How to Improve Goal Keeping in Soccer

A goalie is an important position for a soccer player. You are the one who prevents the other team from scoring, usually protecting an almost impossible space.

But, some coaches offer some suggestions for being a better goalie.

The Rules

First, know the rules of soccer. Goalies have the same rules as the other players, but while playing inside the box near the goal, they have a new set of rules. (There are different versions, so check with your league.)

You are the only player who can handle the ball with your hands and arms. You have a unique vantage point, and can scan the field easier than other players who are constantly on the move.

You can catch, punch and throw the ball, but only in the penalty area. Outside the area, goalies are under the same roles as the other players.

A goalie has six seconds after picking up the ball to release it, and during that time, an opponent cannot challenge the goalie.

You can intercept high passes. A goalkeeper can go beyond the penalty box, but most rarely do.

You are under high pressure when playing the position, and you have a greater chance of being injured, so some goalies wear more protective gear.

A goalie has to stand with both feet on the line between the goal posts for soccer penalty kicks. 

Goalie Advice

Have a good stance while at the goal, with feet apart, knees and elbows flexed, and elbows slightly out, with hands open in a ready stance. 

Avoid straying too far from the goal line where you are forced back to block shots. 

Get as close to the ball as possible, visualizing a semicircle around the ball and trying to stay in the center of that half circle. 

Don’t reach for the ball as it is shot to you, get as much in front o fit as possible so your chest guards the oncoming shot.

Goalie Drills

One drill involves practicing with a smaller ball than a soccer ball, which causes you to focus on catching. It’s easier to catch a larger ball. Try using a smaller one to improve hand-eye coordination and focus, and be glad you are not playing Quidditch.

Arrange some cones in a straight line a few steps away from each other and touch the ball with the sides of your feet, weaving them in and out of the cones, and then back.

Practice making last-minute decisions. It is important to keep your eye on the ball, but also notice the eyes of the kicker, because that gives an idea where he or she is shooting.

Improve your footwork by doing drills moving side-to-side, jumping and running quickly. When you move side-to-side don’t cross your legs too much because it increases your chances of stumbling. A crossover of your legs may be necessary if you have to go a long distance, so practice drills to be more nimble in those situations.

Practice kicking and punting the ball. That is, practice dropping the ball and kicking it before it hits the ground and get it as far away from the goal and to a teammate.

Improve your jumping, because the higher you can make a standing jump, the easier it will be to block high shots. Use both legs when jumping.

Catch the ball into your chest or higher and use both hands facing out to catch the ball, with your thumbs together to form a W. For catches below the chest, the pinkies can form an M.

Punching the ball is tough because it is not easy to control, but try to understand how to use this technique when necessary.

Diving and jumping is also necessary, so learn how to fall properly without injuring yourself. Keep your hands in front of the ball and follow through with your body.

Remain cool and calm, but fearless. Don’t be afraid to take chances. But, know your limits and don’t try to stray too far from the penalty box.

Goal keeper diving for a ball

Goalie Checklist

  • Have the right equipment, including gloves
  • Stay on the tips of your toes.
  • Build a strong kick
  • Communicate with teammates
  • Move toward the ball, don’t back from it
  • Work on speed and reflex time
  • Keep in front of the goal line
Soccer player in front of the goal

A coach on Sportamix, Steven Taylor, a captain of Newcastle United said he also uses professional workout gear from Kilogearcut, which has special goalie togs.

“I train hard everyday and I’m very lucky I’ve got the likes of kilogearcut to help me with my training and recovery and nutrition plan in place which helps me maintain and keep my high standards in training on and off the field,” Taylor says. “I like to work out in the gym a lot when I’m not on the field training to keep my body in tip top shape. Kilogearcut helps me train with weights in my clothing to make me work harder so when I take them out it becomes easier. Also for recovery it’s key as you need to make sure your body recovers for your next session, so it’s the best compression clothing for an athlete which helps me recover quicker.”

Soccer Coach Steven Taylor