Soccer Goalie Drills – Developing Your Kids Catching Skills

A female goalkeeper diving for the ball
A female goalkeeper diving for the ball

In this post, we are going to discuss soccer goalie drills for kids who want to become a goalkeeper. We are going to look at drills that develop catching techniques.

The goalie, or officially known as the goalkeeper is the player who prevents the opposing team from scoring in her goal.

She is the last resort her team will rely on if they will win the gold medal or the bronze.

In this post, I am going to refer to the goalie as a girl, a tribute to all the ladies playing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019.


As a goalie, she is allowed to use any part of her body to block the shots and catch the ball.

Please see my other post on rules that touched on rules for goalkeepers.

The goalkeeper may be seen as a player who doesn’t do much on the field but her role required her to develop skills in dribbling, quick reflex to block the ball and be able to jump and stretch.

A young player should not be forced to take the position because she is still in a development phase.

But you will soon find out if she is a good goalkeeper or she is best up at the front.

This happened to me, as the smallest kid around they keep forcing me to be the goalkeeper because everyone wants to be the striker.

After a while, I lost interest and go elsewhere for fun. Please don’t let that happen to your kid.

Also, remember a proper warm-up and stretch is required before going into the goalkeeper drills. I have a post on warm-up here and stretch here.

Basic Drill For Very Young Kid

A baby playing with a soccer ball
A baby playing with a soccer ball

For a very young kid, a good introduction to goalkeeping is to give her a ball.

She will pick it up, throw it around, try kicking it, and after some time she will start kicking the ball back to you.

Eventually, she develops more feel for the ball and when you throw the ball at her she will catch it and throws it back to you.

Or when you roll the ball to her she will pick it with no effort.

Catching the ball, passing it to you, and picking a fast-rolling ball are the most basic skills required for a goalkeeper.

This can be done in the house or out in the yard.

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Kick and Catch

This is probably the easiest drill, you kick the ball directly at the goalkeeper, and she catches it and throws it back.

You can kick the ball to her left then her right or higher or lower.

She can either stand or jump to catch the ball or make soft dives.

Warning: Heavy diving is not encouraged for young kids as they can easily injure themselves.

Picking Up Low-Ball

This drill helps prevents one of the goalkeeper’s most dreaded mistakes that even the professionals fell victim to it!

Here is the scenario, a low ball was struck in a straight line towards the goalkeeper and as he bent over to scoop it up, it went through his gloves, wiggled between his feet and into the net… Look how annoyed the goalkeeper is.

This drill teaches the goalkeeper about the correct method of picking up low rolling ball.

Step 1:  As the ball approaches, the goalkeeper gets down on one knee slightly sideways. The knee on the ground provides a barrier in case the ball goes through her hands.

Step 2: With her two hands down and fingers pointing to the ground she picks up the ball and gathers it to her chest.

Step 3: And slightly crouch over the ball and then repeat.

The mistake is when the goalkeeper directly faces the ball, with two feet open, and bending over to pick it up.

There is no backup insurance to stop the ball.

Repeat this drill until the goalkeeper develops the proper technique of picking a rolling ball.


Standing 2-3 yards apart you served the ball to your kid and she catches it and serves it back to you.

You can start slowly and closer to your kid and slowly increase the speed or the distance.

Variation 1: High and Low: When she’s comfortable with the pass-and-catch you may serve a high ball and then a low ball. During the drill, you can move closer or further back and also pass slower or faster.

Variation 2: Left and Right: This drill involves serving the ball to the left and right of the goalkeeper. This will force her to move to the left or right to catch the ball. You can increase or decrease the momentum.

Variation 3: Moving Back and Forth: The goalkeeper passes back the ball and then runs backward and forwards again to receive the ball then pass back to you, and repeat.

Variation 4: Combination: Combine these drills and also make it fun and enjoyable.

Sit-Up and Catch


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As the name suggests the goalkeeper will sit on the floor or grass in a sit-up position to catch the ball and throw it back to you.

By sitting down her movements will be limited and she has to rely on her upper body and legs for balance.

Variation 1: Left and Right: You serve the ball slightly to her left and then right, just enough not to make her tip sideways. This will force her to stretch sideways from left to right to catch the ball.

Variation 2: Roll-Back: When the goalie catches the ball she rolls backward and returns to sitting position and then passes back to you. This is in effect just a sit-up.

Variation 4: Combination: After mastering each variation you can combine these 2 drills by doing the left and right catch and then the roll-back-catch.


So there you go guys, with the simple goalkeeping drills you can do it with your kid at home, or at the soccer field, or even at the beach.

Make sure as always include a lot of fun in between to keep your kids happy as well.

Equipment needed: You may need a size 3 soccer ball or smaller depending on how young kid is,  at least 2 cones or bottles, or buckets as a goal post or you can invest in a portable soccer goal.

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Note to Parents: If you think it’s not safe, it’s probably not safe. Do not perform any drill that is not suitable for your kid.

Do you have any questions or comments regarding this post? I would appreciate it if you leave a comment below.

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6 thoughts on “Soccer Goalie Drills – Developing Your Kids Catching Skills

  • July 13, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Kudos for referring to girls as a goalie. Not a lot of people do that and it is mostly considered a football to be a sport for the boys.

    These are really good advice on how to get a kid familiar with the ball. I especially love the one where you said don’t force it. With me it was different: I was forced up front as an attacker because I was fast, but I wasn’t very good at shooting. I could, however, get a precise pass and had an excellent overview of the field and movement of my teammates. Later on, a different coach came and he put me in middle and I was happier there and could contribute to the team better.

    What is a good age to start this exercise? I could tell some are harder than others (sit-up and catch vs basic passing the ball with hands).

    • July 13, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Hi Dalibor, thanks for the compliments.
      I totally understand what it feels like when you are forced to play a position you don’t like. It takes a good coach to figure out where you’re the most effective.
      I like playing on the right because I am right footed, blame it on bad training at early age.
      A good time start these drills would be around 5-6 years old.
      Sit-up and catch drill can be made easier with the right ball size. I can say this with confirmation because I am currently training my 6 year old daughter.

  • July 13, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Great tips there. I was a soccer enthusiast but never good in the game. I suppose that these tips apply to boys as well. I have a few children and I’m thinking of introducing them to soccer. I guess someone has to play the goalie and I’ll try to incorporate these drills into a fun routine.

    • July 13, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Kenny, the drills are for boys as well. I used to play high school soccer and occasionally now when work allows.
      The goalie is often an ignored position but he is the last resort to save the team.
      I encourage you to introduce soccer to your kids. Keep them active and fit.
      Introduce other sports as well and see what sport they choose.

  • July 13, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Fred!
    This is a great informational post for parents who know their kids are interested in soccer.
    I only ever played baseball in school but some of these soccer drills remind me of that. Specifically the method of picking up a rolling ball – not dissimilar to fielding ground balls with a baseball glove.
    Great recommendations!

    Have fun,

    • July 13, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Ben, I totally understand. Picking up a rolling soccer ball can end up badly. I seen it in World Cup games.
      Picking up a rolling baseball with the glove requires great skills.
      I used to play softball in high school and I enjoyed it because the rules are easy.


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