives the through pass must not pass back the ball to the other two attackers, and should instead strive to score with no assistance.
  • The attacking players should ensure that they stay onside by timing their runs accordingly. This will make the exercise more realistic.
  • If a save or a goal is made, the participants reset, and the process is repeated immediately after everyone is in their position. Extra goalkeepers can rotate in after two repetitions. Extra attackers may rotate after every rotation.
  • The drill can continue until every goalkeeper has made at least seven rotations.

Variations

The coach can create more attacking positions to accommodate more attackers. This will enhance the goalkeepers’ skills by making them react to more attacking positions.

The coach can also allow the starting player to take a long-range on-goal shot instead of making a through pass to the other attackers. This will make the goalkeeper stay more alert and in position for any kind of shot.

Final Thoughts

Goalkeeper skills are vital for the success of any soccer team. The soccer drills outlined above will help improve your players’ goalkeeping skills.

Since every goalkeeping drill has a different setup and aims at enhancing different skills, it is important for coaches to implement the drills correctly and for the right expected results.

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