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This fast and furious training game will give your goalkeeper plenty of chances to develop all of the skills needed to be a sweeper keeper.

Why use it

It is vital that keepers have a precise command of their area – they often bring down opponents when through on goal, so if penetration of the backline is anticipated, this threat can be dealt with.

Set up

Use half your normal pitch. We’ve used 11 players. You need balls, bibs, cones and a goal.

How to do it

You need a goalkeeper, four defenders and six attackers. No players can go beyond the 22-yard line unless the ball is played in first. The attacking team tries to pick out passes through or over the defence into the attacking area, sending one player to try to score. It’s a great 1v1 test for attackers as well as keepers, as only the attacker can enter the area (the defenders cannot).
Advance the session by adding two five-yard target areas so that if the keeper can get to the ball first and find a team-mate with a pass they can score by dribbling into one of the target areas.


Look for the goalkeeper reading the situation – make sure keepers start in realistic positions not too far off their line, as in a real match situation. Also look for good technique with through balls and 1v1s.

Sweeper Keeper

    1. The coach plays a ball to the attacking team – you want the player to look up and assess opportunities to play a ball into the area
    2. Only one attacker can enter the attacking zone to get on the end of a pass. No defenders can go in the zone

Clear the ball

    3. Attackers can look for opportunities to get balls in from any angle and any area of the pitch
    4. The keeper can clear out of play or try to find a team-mate. Here the keeper plays straight back to the attackers, who score with a lob

    5. Here the keeper reads the situation and passes to a team-mate who scores by dribbling into the target area
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