Team Games for Training Your Goalkeeper

The following session comes from Tony DiCicco & Deb Raber and was presented at the 2016 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic. Find out more about the Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic.

The key is to integrate your goalkeeper with the team. This can be done right from the warm-up phase of training. The outline for this drill is below the video along with the rest of the session outline. Get the full video


Include the goalkeeper in the passing grids that are common with outfield player warm-ups.

Play possession games with your team and goalkeepers.

  1. GK plays as an outfield player and must use their feet
  2. GK plays with their hands only or use a combination of feet and hands
integrating goalkeeper into team training

6v6 or 7v7 +2. The plus players are the goalkeepers and they are using their handling skills and distribution to keep possession. 6 passes is a goal. This is integrating the goalkeeper into the team using a warm-up game.

Put one of your keepers in the midfield of a short sided game. Each attack must go through the keeper and now you can coach their movements, communication and most importantly for this exercise, their distribution.

Does the keeper look first to find the highest player and create a goal scoring situation?

Does the keeper use good technique with the bowl or sling distribution?

Does the keeper make good decisions on who should get the ball when distributing just for possession?

goalkeeper team training

1/2 field game with less than full width. Play 7v7 or whatever numbers work and put 1 or 2 GKs in the midfield. They can use their hands and every attack must go through them. Coach distribution, communication and when shots are created, coach the keepers in goal.

This game is a fun game with your team or group of players.

I start by playing 1v1 flying from goal to goal, this this sequence 1v1, 2v1, 2v1, 1v1. The last player to touch the ball when two are attacking is the defender.

Then add 1v1, 2v1, 3v2, 1v1. As the coach adds numbers, there is less rest for the outfield players but also for the goalkeeper, the environment becomes more complicated. There is more communication required. The shots and through balls and breakaway chances will still be there but in a more complicated tactical decision making situation.

goalkeeper training team game

When blue attacker 1 scores or loses the ball he has to defend new red attacker 2 and sequence continues. That it is why it is called flying 1v1s.

This game is 3+3 vs 3+3. In the penalty area play 3v3 with teammates on the outside as shown. When the defensive player wins the ball, they must play out to their teammates on the outside (outside players don't compete) and then they become offensive and the 3 blue players as shown become defensive.

The goalkeeper needs to communicate, distribute so their team can get the ball to the outside and makes saves on many point blank shots. Coaches can evaluate goalkeeper communication, distribution and positioning to save.

Finish by going to two big goals and play 6v6.

small sided goalkeeper game