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5 Soccer Goalie Drills for a Complete Practice
Score five new soccer goalie drills with an exclusive peek into training with pro goalkeeper James Pantemis.
Being a goalkeeper is a position unlike the other ten. All soccer athletes require a certain level of grit and focus, but when it all comes down to the goalkeeper to save the shot, the pressure can take its toll. CF Montreal’s goalkeeper James Pantemis acknowledged the mindset it takes to be the one in front of the net. “I think you need to be a little bit crazy to be a goalie,” said Pantemis. “You just need to have that craziness inside of you to want to throw your face in front of a ball, to be fearless, to be able to save the ball any time with any part of your body and I think you need that mentality to be a successful goalkeeper.”
High jumps, big dives and countless bruises come with the territory when you’re a goalkeeper. Practicing a variety of goalie drills can help you gain and maintain the muscle memory of good goalie technique. “It's being in your set position, always on your toes, don't lean back, making sure you attack the ball,” explained Pantemis. The drills below are part of a real-time goalie practice session. Give them a try yourself to learn the core moves required of goalies, like quick agility, diving, and keeping your eyes on the ball.
Five Goalkeeper Drills
These drills are all designed to be done with a partner who can feed the goalie balls. But if you’re doing soccer goalie drills by yourself, a lot of these drills can be practiced without a ball to get the basic movements down or by punting a ball against a wall and catching it.
Drill 01: Three Cone Drill
Goal of the drill: Quick thinking and movement to get to where the ball is coming from.
- Set up three cones in front of the goal, a couple feet behind the goal box.
- Goalie starts in the center of the goal with a partner at the penalty spot to feed balls.
- Have your partner yell out a cone. Run to the designated cone, then return to center and assume ready stance and catch the ball.
Drill 02: Single Cone Drill
Goal of the drill: Simulates a situation where you need to change direction quickly. This happens in the game when you think a ball is coming from head-on, then quickly switches to a shot from a different angle.
- Set a cone in the center on the goal box line.
- Goalie starts in the center of the goal with a partner at the corner of the penalty box.
- From the center of the goal, run toward the cone, imagining a player is there.
- Round the cone and come out to face the angle where the ball is being shot from and catch the ball.
Drill 03: Bounce Reaction Drill
Goal of the drill: The ball can bounce in any direction during a game. This drill helps a goalie react to the unpredictable nature of a ball bouncing off the ground from a header or an air ball.
- Set up two cones to guide where the bounce will happen. This drill can also be done without cones.
- A partner will be a yard behind the goal box to throw the ball. The goalie starts facing the side of the goal.
- Partner says “go” and the goalie runs to the cones as the partner throws the ball into the ground, aiming for the area between the cones. To throw the goalie off, the partner can also choose to toss the ball in the air.
- Goalie reacts to the movement of the ball and catches it.
Drill 04: Low Diving Drill
Goal of the drill: To practice a crucial goalie skill of diving low to catch a ball.
- The training partner sets up at the penalty spot to kick a ball to one side of the goal.
- Goalie dives low to catch the ball in the direction it’s coming.
- Alternate sides to mix up the direction of the dives—you want to be prepared for any scenario.
Drill 05: 180˚ Turn Drill
Goal of the drill: Goalies need to be able to react quickly to a ball coming out of nowhere. This drill helps train the goalie’s deflective reflex.
- Goalie faces the side of the goal.
- The training partner sets up near the penalty spot and kicks a ball to the left or right corner of the goal.
- As soon as the partner kicks the ball, they’ll yell “go”. The goalie turns and reacts to the ball to catch it.
Holding It Down in the Goal
Being a goalie can be extremely taxing, but it’s also one of the most rewarding positions when you make a big save. These goalie training drills will help you practice the fundamental physical skills needed to be a great goalkeeper, but another element to improving your game is cultivating a resilient mind.
“I think the trickiest part about playing goalie is that you could have an amazing game for 89 minutes and then you could make one mistake in the 90th minute, then your 89 minutes just completely disappear, it's all over,” said Pantemis. The important thing is not letting that weigh you down, and instead reframing this pressure as a positive. “That's the beauty of our thing, we could be the one to make that mistake or be the hero and save that one in the end of the game and make sure your team wins.”
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