Reading the Angles

By Patrick Kasperitis –

The ability for goalkeepers to judge their angles correctly is paramount to the success of any goalkeeper. Athleticism can only make up for so much where as good positioning can make any save look comfortable. Below is a session that I use to help goalkeepers improve their understanding of the angles they need to take within the goal.

The key to this skill is making sure that the goalkeeper keeps their body weight forward so that they can get to a good set position and make a good dive. We want our goalkeepers to have that forward body weight and if that is not present in their movement, they might be flat-footed when trying to make a save or will dive backwards.

Here is the set-up

Angle Play 1:So Next we want the goalkeeper to understand that there is an imaginary line that runs from each post to the front cone of the box.

angle play 2

The goalkeeper will also want to think of the field as being split into three parts as illustrated by the dotted lines.

angle play 3

The goalkeeper will shot stop from within the box in the appropriate spot with small variations in order to adjust for the location within the middle space.

The most challenging aspect is dealing with balls outside of the middle cone. And for that they must be able to judge where they are in the goal. It helps if they can think about it in terms of drawing lines in their head from where the ball is to certain spots in the goal, for this exercise you will want to judge it in terms of the set of cones for the middle box. You can scaffold this by gradually taking away these visual helpers.

angle play 4

By Patrick Kasperitis – Graduate Assitant Women’s Soccer Coach – St Mary’s University, SA United Junior Program Goalkeeping Director, South Texas ODP Staff

Dealing with Balls Cut Back from the End Line

By Patrick Kasperitis –

A common soccer tactic is for the attacking teams to have a player drive towards the end line and play a ball at a backwards angle toward the top of the 6-yard box. This type of play allows for the ball to already be behind the defenders and allows the attacking players to be able to attack the ball at an angle that is moving away from defenders and the goalkeeper. Plus because of the fact that this ball is often driven from a close distance it can be difficult for the goalkeeper to hold on to it. This exercise will train this scenario with a progression that looks at making the second save.


There are two cones placed about 4 or 5 yards off of each post. These represent spaces the goalkeeper is expected to deal with.

Cut Back Second Save 1

In this scenario there are three “goals”.

  • The first is demonstrated by the cut back space in between the front post and the front cone
  • The second is the actual goal itself
  • The third is at the back post where a chipped ball needs to be tipped away or caught.

Cut Back Second Save 2

We have to deal with these in this order. The first goal is dealt with by getting to the near post and being in a position that allows you to be ready to dive to cover the space up to the first cone. All while being ready for a potential shot at the near post.


Cut back Second Save 3

Laslty, if the ball is tipped or gets through the goalkeeper must be ready for the second save. This will require quick reactions to get up to get across or will need awareness if the ball is cut back enough that the goalkeeper won’t get the ball. Get set in the goal and get ready for a save.

Cut Back Second Save 4

By Patrick Kasperitis – Graduate Assitant Women’s Soccer Coach – St Mary’s University, SA United Junior Program Goalkeeping Director, South Texas ODP Staff

Getting Back to Your Line

By Patrick Kasperitis –

This exercise set looks at the goalkeeper’s ability to not only deal with a cross, but to get back onto their line in order to deal with any save that might come from having to punch or tip the shot.

Place cones off to the side of the penalty area in line with the penalty spot. Using the Line for the end of the penalty area (or setting a cone 6 yards away from the gates) the server will toss the ball up in the air for the

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Playing Out with the Goalkeeper

By Patrick Kasperitis –

The modern goalkeeper is required to use their feet almost more often than their hands. Players like Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich FC and German National Team) and Hope Solo (Seattle Reign and US Women’s National Team), whose stories involve relatively late changes in position to playing as a goalkeeper made their ability to play with their feet seem almost natural. On the opposite side we see fantastic shot stoppers like Simon Mignolet, who plays for Liverpool FC in England, come under immense criticism for his relative short comings playing with his feet.

