adidas / September 2022
5 Minute Read

5 Goalkeeper Drills to Up Your Game

Learn five new goalkeeping drills in our exclusive training insights with MLS keeper James Pantemis.

The goalkeeper’s position is totally unique. While every player in the team requires focus and grit, when it all comes down to making that match-winning save, the pressure can take its toll. CF Montréal stopper James Pantemis describes the mindset required to be the last man: “I think you need to be a little bit crazy to be a goalie,” says 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.”

Leaps, dives and countless bruises are all part of the territory in goal. By using a range of training drills, you can gain and maintain the muscle memory you need to really become a good keeper. “It’s being in your set position, always on your toes, don’t lean back, making sure you attack the ball,” explains Pantemis. The following drills are part of Pantemis’ actual training regime. Try them yourself to learn all-important skills such as agility, diving and keeping your eye on the ball.

5 Goalkeeper Drills 

These drills are all designed to be done with a training partner who will feed the ball to you. If you’re training by yourself, many of these drills can be done without a ball (to practice basic movements) or by kicking a ball against a wall and catching it.

Drill 01: Three Cone Drill  

Aim of the drill: To practice quick thinking and movement to get to the ball.
  1. Set up three cones in front of the goal, a couple of feet behind the six-yard box.
  2. The goalkeeper starts in the centre of the goal with the training partner at the penalty spot to feed balls.
  3. The partner designates a cone, the keeper runs to this cone, then returns to the centre, assumes position and catches the ball.

Drill 02: Single Cone Drill 

Aim of the drill: To simulate a situation where you need to change direction quickly. This can happen in a match when you think the ball is coming through the middle, but it’s fed wide and fired in from an angle. 
  1. Place a cone at the centre of the six-yard line.
  2. The goalkeeper starts in the centre of the goal with the training partner at the corner of the penalty box.
  3. From the centre of the goal, the keeper runs towards the cone as if closing down an opponent.
  4. The keeper rounds the cone, comes out to face the angle the ball is actually coming from and catches the ball.

Drill 03: Bounce Reaction Drill 

Aim of the drill: To simulate the unpredictable bounce of a downward header or volley.
  1. Set up two cones to indicate where the training partner will bounce the ball. (This drill can also be done without cones.)
  2. The training partner stands a yard in front of the six-yard box ready to throw the ball. The goalkeeper faces the side of the goal as if anticipating a cross.
  3. The partner says “go”, and the keeper runs to the cones as if coming for a cross. The partner throws the ball at the ground, aiming for the area between the cones. To mix things up, the partner can occasionally lob the ball over the keeper’s head.
  4. The keeper reads the movement of the ball and catches it.

Drill 04: Low Diving Drill 

Aim of the drill: To practice the crucial skill of diving low to catch the ball.
  1. The training partner sets up near the penalty spot and feeds balls to the left or right corner of the goal. 
  2. The goalkeeper dives low to catch the balls.
  3. The partner alternates the corners to vary the direction in which the keeper dives.

Drill 05: 180˚ Turn Drill 

Aim of the drill: To practice quick reactions when a ball comes out of nowhere. This drill helps to train the shot-stopping reflex.
  1. The goalkeeper faces the side of the goal.
  2. The training partner sets up near the penalty spot and feeds balls to the left or right corner of the goal.
  3. The partner calls “go” when kicking a ball, and the keeper turns, reacts and catches it.

Controlling the Goal

Being a goalkeeper can be extremely demanding, but it’s also one of the most rewarding positions when you make a big save. These goalkeeper training drills will help you practice the core physical skills a great keeper needs. But another key element in improving your game is developing your mental strength. 
“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,” says Pantemis. The important thing is to not let this pressure weigh you down, but instead to reframe it 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.”
Are you ready to up your game? Add these goalkeeper drills to your training routine and discover more 3-Stripes Sessions tips and exercises on the adidas blog, like how to bend, juggle, dribble and shoot.
adidas / September 2022
5 Minute Read