The goalkeeper in soccer is a unique position that requires a combination of good reflexes, reaction time, footwork, kicking, proper positioning to stop shots and set pieces and sometimes just plain luck. It is a challenging role that needs a lot of individual technique work with goalie training drills to be practiced on your own to get yourself ready for match-day.
Below are five top football goalkeeper drills to improve your skills and performance as a goalkeeper so when your team takes the pitch you are the one who is between the sticks!
This first drill will help improve your reflexes, reaction time and concentration. This drill comes courtesy of GK Petr Cech during his time at Chelsea. The basic set-up is as follows and will require help from your coaches, friends or teammates:
Position three people close to you, one to your left, one central and one to your right. The people on the right and left will toss you a soccer ball at close range and the person in the middle will hit a tennis ball at you. Start on the right and go right to left and back through the rotation several times, increasing the speed as you go. Making sure to focus on good form when receiving and “saving” the ball.
This is one of the best goalkeeper drills because it improves your reflexes and reaction time at a close range with soccer balls and tennis balls (the tennis balls add an element of fun!) which also improve your concentration and mental sharpness. This is one of the more advanced goalkeeper drills so do not be discouraged if you aren’t able to master this drill right away. Not all of us are Petr Cech!
This drill comes from Swansea City and will help improve your kicking distribution. This drill requires you the keeper and 4 other people who are called “servers”. Two servers will be located close to you one to the left and one to the right and two more servers further up the pitch also to the left and right.
This is one of the most important goalkeeper training drills because while possession football is becoming more and more popular sometimes the pressure from the offense it too great that you the keeper must distribute the ball further down field. You don’t just want to hoof the ball downfield in a blind fashion. This drill will help you find and pick-out a teammate relieving your team of pressure.
Agility, Speed and coordination are the focus of these soccer goalkeeper drills from Kevin Hartman a former professional keeper who made over 400 appearances in MLS from 1997 to 2012. He starts the footwork drills with basic footwork exercises that also warm up your hands with catching shot at the end. Notice the different footwork techniques taught in the different sections forward, lateral and one-legged movements of different varieties.
These footwork drills teach balance and improve core leg strength that will give you solid footing in a demanding position. The drills are easy ti run as well as you only need some cones to properly do them on your own. If you have a friend or coach there to shoot a ball at you at the end that makes these drills even better but just the footwork exercises alone are very beneficial if you are training solo.
Positioning is a key part of goalkeeping and it is important for a keeper to always be in the proper position in order to defend against a shot or help his or her team in possession. This drill focuses on defensive position and angles and comes from the LA Galaxy of MLS.
To understand the concept of the basic position you will use cones to make a triangle from each goal post to the ball which forms the tip of the triangle (see XX:XX on the video). This will help the keeper see the angle the shooter has to score at the near or far post. Have the shooter take a few shots with the cones both near and far post so the keeper understands the angle the shooter is shooting from. Any shot that is outside the cones will miss the target.
After this remove the cones and take several more shots both near and far post with the keeper using proper technique. This drill is flexible, as you can set the ball at different location and angles around the goal to practice almost every scenario a keeper may see during a game.
Set pieces and crossing from deep are a big part of the modern game. Every team is searching for unique way to catch the opposing defense and keeper out of position to score that potential game winnign goal. Dealing with crosses as a keeper is an essential skill that you must keep sharp. This drill also comes from the excellent coaches and academy of Swansea City and requires the use of some mannequins (placed in the six yard box) and 2 sets of servers on your left and right with one being near and one deep.
The servers will alternate serving balls into the box. The goal for the goalkeeper is to catch or clear the ball without running into the mannequins. Once the ball is secured practice your distribution skills by throwing the ball to the server on the opposite flank that the ball came from. Take note of some of the technique tips in this video as they will give you the proper form to effectively deal with crosses and corners. Goalkeeper training drills like this one will certainly improve your ability to claim balls in the air.
Doing the best goalkeeper drills above will improve your confidence and performance as a football goalie. You will notice increased speed, agility, strength, coordination and conditioning which are all essential to be a successful goalkeeper. So get on to the pitch or your backyard to conduct these football goalkeeper drills because only through your own hard work will you achieve your footballing goals!
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