Keeper match day warm-up


Half pitch


Balls, cones, goals

No. of players

Up to 4

Session time


This session is designed to assist goalkeeping coaches and keepers, at all levels.

It uses a keeper, a sub keeper and a goalkeeping coach.

The warm-up on match day is the culmination of the previous few days on the training ground and in the classroom, getting ready to cross the white line and deliver a performance both for the individual and the team.

I have always based the warm-up procedure as a 90-minute session, preparing for a 90-minute game. It involves technical, tactical, physical and mental components, and while the detail for Edwin Van Der Sar’s warm-up was very different to Peter Schmeichel’s, the theory and practice in preparation was the same.

This is all about being right mentally and tactically. Keepers must be confident in their technique – after all, their first task might be to receive a bouncing back pass!

Pre-match routine

90 minutes to kick-off

Keepers study information on the opposition strikers – all aspects such as structure of set pieces, and which foot outfield players favour. They do this using iPads and iPods.

The team meeting follows, with consultation between the outfield and goalkeeping coaches regarding defending and attacking set pieces.

60 minutes to kick-off

Individual physical preparation begins – this includes bike work, stretching, light massage and applying strapping.

45 minutes to kick-off

The goalkeeping team enters the field of play for a five-minute dynamic warm-up (1a). The working keeper practises distribution and passing. Four target areas are involved, as shown by the cones, so the keeper can increase and decrease passing range – from grounded passes to nearby targets and kicks ‘out of hands’ to distant targets. Ball familiarity and confidence is important here.

There is also a practice to the side of the penalty area – dipping volleys into the keeper’s chest (1b). These comprise six volleys from 8, 12 and 20 yards respectively. We want to see keepers demonstrating good foot movement, and enjoying the feel-good factor of stopping a succession of shots.


• The keeper receives and lays passes of different lengths to variable targets


• To the side of the area, dipping volleys are fired into the keeper’s chest from varying distances

40 minutes to kick-off

We fire six varying crosses (both inswinging and outswinging) from each side into the area in front of the goal (2). The sub keeper moves across the working keeper with a passive challenge. The types of crosses will reflect those we expect to see in the game itself. We look for an aggressive stating position by the keeper, who goes late and quick, always catching or punching.


• In the third practice, inswinging and outswinging crosses test catching and punching ability, whilst the second keeper makes a passive challenge

30 minutes to kick-off

We mark out designated areas in front of the goal (3) – different areas require different deliveries – looking again for confidence, focus and good technique, as well as the awareness of changing angles and distances. Each keeper completes one set from each side.


• In front of goal, different areas require different deliveries;
Area 1: four volleys
Area 2: four half volleys
Area 3: two dipping volleys
Area 4: four dipping volleys from different starting positions
Area 5: touch and hit using sub keeper and goalkeeping coach

20 minutes to kick-off

Keeper 1 performs distribution work with the coach (4a), while keeper 2 works with outfield players on the side goal in a shooting practice (4b).


• The starting keeper performs distribution work with the coach
A: three dead balls
B: four back passes with both feet
C: four balls kicked ‘out of the hands’


• In the shooting practice to the side the sub keeper now receives shots from strikers

15 minutes to kick-off

Keepers return to the dressing room for final preparations. 


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