Goalkeeper’s one-fisted punch

There are times when a goalkeeper can’t catch a cross from a wide position, such as when the penalty box is overcrowded, and it is not possible to punch the ball well clear of the area. The next best option is to help the ball on its way in the same direction.

What this session is about

  1. Clearing the ball from the penalty box by getting height and distance.
  2. Dealing with crosses.
  3. Decision making.

What to think about

The one-fisted punch should be used when the ball is too high to be reached with a two-fisted punch. The one-fisted punch is often more of a flick that helps the ball on its way.

Use the arm furthest from the server. If the goalkeeper is able to use the arm nearest the server they could probably use both hands as the ball will not be so high.

Thumb against side of fist, not inside and use the flat surface below knuckles to drive through bottom of ball. Jab at an angle up and across body so the forearm follows the wrist.

Keep ball going in same direction.


  • 1 ball between 3 players.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

3 keepers (A, B, C) line up with about 5 yards between each player. The goalkeeper in the middle (B) kneels while the goalkeepers either side stand facing each other.

A throws the ball above B’s head, and B punches it to C. C then serves the ball back to B, who punches it to A.

Repeat several times before the players switch roles.

One-fisted punches give the goalkeeper a greater reach than two-fisted punches.

One-fisted punches give the goalkeeper a greater reach than two-fisted punches.


Repeat the drill but with the keeper in the middle standing and increase distance between the 3 players to 10m.
Add more height to serve so keepers have to jump to punch the ball and vary the speed of delivery.

Begin kneeling but move to standing, then jumping.

Begin kneeling but move to standing, then jumping.

Game situation

Play 4v4 in a pitch approx 30 x 20 metres, plus 2 goalkeepers and 2 wide players operating outside the touchline who play for the team with the ball and are conditioned to provide high crosses from a variety of angles whenever possible.

Wide players have three touches (control, move into space, cross) while goalkeepers have to decide what to do – catch, punch (one or two fists?) or allow defenders to head clear for each cross.

The use of wide players encourages crossing.

The use of wide players encourages crossing.

What to call out

  • “Help the ball on its way”
  • “Only use one fist if you won’t reach with two”
  • “Height, distance and width is what we want to work towards”
  • “Jump if you can”
Share this drill

Get 2,262 time-saving, stress-busting,
“print and go” practice plans

No commitment. Cancel anytime


Perfect Defending

Defence leaking goals like a sieve? Start plugging holes today with these 67 easy-to-coach defending drills and games MORE


Dave Clarke’s Soccer Warm-ups Made Simple

Never Have to Hunt Around the Internet for a Fresh Warm-Up Again MORE


Browse the shop

Follow us