Youth Soccer Goalie Drills

Goalkeeper requires great reflexes, agility and coordination. During a soccer game, goalies are constantly in high-pressure situations. They know that one small misstep can cause their team to lose a game.

Also, called goalkeepers is half of the team, There is many goalkeeping styles, Below are some basic soccer goalkeeping positions and drills. In the end we advise you settle on the technique that is successful and feels comfortable for your goalie.


Drill Target Ages

  • U8, U-10
  • U10, U-13
  • U13, U-14

Warm Up (10 min)

Always start with warm up as that will reduce the injury chances, Jog and stretch, light footwork mirroring exercise, simple catch in pairs to warm up the hands.

Hand Positions

Low Balls – Between Knees And Ground

You need to drop both (or at least one) knees to the ground as you catch the ball to get body securely behind ball. The basic position of the hands resembles an inverted “W”.

Medium High Balls – Chest High

The basic position of the hands resembles an inverted “W”, with the little fingers touching. The thumbs and palms put pressure on the ball while the fingers bend to form a “basket”.

High Balls – Above Head

The basic position of the hands resembles the letter “W”. If the hands are too small to keep thumbs together and secure the ball, then open up the thumbs to get fingers and palm to control it.

Diving – While Moving Horizontally

The concept of the “W” still applies. You do want to make sure that the hand closest to ground provides a “backstop” for the ball while the other puts pressure from the top.

Feet and Body Positions

Shots from a Long distance

This is your basic ready position. It allows you to generate momentum for a “big” dive by lowering knees and then pushing off one foot for the dive.

Shots From Short Distance

Here you are in a reaction or reflex situation. You do not have the time to drop down as much and generate momentum for a big dive. Your “ready position” is lower so you can push into dive instantly. That is why leg strength is important.

Basic Goalkeeper Drills

Footwork Drill

Footwork is one of the most important factors for goalkeeping. The best goalkeepers in the world can move all over their box to always be in position for different shots and passes that come their way.

This drill requires the goalkeeper and a partner.

  1. Place four cones in either in a box or rectangle pattern. You should be in the middle of the cones and your partner will stand outside of them.
  2. Have your partner call out a cone number when he or she wants you to go.
  3. Run to the cone, touch it, and get back to your starting position.
  4. Repeat this drill 10 or more times.

Watch Footwork Drill Here

Seated Save Drill

The purpose of this drill is to improve your ability to reach, save and return to the seated position ready to save the next shot.

  • Take a seated position on the goal line with your legs straight out in front.
  • Have a partner stand five to ten yards away and shoot at either side of the goal, staying within your reach.
  • With each shot, reach out and save the ball from scoring, then cradle the ball and launch it back to your partner.
  • Perform sets of 60 seconds, varying shot placement and trajectory.


  • Have two partners, one on each corner of the six-yard area.
  • Take your place near the post.
  • Encourage a shot across goal from either partner.
  • After saving the shot, get up and cross to the other post in readiness for the second partner’s shot.
  • Repeat for five sets of 10 reps from each side.

Watch Drill Here

Meet and Retreat Drill

This drill focuses on acceleration and handling to meet and deal with the initial cross, while training agility and reflexes to retreat and prepare for a follow-up effort.

  • One player feeds in crosses and another shoots from the edge of the penalty area.
  • As keeper, come out and either catch or punch the cross.
  • Perform 8 reps from each side of the field (crossing), with player 2 remaining in the same position.


  • Add in a third player to offer some resistance to meeting the cross.

Watch Drill Here

Diving Drill

This drill is excellent both for diving practice and for developing your agility. It’s also a very simple drill, so anyone who wants to practice being a goalkeeper can do it.

The diving drill requires the goalkeeper and a partner.

  1. Stand in the ready position about five yards away from your partner.
  2. Your partner should throw the ball underhand to either your left or right.
  3. Dive to catch the ball, cradle it in, and then throw it back to your partner.
  4. Quickly bounce back up and get ready for the next throw.
  5. This drill should be done about 20 times.

This drill can be also recommended for age group U14-U16

Watch Drill Here

For More Goalkeeper Drills 


The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper 


Protection Rating: 10.0 / 10.0

Quality / Price Rating: 9.6 / 10.0

Best Place to Buy: Amazon


In The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper, renowned goalkeeping coach Tim Mulqueen shares his secrets and provides unparalleled instruction for developing the skills, techniques, and mental mind-set for mastering the game’s toughest position:

• Stance, positioning, and footwork

• Leaping, diving, and saving shots at various heights

• Orchestrating the defense and distributing the ball

• Reading the game, including shooters, angles, and set plays

• Penalty kicks and situation-specific tactics

• Specific conditioning exercises to develop explosive power, sharpen eye–hand coordination, and improve reaction time


The Soccer Goalkeeper Training Manual


Protection Rating: 9.5 / 10.0

Quality / Price Rating: 9.2 / 10.0

Best Place to Buy: Amazon

This is a complete handbook dealing with the basic principles of goalkeeping technique and the planning of training sessions; it also includes a large number of exercises to help coaches train their keepers to identify and correct the most common mistakes.

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30 thoughts on “Youth Soccer Goalie Drills

  1. Awesome article Ahmed,
    As you point out, the development of proper footwork is way under-rated for young soccer goalies. This skill shortage leaves most “flat-footed” in the box. Great article…I’ll be back!

  2. I really like this. It’s the one area that I’ve found lacking in soccer (football) development. Sometimes you luck out and you get a keeper who’s dad was a keeper, who’s grandad was a keeper and it runs in the family and they come out and work with the kid. Most times, it’s you – the coach that’s left to coach this role and many/most times, nobody who’s played soccer on the actual pitch, has played this position (myself included here).

