19 January, 2022

The Best Exercises for Goalkeepers

The following drills are designed to aid the development of goalkeepers in all areas, including footwork, shot stopping and distribution. As well as this, all exercises have been designed in order to offer some form of progression, allowing keepers to test their skills and development throughout.


Exercise 1 – Footwork

Due to this being one of the most overlooked areas in the development of a goalkeeper, this footwork drill is designed to get players moving dynamically in a variety of directions, mimicking in-game scenarios in the process, whether it be a backpass or a drilled shot. Requiring both a goalkeeper and another individual:

  • Place cones in order to make a square or rectangle shape, with the goalkeeper starting inside and your partner on the outside.
  • Assign a number to each cone and have your partner call up numbers at random.
  • Goalkeepers should aim to touch the cone and get back to their starting position in the quickest period of time.
  • Repeat this exercise until it becomes second nature, before changing the shape of the area in order to enhance your development.


Exercise 2 – Diving

A fingertip save is undoubtedly one of the highlights for any goalkeeper, however they generally not possible unless an athletic dive is also carried out. As a result, this drill enables keepers to improve their agility and diving ability at the same time, with the simplicity of the exercise making it perfect for all ages and abilities, again requiring two players.

  • Goalkeepers should position themselves in the centre of the goal, while partners should stand directly opposite them on the edge six-yard box.
  • Partners will throw the ball underarm to either the left or right of goalkeepers, without giving any indication as to their chosen direction.
  • Keepers should aim to dive to catch the ball, before holding it to their chest in order to mimic an in-game situation surrounding rebounds.
  • Carry this movement out around x20, before changing the speed or angle of the throw.


Exercise 3 – Reactions

This drill is a firm favourite among both goalkeepers and coaches, with it testing both handling and reactions. Keeping the ball out of the net is one thing, however it has become increasingly important to try and hold onto the ball too, with strikers constantly looking to profit from any rebounds.

  • Goalkeepers should stand facing the goal, while partners should stand around 10 yards away in the penalty area.
  • Partners will shout in order to let keepers know when to turn around, before they throw the ball towards the goal at different heights.
  • Keepers should react quickly and move towards the ball, before claiming it and quickly distributing it back to your partner.
  • Repeat the drill a number of times, before varying the speed and velocity of the distribution from partners.


Exercise 4 – Distribution

The best goalkeepers in the world now have the passing ability of a midfielder, regularly finding their teammates with both short and long-distance passes, whether it be on the ground or from a throw. This exercise is perfect for those looking to improve in this area of the game, with four players required in total.

  • Set out for different stations, with a goalkeeper occupying each one.
  • The first keeper will volley the ball into the hands of goalkeeper 2, who then rolls the ball underarm back to its target.
  • Goalkeeper 1 will then play a first-time pass into goalkeeper 3, who will drive the ball into the path of the final keeper.
  • Having collected the ball in their hands, goalkeeper 4 should attempt to return the ball using an overarm throw to goalkeeper 3, thus completing one full circuit of this drill.
  • Keepers can then rotate in order to test out different areas of their distribution game, as well as increasing the size of the area.