Great goalkeeping

By: Andy Quy


54x36 yards


Balls, cones, goal

No. of players


Session time


This is a session for goalkeepers that teaches and rehearses dealing with crosses, both opposed and unopposed, and in the context of a small-sided game.

The ability to manage balls crossed in from the wings is one of the most important parts of a goalkeeper’s game. It relies specifically on positioning, technique and good decision-making.

In coaching, crossing practices are often done for the benefit of attacker, yet they are equally important for keepers.

What do I get the players to do?

Unopposed crosses

Placing two penalty boxes opposite each other, we place goals on each side. Keepers occupy both goals with a crosser to each side in channels 5 yards wide.

Keeper 1 throws to keeper 2, who catches and distributes to either crosser to the right of him. Crossers have a maximum of three touches before delivering a ball into keeper 1. If the keeper catches the ball, he distributes to his right and the move progresses. If the cross doesn’t land in the immediate area around the keeper, or it goes behind, he must shout “away”. If this happens, keeper 2 throws another ball to the crosser to re-run the move.


• The cross is within an area that the keeper takes responsibility for, and he catches


• The ball is going long so the keeper stays put

Opposed crosses

We set up as before though add two attackers and two defenders in each half. Each keeper must instruct defenders as to their marking, body shape and positioning. Defenders must protect the keeper, block attackers, defend the goal and communicate well with one another.


• When opposed, the keeper positions well under threat of inrushing attackers


• Here, keeper 2 instructs defenders to deal with a deeper cross

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

We look for keepers to adopt good positions and to show positive  body shape. They must decide quickly whether to attack the ball or defend the goal. If attacking, their line of attack is important, as is a decisive catch or punch, and their intention must be communicated to team mates. Footwork is crucial, as is taking off with the kicking leg.

If defending, they must recover quickly to the goal line and adopt a position in preparation for a potential shot at goal.

Crossers should vary their service, alternating between left and right-footed deliveries, driven balls in and whipped centres.

How would you put this into a game situation?

We conclude with a 4v4 game – as before though with two neutral wingers on each side. Each team must construct four passes in the middle before feeding out to either crossing channel. Crossers can send in deliveries or interchange passes back into the middle.

When play breaks down, restart with the keeper whose team was last out of position.


• In the small-sided game, four passes are made before the winger crosses


• The keeper catches and distributes to an outfield player



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