Soccer Goalie Drills – Developing Your Kids Catching Skills

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.

 

Soccer Goalie Drills - A female goalkeeper diving for the ball
A female goalkeeper diving for the ball

 

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.

In this post, I am going to start with soccer goalie drills for beginners then progress towards older or experienced kids.

Basic Drill For Very Young Kid

 

Soccer Goalie Drills - 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 backyard.

Below is the list of drills we are going to look at:

  1. Kick And Catch
  2. Picking Up Low Ball
  3. Serve And Catch
  4. Sit And Catch
  5. Wall Rebounding

Soccer Goalie Drills – Developing Your Kids Catching Skills


1. 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.

Here is how to do the drill:

  1. Stand face to face with your kid
  2. The distance depends very much on how easy your kid can catch the ball
  3. Drop-kick the ball (not too hard) towards your kid
  4. She catches the ball and throws it back to you
  5. Repeat

Note: you may want to try a little drop-kick practice first.

  1. Stand straight and naturally, holding the ball in both hands
  2. Drop the ball and kick it slightly upwards
  3. Remember your kid will catch the ball so do not kick too hard.

Variations

  1. Kick Left Or Right
    • You can kick the ball to her left then her right or higher or lower.
  2. Stand Or Dive
    • 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.


2. 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.

Steps:

  1. As the ball approaches, the goalkeeper gets down on one knee slightly sideways.
  2. The knee on the ground provides a barrier in case the ball goes through her hands.
  3. With her two hands down and fingers pointing to the ground she picks up the ball and gathers it to her chest.
  4. 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.


3. Serve-And-Catch

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.

Variations:

  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.
  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.
  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.
  4. Combination
    • Combine these variations to make it fun and enjoyable.


4. Sit-Up and Catch

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.

Variations:

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

 

Soccer Goalie Drills - play-at-beach


5. Wall Rebounding ~ Throw And Catch

We are surrounded by walls but we did not realize that they are a great soccer training aid.

Walls are great because they are like your kid’s silent training partner.

When the ball is kicked or thrown at it, the wall rebounds the ball back to your kid.

Choose a solid wall that can rebound the ball effectively ~ a brick wall is ideal.

Here is the most basic goalkeeper wall rebound drill:

  1. Position your kid by facing the wall with the ball in hands
  2. The distance from the wall will depend on your kid, younger kids can stand closer.
  3. Instruct your kid to throw the ball directly at the wall, slightly higher than her height.
  4. When the ball bounces back she catches it with both hands
  5. Repeat.

There are multiple variations for this drill and below are some, your imagination is the limit here.

Variations:

  1. Let It Bounce
    • Stand further from the wall and throw the ball a bit higher
    • After the ball rebounded from the wall.
    • Let it bounce on the floor once before catching it.
  2. Throw Left Or Right
    • Throw the ball to the left or the right.
    • The ball will rebound away from your kid
    • Your kid will have to move sideways to catch the ball

 


6. Wall Rebounding ~ Kick And Catch

Similar to Drill 4 but this time your kid will stand in front of the goal and kick the ball against the wall.

Set up 2 cones as goals or better still a portable/mini-goal facing the wall.

The distance between the goal (2 cones) also depends on your kid.

Here is how to perform the drill:

  1. Your kid stands in front of the goal with the ball at her feet.
  2. She kicks the ball straight at the wall
  3. She scoops the ball with 1 knee on the ground when it returns ~ see Drill 2 for instruction.
  4. Repeat
  5. If she missed the ball and goes into the goal then her team has conceded a goal.

There multiple variations to this drill. Here are some:

Variations:

  1. Kick Left Or Right
    • Kick slightly to the left or right so that the ball does not return straight to your kid.
    • She will have to move sideways to catch the ball with her hands.
  2. Diving
    • Instead of scooping, try diving for the ball.
    • Stand with knees slightly bent forward and roll sideways to catch the ball.
  3. Kick From The Outside
    • Stand at the right side of the goal (not inside)
    • Kick the ball at an angle that it will rebound into the goal
    • Move into the goal to scoop or dive for the ball
    • After several sets, try starting from the left side of the goal

 


Conclusion

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.

If these drills are done consistently your kid can develop her catching skills, hand-eye coordination, and motor skills.

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

Equipment needed:

  1. You may need a size 3 soccer ball. At least 3 balls.
  2. At least 2 cones or you can use water bottles
  3. Or you can invest in a portable soccer goal

 

Related: 10 Best Goalkeeper Gloves For Kids
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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