Keeping goalkeepers motivated

Whilst at training last week it occurred to me that goalkeepers can quite easily become de-motivated when taking part in shooting and finishing games/drills. A game centred around either shooting or finishing should work on improving both forward players and goalkeepers but it was evident that if the forwards were scoring freely then the goalkeepers were becoming de-motivated.

There could be a few reasons why this might be happening ; the goalkeeper could be struggling for confidence and therefore to see the ball flying past them could be doing further damage, it could be that the coach has allowed the game to become too easy for the strikers or it could be that the game isn’t relevant which would lead to the goalkeepers failing to see that it’s helping them to improve.

Whatever it is, I think it’s important that coaches are aware of the impact these games could have, especially when shooting/finishing games are incredibly popular with outfield players and therefore it’s likely that they may push for you to do this kind of game during a session.

I think a coach needs to ensure the following for finishing/shooting games:

  • Is it relevant?
  • Does it benefit both the forwards and goalkeepers?
  • If it doesn’t benefit the goalkeepers, should an alternate outfield player be used in goal?
  • Would the goalkeeper benefit from some sort of protection, such as a defender to put pressure on the strikers?
Those are just some thoughts following last week’s session, so I’d be interested in understand others view on this?

About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

4 Responses to Keeping goalkeepers motivated

  1. Andy says:


    Thought provoking post, the goal keeping postion is considered as a specialist positon and it can be easy to think the only training they need is to have shots fired at them. But there are a host of drills that could be used as part of sessions or warm ups that not only improve a goal keeper but also improve the agility, balance and coordination of all the other players.

    I had a quick look in my library and I have about 80 drills for goal keepers.adn a good few of those would be useful for ABC’s at younger ages. If you want me to send you any get in touch.

  2. I agree with the advice given and I think about this predicament quite a bit.

    On one hand I really like to rotate players around, and particularly with young players it’s beneficial to include ‘goalkeepers’ in skills practices and give ‘outfielders’ a sense for playing in goal – if nothing else it helps them to appreciate the importance of getting their angles correct and empathise with their own goalie!

    But on the other hand, specific goalkeeper training is oft neglected and if you have a kid who isn’t particularly interested in playing outfield but loves being a ‘keeper (as I have several times), then it’s important to be able to offer them practices which they can engage with.

    As you state in the article, relevant and obviously beneficial are the two most important factors in a GK practice.

    Therefore I have found that making goalies feel special is a great tool for keeping them motivated.

    For example, say your session plan includes 3v3 games to small goals; rather than setting up identical pitches for all your players, change one set of goals for a slightly larger net (perhaps using cones or poles) and let your goalie use their hands. This practice is a game, deals with a specific situation and accommodating the goalkeeper doesn’t detract from the principal theme of the session.

    Of course it also really helps if you’re fortunate enough to have an assistant coach who can offer some simple goalkeeping practices off to the side!

  3. MW says:

    Well I’m a goalkeeper in our city’s best football team. I think that it gives more for a goalkeeper to have a shooting drill where the strikers can shoot many shots at goal. It just becomes boring if it would get harder for them, it never becomes a challenge you know.

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