Tips and Techniques

There are many skills and techniques required to be a goalkeeper, these include; the set position, catching, kicking, throwing, diving and communication.

To become a successful Goalkeeper, the basics must be acknowledged. The more advanced and technical skills will be developed throughout regular training.

The Set Position

The picture on the right shows the Goalkeepers set position. The three main parts of the set position are the head, hands and feet. Your head should be nice and steady and your eyes should always be looking at the ball.

Your hands should always be in front of you with your fingers pointing towards the ball. Ensure your feet are shoulder width apart and elbows are tucked in.

Finally you should always have your body weight forward and be balanced on the balls of your feet (not tip-toes!).

Catching Techniques

Goalkeepers use a wide range of catching techniques. Any ball which is at waist height and above is caught using the ‘W’ technique. This is where the two thumbs on both hands are close together and with the index fingers, make a ‘W’ shape; this is to prevent the ball from spilling through the hands.

When catching at head height, you must make sure that you are set and are not on the move when the ball is struck, otherwise you will be off balance. Once the ball is struck you widen your stance to catch the ball.

Tip: Make sure you keep your eyes on the ball and watch it into the palms of your hands.

The picture on the right shows how the 'W' technique should look.

The term 'shock absorbers' is used a lot in goalkeeping. This is the idea of having soft hands to catch the ball successfully and take the power out of the shot. 

However, its important that the wrists are strong. Otherwise, the ball will slip straight through the hands and could result in a goal.

By joining the two index fingers together, it creates a solid barrier to stop the ball slipping through your fingers, ensuring a solid catch.

Another catching technique is catching the ball at waist height.

Make sure that your wrists are close together with your elbows tucked in. Ensure the ball is scooped into your body. Once the ball is in your hands, be sure to curl your arms around the ball to prevent any chances of it slipping out.

If the ball bounces before the goalkeeper is able to catch the ball, then the footwork needs to be altered slightly. The Goalkeeper should form the letter 'K' with their legs.

This is to provide a secondry barrier in case the ball takes a bobble and it will increase the goalkeepers chances of keeping the ball out of the net.

When the ball is struck along the ground you need to get as much as your body behind the ball as possible. The best way to do this is by using the long barrier position.  The first barrier is made by your hands with wrists close together. The second barrier is formed by kneeling behind the ball.

Note: You should always try to have a secondary barrier. If the ball slips through the hands, the legs will stop it from going into the net.

An important technique when a goalkeeper is ever in doubt, is the 'finishing save'. 

If the ball is bobbling and you are losing your balance, collapse onto the ball, bring it into your chest and put your head over the ball.

This is an important technique for a goalkeeper to know as it will prevent any player from being able to get the ball and have a chance of scoring.

Diving Techniques

Goalkeepers also have to be able to dive correctly.

The two types of diving technique are high and low.

The low diving technique begins with the Goalkeeper in set position. 

Depending on which side the ball is struck, the leg closest to the football steps slightly forward and the goalkeeper leans down low with both hands leading and collapses away to make the save.

The high diving save is similar, however slightly harder to master. Again, the leg closest to the football steps slightly forward and the other leg is the power leg.

The goalkeeper must push down on his trailing leg to help provide elevation which will make him dive at a higher angle. The Goalkeeper’s hands still leading to make a clean high diving save.

However, with both of these diving techniques, depending on how powerful the shot is, the goalkeeper must decide whether they are going to attempt to catch the ball or parry it away to safety

Copyright Tim Pitman Goalkeeping School 2017 | Website by Pitman Consulting