Along with footwork and good catching skills, positioning provides the foundation of good goalkeeping. A keeper who is always in position makes it look like every shot goes right to them, because the shooter has nowhere else to put the ball. Poor positioning leaves vast areas of net for a shooter, or even an empty net. To position themselves accurately, the goalkeeper must know where the goal is!

Basic Handling

Contour / "W" Catch

High Contour Catch

Basket Catch

The only advantage a goalkeeper has over any other player on the soccer field is that they can use their hands. In this way, a goalkeeper can control the ball in a way no other player can, but to gain this control, they must catch the ball. Catching technique is second only to footwork in making a safe, solid keeper.

Basic Handling II


The technique of parrying is used when the goalkeeper cannot catch the ball in an extended diving position. There is the two hand parry and the one hand parry. To parry the ball the goalkeeper should make a strong solid surface by extending their fingers.


This handling technique is used when a ball is played to a point in which the keeper is not confident with attempting a catch. Tipping usually refers to balls above the goalkeepers head. The fingers are stiff (rigid) and are extended to make the hand surface as big as possible.

Front Smother

This technique is used for balls that are driven low with pace at the goalkeeper.


The goalkeeper is the last line of defense, but also the first line of attack. After a save is made, the keeper must quickly look to break out and start the counter. Distribution can be done two ways: throws or kicks. Both have advantages for certain situations.


Collapse Diving

The collapsed dive is used on balls fairly close to the goalkeeper but far enough to the side that just reaching out to make the catch does not get any of the body behind the ball. The intent is to move the entire body behind the ball and get the hands in good catching position.

Extension Diving

For balls further away, the keeper must extend and get into the air at the same level as the ball. Again, the whole idea is to get the body behind the ball and the hands in good catching position. The technique is similar to a collapsed dive, except that now the keeper must generate extra power to drive the body both horizontally and vertically to get into catching position. In addition, the landing will be a bit more difficult since the keeper will be "falling" from higher up.

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