The skills they use to help their team to play out of the back are things that we can train. We want to try to replicate situations they might see in the game. One of these examples is when the goalkeeper is asked to swing the ball from side to side. Our defenders in front of us are under pressure, we want our team mates to be able to be comfortable playing the ball back to us so that we can get to the

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Warm-Up for Mind and Body

By Patrick Kasperitis –

A warm-up is intended to be a wake-up exercise for the mind as well. We need to prepare our goalkeepers to be able to focus on a specific task with many different stimulants around them. This warm-up exercise will incorporate functional agility movements with handling and playing with the feet.

The exercise is set up as below. I generally look to do all footwork at least off to the side of the goal for two reasons: 1) preserve the integrity of the ground inside of the goal area, and 2) when doing work with our feet, I ask our goalkeepers to try and avoid taking touches inside of the frame of the

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Claiming Balls Out of the Air

By Patrick Kasperitis –

Claiming balls out of the air is such a difficult skill. It involves so many different variables that the goalkeeper has little control over. We have to work with our goalkeepers to make sure that they are able to block out as many of those variables and distractions as possible and focus on:

  • tracking the ball
  • using good footwork to keep body in good position
  • going for and jumping for the ball with strength and confidence
  • Catch and hold onto the ball while coming out of the air

There are many exercises that can try to improve these individual aspects. This exercise will work to improve the footwork necessary to track balls in the air and look to catch them in front of any traffic. The focus is on a shuffle step that clears them around the traffic and allows for the feet to be underneath them so that they can load and jump.

The exercise is set up as below with soccer balls next to mannequins scattered around a grid that is about the size of the penalty area. Usually I go with 15 meters by 15 meters. The Mannequins are used to simulate traffic from players. These can be substituted with poles.

Claiming Balls out of the Air (1)

Goalkeepers will work in pairs and will move from mannequin to mannequin. Once they arrive at a mannequin one player will grab ball and other player will line up behind the mannequin. Server will toss ball in front of mannequin.

Claiming Balls out of the Air (2)

The focus here is on the shuffle step to get around the traffic. Then we want to see a good jump as well in front of the mannequin claiming the ball high and keeping the ball high until the ball is secure.  Stop as necessary to make corrections on body shape or steps because those are most important here as the foundation for the activity.

Claiming Balls out of the Air (3)

By Patrick Kasperitis – Graduate Assitant Women’s Soccer Coach – St Mary’s University, SA United Junior Program Goalkeeping Director, South Texas ODP Staff


Reaction Save Exercise

By Patrick Kasperitis –

Whenever a goalkeeper is making a save there are equal parts anticipation as reaction. Sometimes though the reaction side becomes the most pivotal of these two. Reaction saves are about concentration, body quickness, and at times creativity. Here we have two exercises. One that is a warm-up involving shuffling/jumping and working to improve the quickness of the hand movements. The second exercise deals with the possibility of deflections.

The Warm-up is set up as illustrated below.
– Server 5 meters away
– one hurdle in front of goalkeeper

Goalkeeper will perform footwork and then will receive ball. Goalkeeper does not know when the ball will be served. The Server has complete control over when the ball is played. They can do it after on repetition of the footwork or after 10! (Should probably vary it up but go no more than 3-5 repetitions without

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Improving Making Low Saves

By Patrick Kasperitis –

This exercise works the functional movement of diving to save low shots that are a little bit closer to the body. When looking at this type of shot we want to make sure that we address the issues of:

  • the first step of the dive
  • diving with our hands going towards the ground first (to minimize the chances of the ball going under the hands)
  • Keeping our chest facing the field in the dive and propelling through as we make contact with the ball in order to parry.

Exercise is set up as such:

  • One goalkeeper will work at a time
  • Take two tall hurdles (should sit about hip high) and place them 4 meters apart
  • One server will start about 8-10 meters away.

Exercise begins with a volley into hands, toss ball back, then a volley into a basket catch, toss ball back. After ball is tossed back a second time, the

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Footwork and the Drop Step

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on footwork and the drop step.

Start with a keeper in goal, a speed ladder in front of him and a server 15 yards out.


The keeper starts by taking quick steps through the

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Dealing with High Crosses

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the Goalkeeping Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on footwork for high crosses.

Start with a server with a ball near the 18 and end line, 4 cones that are one yard apart starting at the near post a few keepers near the far post.


The first keeper starts by stepping between each cone, touching and

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