The Importance of Constant Footwork Training for Goalkeepers

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I love most Social Media platforms!
I have to admit, I’ll spend at least a couple of hours per day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. I read articles, collect fellow soccer coaches opinions and I love to share videos and information about our Goalkeeper Academy and Goalkeeper Glove Company

Networking with other coaches from around the globe is very important and today I came across a post on Instagram from a fellow goalkeeper coach that works out of the Republic of Ireland…


Inspired by : “Should a grassroots goalkeeper play sometimes outfield as well as in goal?” according to the academy owner in the screenshot, goalkeepers that want to play only in goal should play in goal all the time.

In modern soccer that is outrageous!

However, we should all know that the game is evolving and that goalkeepers, amongst other things, are expected to play the ball like one of their defenders should, with the ball at their feet they should think like a field player.

Anyone that takes their goalkeeper training serious will know better. Footwork training is a major factor in determining how a goalkeeper would be able change rapidly directions and to accelerate towards the ball. Footwork keeps keepers stance controlled and assists in distribution of his weight evenly. I like many have taken the USC Advanced National GK diploma course, or the USSF/UEFA goalkeeper A license and the most important topic through the course is distribution with your feet.

Goalkeepers today are using their feet 54% of the time during a game!

All today’s quality goalkeepers have develop footwork early in their age and perfected it throughout their academy years.  Keep in mind that developing footwork cannot be rushed.  It takes consistent and quality training that cannot be just thrown in there.  Detail footwork training is key and technique must be developed over time so when goalkeeper is tested, they can quickly react in a split-second notice.  

What should a goalkeeper coach focus on when training a goalkeeper on footwork solutions?

A MUST: Limit crossing one foot over the other then always stay in line with the ball and remaining in a ready/set position while moving. It is also crucial that the keeper maintains their hips and shoulders square to the ball… and this is why:

UEFA stats show that there has been a massive increase in the number of passes made by goalkeepers. In todays professional games goalkeepers make an average of 859 passes in a single season (a little over 23 per game). By playing outfield you will get the “VITAL” opportunity to get the much-needed training in when passing the ball. 

I always ask my goalkeepers when playing club soccer and placed on the field to “kindly” ask their coach if they can play in a defensive role. Simply because by playing as a defender, you will have a better understanding of what a goalkeeper is asking from them, the close contact with the GK gives them the picture from the other end. You will appreciate the balls that the goalkeeper expects defenders to get, you will figure out how good/bad communication can affect decision making and most of all you will be able to understand the ways in which defenders are likely to get beat and what that means for a goalkeepers positioning in the 18 yard box. You’ll also get to know better your enemies… yes the Strikers!

Yes! They must! If your youth soccer club is lucky enough to have a goalkeeper trainer, then the keepers need to work in a group sitting on footwork, mostly on “Under Pressure” back passing solutions and fast redistribution.

At the end of the day, the answer is yes, young modern goalkeepers still in the grassroots stage need to play also on the field and it’s not an option, it’s a must!

Oh and by the way: Ex-England national team goalkeeper Joe Hart played outfield for several years, so did Pepe Reina, he actually played a few official games out on the field with Barcelona B. Peter Schmeichel, John O’Shea and yes, yes… MANUEL NEUER!

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