The principle defender on every football team, having a truly talented goalkeeper on your side can mean the difference between controlling the game, or being dominated by your opponents. This remains true no matter what type of football you play, whether it’s the high-octane, goal-heavy game of indoor 5-a-side, or the strategic, traditional 11-a-side where goal scoring opportunities are more rare.
If you play in this challenging and important position, make sure to level up your skills and sharpen your abilities with specialist goalkeeper training drills. The perfect way to eliminate weak spots in your defensive abilities, dedicating some time in your training sessions to spend solely on goalkeeping drills is essential. Whether you’ve been playing in this position for years and want to upgrade your training plan, or you’re brand new and searching for goalkeeper drills for beginners, get advice from the experts here at Avec Sport.
An old saying that regularly crops up in sport is ‘practice makes perfect’, and that is as true for goalkeepers as it is for anyone else on the team. Spending additional time honing your skills, no matter your level, is the best way to start seeing improvements. Unfortunately, however, it's not as simple as heading to the local pitch and offering to play goalie with some friends. Instead, we recommend practising under the eyes of a talented coach for at least one session a week, and developing a personal goalkeeper training session plan with them to guide your individual practices.
The first rule of any truly great goalkeeper training session plan is that it must be personalised to the individual player.
In sports, and football in particular, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work to bring out the best in players because strengths and weaknesses change from player to player. While one player may struggle with catching the ball and need a lot of training time allocated to goalkeeper handling drills, another could have great coordination but still be nervous taking big dives for the ball. What suits one goalkeeper won’t help another, so having a coach’s input, who can use their trained perspective to pick out these weak spots and recommend goalkeeper drills to help correct them, will be a big help in the planning phase.
The second rule to follow when designing a great goalkeeper training session plan is to make it both effective and fun.
No player wants to spend two straight hours on goalkeeper diving drills, especially if that’s an element of their game that they struggle with, so make sure to include a wide variety of goalkeeper drills, exercises and practice matches. Football training should always remain a fun aspect of taking part in the sport, a time spent exercising with friends, and this element should never be lost.
The third rule to keep in mind when designing a good goalkeeper training session plan is to make the most of coaching sessions.
Players at any level of the game can’t expect to see huge improvements by training only once a week with their team, so planning solo sessions outside of this is the best way to increase the learning speed. One thing to remember, however, is that these sessions should be split up by content, with goalkeeper drills relating to new skills and weak points being scheduled when under the eyes of the coach. Solo goalkeeper training, on the other hand, should focus on practising familiar drills and exercising.
While goalkeeper drills that help to develop and refine skills are an important part of training sessions, one of the best ways to make the most of home goalkeeper training is to work on preparing your body for the demands of the position.
Unique among footballers, the goalkeeper must have an incredibly agile and yet powerful body to allow them to make high saves at a moment’s notice. In order to help them do this, goalkeeper exercises focus primarily on improving strength, coordination and agility.
Why? The purpose of this exercise is to teach goalkeepers how to absorb the impact from jumping safely, a skill they’ll use game after game for their entire career. Learning shock absorption also has the benefit of reducing the risk of knee injuries, which can occur from landing incorrectly.
How? Stand with your feet spread shoulder width apart, bend your knees and push against the ground in a powerful jump. Land safely on bent knees and follow the momentum into a deep squat before repeating the process.
Why? Great for increasing the amount of force exerted when making a jump, this exercise encourages goalkeepers to jump higher than many other exercises, which in turn helps to develop the leg muscles.
How? As with the drop squat jump, this goalkeeper exercise begins by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. From here, drop into a small squat and push into a high jump while simultaneously bringing your knees into the air and tucking them into your chest. Land as gently as possible, absorbing the force of the landing by bending your knees, then repeat.
Why? Once again building on leg strength, adding lunges to your regular goalkeeper training exercises is a great way to improve your balance and control. Once the exercise becomes easier with practice, the difficulty level can be raised through the addition of weights.
How? Split your standing stance so that one foot is in front of the other. Holding your back straight, drop your weight over your front leg and hold a deep lunging position. Straighten up slowly and return to your normal centre of balance before repeating for a full set of lunges. Once you’ve completed the set, swap your leg positions to focus on working the other leg.
Starting with the basics of goalkeeping and building up the most important skills of the position is the best way to introduce newcomers to the sport. This means learning how to do an efficient and safe warm up, eliminating any fear of diving for a save and improving footwork and catching abilities.
While the importance of the goalkeeper can’t be underestimated, they are often simultaneously considered to be on the outskirts of the match and can, as a result, struggle to feel like a member of the team. They need different training, spend a lot of time on goalkeeper-specific drills and pour their efforts into perfecting techniques that aren’t required by in-field players. One of the best ways to eliminate any feelings of exclusion is to plan goalkeeper warm up drills that include the entire squad. Whether it’s warm up games, drills or stretches, this time spent with the team is important to squad morale.
Diving can be an intimidating task for beginner goalkeepers but it also remains one of the most important skills to learn in order to be great in the position. It’s because of this that many coaches will try to get players participating in goalkeeper diving drills as soon as possible, starting with low dives.
How? Create a small, two metre-wide goal on the pitch using two cones and have the goalkeeper stand next to one of the cones in a ‘ready’ position. This means having their knees bent, centre of gravity low and arms ready by their sides. From here, have the coach or another player feed the ball to the opposite cone, which the keeper must make a low dive to save. This should be repeated for a set, before repeating the drill with the keeper starting from the other cone. In order to keep this drill safe for beginners, the coach or session leader should ensure that all players keep their dives as low to the ground as possible to keep impact to a minimum. Each participant should also be dressed in a padded goalkeeper jersey to ensure additional protection in landing.
Agility and speed are two of the most important skills in a goalkeeper's arsenal, and both are needed when learning how to shift weight quickly. Without this ability, a goalkeeper can’t reposition themselves into the perfect position to make a dive, jump or catch, so spending time on goalkeeper footwork drills that shift weight from one leg to the other in quick succession is worth working into any training plan.
How? To set up for this goalkeeper drill, recreate the two metre-wide cone goal from the diving drill and add a course of six cones in a line leading up to it. Starting at the back of the line, the keeper must weave their way through the cones quickly, always facing forward and keeping their knees slightly bent to allow them to shift their weight more easily. Once they make it to the goal, they must catch the ball thrown to them by their coach or partner.
A combination of popular goalkeeper reaction drills and essential catching practices, goalkeeper handling drills help to prepare keepers for the speed, dexterity and coordination that every game will demand of them.
How? Keeping the standard two-metre cone goal from the diving and footwork drills, position the goalkeeper in the centre and partner them up with another player. Using a small to medium sized ball, have the teammate throw the ball within the keepers reach, and have them catch the ball in one hand before passing it back to the thrower. Once returned, the thrower must repeat the process, with the goalkeeper having to catch the ball with the other hand. This alternating forces the keeper to focus more on their coordination and footwork as they move quickly to position their catching hand correctly for receiving the ball.
Whether you’re new to the sport or have played for years, prepare for your next goalkeeper training session by browsing through our range of keeper kits and training wear online. From performance-enhancing goalkeeper training kits to comfortable and flexible training jerseys suitable for the whole squad, find everything you need for your next practice session at Avec Sport.