Deflecting the ball

In a perfect goalkeeper’s world, every shot would be cleanly caught and brought into the body. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. So when called upon to deflect the ball safely away from the goal, the correct technique is essential. This session involves all your players boosting this core goalkeeping skill.

What this session is about

Acquiring the correct technique to deflect (or tip) shots away from the goal.

What to think about

  • Where is the best place for a shot to be deflected to? As far away and wide as possible from goal.
  • Defenders need to be aware, and ready to assist the goalkeeper with any balls not held and
    deflected, in case they do not leave the field of play and fall for a rebound.
  • Goalkeepers must be “on their toes” throughout, ready to make the save.
  • Decision-making – can they get both hands or just one to the ball?


  • Session: small goal (4 – 6 yards), server approx 6 yards from GK, 2 target zones.
  • Development: small area, 15 x 15 yards. One goal each end (4 – 6 yards wide). 2 target zones.
  • One GK works, while the other serves. Alternate frequently.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
7-10 minutes20-25 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

  • The server must initially throw the ball underhand with both hands. This develops into shots as the drill and the GK’s understanding develops.
  • Encourage GK to step “into line/down the line” of the shot. Get as close as possible to the line of flight of the ball.
  • The last step before dive (the power stride) should be slightly diagonally forward into line. This will ensure the deflected shot is pushed well away from goal.
  • Tell them to have strong wrists/hands and to almost “swat” the ball away.
  • They must then make a quick recovery. Don’t assume the ball will go out of play and get up as fast as possible in case of rebounds.
Check that your stance is correct to begin with.

Check that your stance is correct to begin with.


The goalkeeper starts at one post, and on toes moves laterally from post to post. When he reaches centre of goal, the server throws the ball in towards one of the posts. The GK must then use the correct technique to make the save and get the ball into the target zones.

Can the GK deflect the ball accurately into a target zone?

Can the GK deflect the ball accurately into a target zone?

Game situation

On the marked out field, the goalkeepers attempt to score against each other. Each goalkeeper has 5 serves before the other goalkeeper serves. They get one point for each save and an additional point for each ball that enters the target zones. The goalkeeper with the most points wins.

Get your GKs to compete against each other.

Get your GKs to compete against each other.

What to call out

  • “On toes.”
  • “Into line/down the line.”
  • “UP ! UP! (in case of rebounds).”
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