"How to introduce young players
to goalkeeper training at soccer practice"

What goalkeeper training is appropriate for youth players, especially 6-10 yr old's?

Whichever option the coach chooses should be kept very basic. It is a bonus if you have access to a coach who has trained goalkeepers.

This program is a complete outline for goalkeepers of all ages. Young players at this age should continue to develop their foot skills so they can become well rounded players.

No goalkeeper coach?

Here a few tips to help...

  • Rotate your kids around and have each player take a turn in goal in a regular league game.
  • You run the risk of giving up goals, but the kids will learn about goal keeping. :)
  • Run a couple of goalkeeping practices during so the kids get a feel for the basics.
  • If you are playing smaller than 6v6 you don't really have to worry about goalkeeping.
  • If you are playing 8v8 or 11v11 you probably have a couple of kids that like to play in goal.

There is one danger in making a kid a goalkeeper too early. The kid might change his or her mind and want to be a field player. So, cross training is important - plus kids need to be good with their feet to play in goal anyway.

5 basic fundamentals for goalkeeper training

Catching the soccer ball

The "W" formation is basic way a goalkeeper catches a ball. This catch helps the player get their hands behind the ball so it does not go through the hands.

  • Both palms turned out towards the ball.
  • The "W" is formed by the thumbs and index fingers.

Welcome position

  • The players stands in the shape of a gorilla absorbing the ball as it comes to the stomach area. Once the player catches the ball the player hides the ball from the opposition.
  • The ball is coming in about mid level - stomach - the player has to catch the ball. The hands have palms facing up and thumbs are facing out.

Staying on your feet

  • Young goal keepers often show up to goalkeeper training with knee pads on which tells me that they are going to drop to their knees to scoop the ball up.
  • If you can get your young keeper to move their feet and get their body behind the ball this is better technique.

Diving and rolling

These are good techniques to learn when teaching young goalkeepers.

  • The player goes down to the side and keeps his or her hands - "W" shape sideways - out and shoulders square to the ball.
  • The player lands on the hip and shoulder so they do not hurt themselves.

Goalkeeper distribution

  • Distribution for young keepers is kicking and throwing.
  • The best way to teach young players is in small sided games. The players roll the ball out to open players, so as to retain possession.

Punting can be interesting at this age because young players need to get the technique down to be effective.

5 basic exercises


The young keeper will bounce the ball on the ground and when the ball pops back up the player uses the "W" to catch the ball. The keeper should make the ball stick to his or her hands. Repeat until the kid is comfortable with the skill.


Play this fun diving game with your players in goalkeeper training...

  • The coach gets the kids in pairs.
  • The players start on their knees 5-8 yards apart sitting up straight not back on heels.
  • Goalkeeper "A" rolls the ball to the side of goalkeeper "B", who goes down and gets hands out - "W" sideways, and body square to the ball to make the save.

Rolling balls

Teach the kids distribute the soccer ball...

  • Partners 5-8 yards apart, standing position.
  • Partner "A" rolls the ball to "B" and the receiving player moves his or her feet and gets the body in front of the ball, hands down and legs together. If there is a mistake the players legs cover.

Punting - kicking practice

The player will hold the ball in both hands and let it drop and step and plants the non-kicking foot when the ball gets to its lowest point the player swings the leg and kicks the ball.

Coaching tip: Remember toe down and ankle locked.

Game: Goalkeepers stand on the goal line and punt the ball into the net...easy way to practice kicking technique.

Learn more on striking the ball during goalkeeper training so young players can hit goal kicks.

Throwing the soccer ball

I try to have my young goalkeepers roll the soccer ball to open players so the ball is easy to control. This can be accomplished in the small sided games and helps field players because they have to learn to get open and take a touch and play soccer. I just institute a no punting rule for the young soccer goalkeepers so they have to work on distribution.

Check out this video on soccer diving basics!

Thanks for checking out soccer goalkeeping basics!

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