Soccer coaching drill for goalkeepers to command their penalty area

When the ball is played into the penalty area, your whole team usually breathes a huge sigh of relief when it ends up in the goalkeeper’s hands. Having a commanding goalkeeper will make a huge difference to the number of goals your team concedes.

Your goalkeeper must be agile and aware of everything around him so he can judge the right time to move to the ball and claim it. I use drills that stretch my goalkeepers and encourage them to move around the penalty area.

Start this drill by setting up a few balls slightly to one side of the goal, about eight yards away. Or you can place them on the edge of the penalty area, depending on the age of your players. Get your goalkeeper to stand on his goal line and throw balls at him.

  1. Throw a high ball to his right.
  2. Throw a ball into his midriff.
  3. Throw a ball low to his left.


Force your goalkeeper to come off the goal line by throwing the ball in front of him, just out of reach so he has to move to get to it. The goalkeeper needs to be alert and on his toes, so force him to move to the ball by throwing it in the areas around him.

Get him to practise saving the lobbed shot with this exercise.

Hold a ball out in front of you. On your shout, the goalkeeper should:

  • Sprint out to touch the ball you are holding.
  • Then quickly run backwards towards the goal (keeping his eyes on the ball in your hands).
  • As the goalkeeper approaches the goal, you throw a high ball which he must catch or punch over the crossbar.

To advance this, after the ball is caught or punched clear, throw a second ball towards the near post. Tell your goalkeeper he must react quickly. In this way he is using different areas of the penalty area to defend his goal rather than staying on his line.

This session is from Soccer Coach Weekly the publication that ticks all the boxes for the modern coach, from grass roots to academy and beginner to elite.