5 Best Soccer Goalkeeper Tips to Keep the Ball Out of the Goal

The position of goalkeeper can be the loneliest on the field. Mistakes are more costly than in any other position, meaning the goalkeeper can face heavy criticism and scrutiny if things go wrong. Here are five goalkeeper tips to help with your game.

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Ball Distribution

goalkeeper throwing ball

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Getting the ball out to your teammates quickly and accurately can give your side a real edge at the other end of the field. Rapid distribution from a goalkeeper can launch a counterattack that can put the opposition on the back foot and lead to a chance, or even a goal being scored. Many attacking moves start with a goalkeeper’s throw or kick, so once you have made a save or caught the ball, look around you to see if there are teammates nearby.

If throwing under arm, roll the ball out at pace. This provides the necessary zip to give the counterattack impetus and allows the defender to run onto the ball. Throwing over arm can provide more accuracy than a kick and it is common to see goalkeepers lobbing the ball up to the halfway line for a midfielder to control.

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Command of Penalty Area

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final

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It is important to know where you are standing in relation to the ball, and also be aware of the position of your defenders and the opposition’s attackers. If you can instruct your defender to take the near post, and you the far post, this restricts the scoring opportunity for an attacker.

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Soccer - Sydney FC vs. Western Sydney Wanderers FC - Hyundai A-League
Sydney FC's goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic shouts instructions during the round 15 A-League match between Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek stadium in Sydney NSW Australia, 16th January 2016.

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Talk to your defenders during/before a match and also in training. It is important for a goalkeeper to know which positions his defenders are going to be taking up and which players they are marking. Having a man on the post at corners can typically save two or three goals a season as they are able to clear shots off the line which a goalkeeper cannot reach. Communication is particularly vital at corner kicks, and shouting something like ‘leave’ or ‘mine’ will help avoid misunderstandings which can result in the ball going loose.

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One-On-One Situations

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final
Goalkeeper Andre Onana of Ajax clatters into his team-mate Joel Veltman of Ajax during the UEFA Europa League Final between Ajax and Manchester United at Friends Arena on May 24, 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

If an opposition attacker beats the offside trap or outruns your defenders and finds himself clean through, it is important to make the goal as small as possible. Staying on your feet for as long as possible is important because you force the attacker to make a decision about which part of the goal they are going to aim at. They will quite often start doubting themselves at this point because they are presented with a number of options and can be unsure which one to take.

If you go down too early, you help make their mind up about where to shoot, while also giving them a bigger space to shoot into. Try to crouch as low as possible so you can react and get your hands down to save a shot from the side.

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Corner Kicks

New Zealand v Netherlands: Group A - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
Goalkeeper Loes Geurts #1 of Netherlands defends a corner kick against Hannah Wilkinson #17 and Amber Hearn #9 of New Zealand during the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Group A match between New Zealand and the Netherlands at Commonwealth Stadium on June 6, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Your position at a corner kick depends on whether it is a right- or left-footed player taking the kick. When the ball is inswinging, you should move a little closer to your goal in order to protect it. If it is outswinging, you can stand a little further away, perhaps three or four meters. The most important thing is to catch the ball at the highest point.

You have an advantage over every other player on the pitch because your reach is greater and you are the only one who can use your hands in the area. It is best to put your thumbs behind the ball so it is secure and come out with your knee in order to defend yourself from attackers.