Advanced Goalkeeper Training  – Part 2 – Do you train with the intensity of a game situation?

Young goalkeepers and their parents often come to Just 4 Keepers to for more “advanced goalkeeper training.”  But, goalkeeping is a really a very simple position on the field; stay on ball line, thwarting attacks, support and organize the defense, provide options to pass, and start the offense, etc.  This is Part 2  of series of blogs discusses them.  

In the J4K Idaho Goalkeeper Coach Mark Phillips’ blog on watching enough of the game, and about  mental toughness  as well as in this blog we’ve discussed the importance of Enjoying Training to Focus on the Little Things  and watching the game. Now we still focus on these on the psychology but add a bit more physiology, yet not exclusively.   Basically, you have to have a focused mental approach to be able to put your body under physical stress. By ALWAYS imagining a game situation in any goalkeeper training activity be it slow and technical catching or explosive jumping and diving you will become a more effective goalkeeper at the higher level. 

By implementing progressions that focus on one particular technique instead of just running through cones such as Basic Diving, Angle Play, Breakaways, High balls, etc is the microosm of the “J4K Process”  the J4K East PA’s Simon Robinson speaks of  — Progressions that go from extremely focussed techniques to more explosive in an hour or hour-and-a-half. 

J4K and USL Pro goalkeeping coach for Richmond Kickers Soccer Club demonstrates this kind of progression well on Youtube with USL professonal keepers as well as with kids. . During the progression,  goalkeepers at Just 4 Keepers are reminded constantly by their goalkeeper coach about the situation being taught.  But,  what “advanced goalkeepers” do is have this focus alread and are able to treat every moment in a drill as if they were in a game situation and just need guidance on the technique.   

Just as you are always ready while playing the game even if the ball is far away (See blog “Staying Focussed”)  also stay focussed in training. Listen and pay attention to each movement and always work hard!  This combined with being a student of the game through watching games, highlighs and things like “amazing saves” videos on you tube will take your training to a more intense level. Remember that these trainings even extremely tecnial ones can, and should be physically challenging and is helped by a good psychological approach as well. 

Do these 4 things to help plan your session. 

  1. Imagine the game situation.
  2. Break down the play into parts.
  3. Imitate each part with a goalkeeper technique.
  4. Work hard mentally and physically!

Practice:   How would you train in this situation?  See “video breakdown” below for details.

Video Download – Training like it’s a game situation


Two rules of Advanced Goalkeeper Training.

  1. Watch the game closely and focus on every movement by a goalkeeper. If movement is done, then you can train to it.
  2. While training, imagine the game situation and yourself in it, and work hard.

At your next goalkeeper session try and apply them!


Stephen Swanger is the J4K Goalkeeping Director for Washington and Montana and distributor of J4K Goalkeeping Glove at the online store WA-J4Ksports

Want to learn more about J4K?Contact us at

Footnote:  Parents please watch the game with your kids.

———– Video Breakdown ———– “Amazing Goalkeeping Saves”———-

Analysis 1:  Goalkeeper training focus: Drop step sprint and 90 degree turn, dive and sweep off the line.

1 – Goalkeeper drops and pushes attacker towards the near post.










2- Goalkeeper is in the ready position with the attacker for 1 v 1 or shot, and attacker plays the 3rd goal.




Goalkeeper turns 180 degree and sprints back to the ball to a 1 v1 save on attackers foot.





Goalkeeper turns 90 degrees and sprints towards the line, dives, and sweeps the ball into a safe space.

Analysis 2:  Goalkeeper training focus: Reactions, footsave fall back, and second save from the ground.

Goalkeeper side steps accross the face goal after the ball is crossed.

Goalkeeper isn’t set and attacker shoots the ball.

Goalkeeper makes an initial save with foot and because was off balance falls backwards.

Goalkeeper awarely saves the 2nd shot while lying down.

NO GOAL! Great Goalkeeper Save!