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How to involve goalkeepers into outfield practices

As the trade of goalkeeping does have unique technical aspects, how to involve goalkeepers in outfield practices is often queried.

Some clubs have the luxury of a specialist goalkeeper coach to hone the complexities of the role but in many instances, coaches have the entire squad. Either way, it is still necessary to have goalkeepers involved in squad training to develop the team structure and to incorporate them into realistic and relevant sessions. And not just as token shot stoppers.

Consideration at planning of each session will ensure training is compatible with developing the technical, tactical, physical and mental skills of a goalkeeper, just as planning does for outfield players.

The following are basic examples of how a goalkeeper might be incorporated into an outfield practice:

  • As the modern goalkeeper must be competent using their feet to pass and control the ball, the goalkeeper should be encouraged to practice these skills along with the outfield players.

  • In a possession practice, allow the goalkeeper to be a target to catch the ball and then distribute it by throwing to a teammate.

  • Allow the goalkeepers to be targets where the outfield players must play high balls for the goalkeeper to catch in the air to gain a point for the team.

  • Set up practices where there are multiple goals for two teams to attack. This can help provide the goalkeepers with a practice to improve reaction skills.

  • In passing and receiving practices, allow the goalkeepers to use their hands to collect the ball to improve specific handling techniques.

Another useful tool is to use our VARIATIONS acronym which is conveniently located under each practice within our Goalkeeping app - click to download for Android here or for Apple devices here. Consider adapting and modifying some aspects of the practice to the needs of the goalkeeper. For example, change the rules of your practice game to award the goalkeeper two points for each save.

Vary the focus

Area, increase or decrease

Rules, change them

Inclusion for all

Add or change equipment

Time, reduce or extend

Involve players with guided discovery


Numbers, make adjustments

Scoring, increase opportunities

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