    What worked for me at the “younger” age groups with girls U8 – U10 was two things (and I had them all telling me all of this throughout my years with them, even as adults we’d joke about it):

    When going to pick up the ball, it’s – “pick up the cat” (literally, assume the same position with bent knees that you would to pick up your cat.

    The second one was easy – “protect your face”.

    With those two sentences, my girls knew by instinct how to do this. Sure I got them in-front of semi-pro keepers to help out from time to time, but at the very basic core it was “pick up the cat and protect your face”.

    1. I like those two drills , for girls in that age group U8-U10 that’s a great ideas . also add fun to the drills which is so important

  3. This article is definitely great for my nephews. They all love soccer and its a passion for them. I’ve never played the sport before but I love watching it and its so nice to see young kids playing so incredibly and awesome. Thanks so much for sharing all these tips, I will make sure to forward this to them. 

  4. Hey there! Thanks for creating this comprehensive guide on goalie drills. I’m glad I found it because one of my daughter’s cousins are right at that age and she loves soccer. I’m going to bookmark this page so that her, my daughter nad I can try some of these exercises. Hopefully it will help her feel more confident to join her school’s soccer team.

    Thanks for sharing and take care!


  5. Thanks for the great detail in describing these soccer drills. I’ve never played soccer but I live by a national  youth soccer tournament field and see a lot of people out there enjoying the sport. I always am in amazement at how quick the goalies can be! Especially when the ball gets fired at them from a fairly close range. Amazing and, eye, body coordination! I can definitely see how these drills will help hone a goalie skills and improve them greatly! Thanks for the really thorough interesting post!

  6. This is exactly what I was looking for! My kid who’s 7 years old, love to be the goalie when where playing soccer together in our backyard. Actually I tried to let him run more with the ball wanting him to score, but he always ask if he can be the goalie and me, dad, has to try to score.

    I’m sure my son is gonna love these drills. So I’m curious to find out if he really has what it takes.

    1. That’s great , not a lot of kinds like to be goalie hope those drills will improve his skills to be a great goalie and please let me know how things works with him after trying the drills for a while .

  7. This is great information for anyone just getting in to the sport or those who are always learning to improve on their skills. Very easy to help anyone understand the important role a goalie plays in the game and how they should always be training and learning new techniques as well on improving their motor skills to be the best goalie possible. 

  8. What a great post on youth soccer goalies. I can see coaches and players benefiting from your website, the drills you tell us about would benefit any youth soccer team.   Great drills to add to soccer practise and nice to see the video at the end of each drill showing how the drills are done.  Great article.

    1. I’m glad you liked my website and find it helpful for players and coaches , as a soccer coach myself i’m trying my best to be able to help both players and coaches , also you can find some drills on my other article about Ball control 

  9. Great information, I wish I had this type of coaching or information when I played soccer years ago. As you said Footwork is a big deal, just like with most sports, to be successful you need to work at it and having the right foot position is a must. The diving drill is a good one because it provides confidence when the time comes so a goalie can just react rather than thinking about it first and letting one past. Thanks for the information


    1. Thanks so much Todd , and you got it right footwook is one of the main factor almost in every sport and help you improve your skills so much 

  10. Great Drills for goalies! I always wondered how one person was able to defend such a large box. It is cool to see them jumping and diving around to prevent the goals. The drills that goalies practice are quite unique and interesting. I have tried being a keeper before but I was pretty bed at it.

    I found that there was just to much space to guard all the time because you have to try and read peoples actions which is hard (for me)

    1. I agree it’s hard , need to be focus and anticipate everything going on during the game. either from your team players or the other team players

  11. I agree, being a goalie is a very high stakes and stressful position. Most of the odds are on you. These exercises practice ones agility as well as ones focus  Standing in front of the post with no previous skill, yeah you might get hit in the head with the ball a time or two, but not like you intended that to happen. That is why you need to practice, practice, practice because being a goalie, you really have to align yourself and balance low on the ground. Doing these exercises are important to gain better skill. You can’t just expect to stand in front of the goal post and effortlessly catch all the balls.

    1. Sure being a goalie also come with big responsibility , for example any player in any another position could make a mistake and won’t effect his team , but for a goalie one small mistake can cost the game , that’s way goalie must be focus all the time during the game and practice hard for it. 

  12. I love that you give access to a manual here. I played soccer (defense) in high school and even though not everyone plays the same position, I remember doing these drills and how they motivated me. Even if I didn’t want to go to practice or really didn’t want to play the game (or my mind wasn’t in it) doing the drills during practice or before a big game seemed to wake me up and help me focus.

    1. Drills is very important i know sometimes they might not be fun but that’s the role of the coach here , and hope the manual will help you if you plan to coach or plan for practice session 

  13. My nephew has been getting very interested in playing soccer.  These are some good drills that he certainly needs to start practicing.  I like how “The Soccer Goalkeeper Training Manual” is available for kindle.  

    However, I do have a newbie question about soccer goalies.  He’s a smaller kid.  Do you think it’s best if he learns another position, though? I’m not sure if his physical attributes matter or not that much.  Possibly I am just overthinking it.

    1. Hi Garen , i’m glad you found those drills helpful also you can find other drills for ball control on my other article
      As for your newbie you are right usually goalie need some physical requirements but that will depend on his age group because usually until U10 it’s preferred to make the player play in all positions until he/she find the most thing they like plus some kids just love the nets and dive 

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