4 Games to Improve Goalkeeper Play

Goalkeepers are the last line of defense, so their importance to a soccer team can't be overstated. A strong defense is twice as good when it has a good goalkeeper backing it up, and keeping balls out of the net reflects directly on the scoreboard and indirectly through team morale.

There are hundreds of ways to improve a goalkeeper's skill level. Veteran soccer coach Jeff Pill has teamed up with eteamz to share his insight into the game. Here are some of the drills he organizes to help goalkeepers make the big stops when it counts.

BREAKAWAY

The Game
  • Team A is shooting on team B's goalkeeper, starting from the line that is 40 yards away from the goal.
  • Players go in one at a time and only get one shot each time.
  • As soon as the shot is taken, the next player may go.
  • Players must retrieve their own ball.
  • Each team gets 90 seconds to take as many shots as they can. The amount of goals scored is recorded and compared to the other team's score.
  • Teams switch after 90 seconds.
Pill Breakaway Diagram

Coaching Points
  • Keepers must determine how far they can come out without giving up a "chip" over their head.
  • Keepers should stay on their feet, making themselves as "big" as possible, for as long as possible.
  • Dive, slide, for the ball, hands first, only when sure of getting the ball. Dive immediately after the attacker's touch on the ball.
  • Keepers must also work on guiding the ball over the crossbar.
  • Shooters must decide between dribbling and shooting or chipping the keeper immediately after the save is made.
  • When dribbling, if the keeper stays in the net, slot ball low, just out of reach of the keeper's feet.
  • If the keeper come out of the goal, look to unbalance the keeper, then dribble around and shoot.
  • Fitness for all involved.

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