Dealing with high balls

This session works on improving a keeper’s ability to deal with a high ball over their head. This can happen when caught off their line or if a cross catches on the wind. It will also test general footwork and handling.

What players should think about

  • Fast feet – short steps will enable the goalkeeper to cover ground as fast as possible to get to make save without losing balance.
  • When to catch or when to deflect the ball away – sometimes it is better to deflect the ball over the crossbar rather than trying to catch it, because the goalkeeper’s momentum could take him and the ball into the back of the net!

Use the penalty area and place a cone 10 yards from goal. You also need a server 18 yards from goal.


How to play it

  • The goalkeeper must be “on his toes” at the starting position and throughout the drill.
  • On the server’s call, the goalkeeper runs off his line to the cone in front of goal.
  • When the goalkeeper reaches the cone, the server throws the ball over the goalkeeper’s head, trying to get it to drop underneath the crossbar.
  • The goalkeeper runs backwards from the cone and tries to catch the ball or deflect it over the crossbar (see top picture).

How to develop it

As before, the goalkeeper starts on the server’s call. This time, when he reaches the cone, the goalkeeper must save a shot from the server before recovering to save a ball served overhead (see middle picture).

Play a game

Play a small-sided game and encourage goalkeepers to find a position that enables them to sweep behind the defence while also being able to save any shots over their head (see bottom picture).

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