Shot-stopping for keepers


Penalty area


Ball, cones

No. of players

4 (3 attackers, 1 keeper)

Session time

Drills 15 mins each, game 15mins

This high tempo session is used to improve a goalkeeper’s footwork and mobility around the six-yard box. It helps him to move into line and set quickly, always encouraging him to adopt a good body shape. This practice gives a keeper time to make good shot-stopping decisions.

It’s important to practise this because modern day football is very quick. Additionally, with increased ball movement and better technical ability in players, snapshots in and around the box can catch keepers off guard. These contributing factors make it vitally important for them to adopt correct positions.

The practice benefits keepers at all levels. Effective footwork and mobility along with a good technical base is the difference between a fingertip save and a goal, or a comfortable catch and a counter-attack.

What do I get the players to do?

Footwork and handling technique

This rehearses keepers in footwork practice, using a line marked out by cones. Across all three movements (see diagram) the idea is for the keeper to show balance, coordination, rhythm and tempo (1).


1. A five-yard sprint to start and finish, and a wide step on the chicane
2. The keeper sidesteps down the line and arcs forward
3. The keeper sidesteps down the line but now backpedals

Next we use one goal and three servers. Server 1 is on the six-yard box in line with the left post, server 2 is located 12 yards away from the post diagonally, while server 3 is on the penalty spot. The goal width is divided into thirds using cones.

Server 1 fires one of three shots towards the near post in order to produce a low dive, a mid dive or a full extension(2a). The keeper is straight up to take a ball into the chest from server 2 (2b). Now server 3 despatches one of six shots – a volley, a flat low half-volley, a scoop, a half-volley, a drive or a dipping shot – towards the middle of the goal (2c). The keeper rolls the ball back to the server after each save.


• Server 1 fires one of three near-post shots


• The keeper must get back on his feet quickly to take a volley from server 2


• Back across goal, server 3 fires one of six possible shots, before the sequence starts again

We perform four rotations, then switch the drill to the other side of the goal so the keeper, starting on the other cone, dives the opposite way.

Skill shot-stopping

We now place a second goal 10 yards to the left of the first. Non-working players wait behind the line. Server 1 begins 12 yards away at an angle, with server 2 outside the 18-yard box. Server 1 receives and plays two-touch to server 2, who shoots. Server 2 now sprints between the goals and joins the opposite group. All players follow their passes or shot, and both sides work at the same time (3).


• In the next phase, the ball is fed out on each side. Players work a shot then join the back of the other group

How do I put this into a game situation?

We play 5v5 in a 20×15-yard area (4). The first team to score three goals remains while the losers rotate with another group. The small playing area encourages players to shoot on sight. Resting keepers serve new balls in.


• In the game situation, the small playing area creates multiple shooting opportunities

What are the key things to look for technically/tactically?

For the keeper, we look at footwork, setting position, technique and decision-making – catch, deflect or parry.

Outfield players must shoot realistically – no chips or curlers – just one- or two-touch snapshots that rehearse keepers’ shot-stopping abilities. 


  • Ball movementBall movement
  • Player movementPlayer movement
  • DribbleDribble
  • Optional movementOptional movement