80/20 guide to starting the season… A way to fake your way to excellence at the start of the season.

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80/20 guide to starting the season… A way to fake your way to excellence at the start of the season.

Don’t get me wrong…. hard work gets you where you need to be.

With the winter we have just had, and indoor field time at a premium, you can be excused for not having the best preparation for the season ahead. With, for most, just a few weeks until the start of the season, please see my guide on what 20% of the work should get you 80% of the results needed to start the season off well.


1) Your body should have muscle memory….. Before the season starts, get yourself into three intense goalkeeping sessions to; 

a) Get used to saving in and around the body ( eliminating obvious mistakes )

b) Get used to the ball coming at you at pace.

c) Get used to serving / kicking the ball.

2) Practice diving technique in a small area. Concentrate on;

a) Lead foot pointing forward

b) Hands leading

c) Bodyweight forward

Soft landings are important…….. start on your knees to begin with

3) Practice saving a ball at the earliest point when the ball is in the air. In a small area. Focus on;

a) Taking off with one foot getting as much lift as possible. Try a variety of landing on the same foot and landing on both feet.

b) Ensuring the ball is in front of your eye line

c) You use this exercise to help with fitness…… maybe adding a push up or mini shuffle in between each catch.


1) Study at least one professional game. Both the Premier League and MLS games are on at the moment giving a feast of soccer on T.V. Even better, get to a game live.

Observe the following;

a) The starting position of the goalkeeper when the ball is in the other half

b) The starting position of the goalkeeper when the ball is being crossed

c) Communication with the team on set pieces and after a save or block by a defender is made.

2) Know what to say & when

a) See the chart when the opposition have the ball at their feet

b) See the article on what to say when the ball is behind the defense or in the air

3) Know how to set up when the opposition has a free kick. – See this article on dealing with free kicks.

One of the best tactical ways of learning is to see yourself play in a game and get professional advice. Goalkeeper HQ offers Video Match Analysis to help with tactical evaluations. 

[Learn more about Video Match Analysis]


It’s not too late to get in shape for goalkeeping prior to the start of the season. Each of the following should be done 3 X every day. (Morning, after school & before bed) 

a i ) Double your age push-ups. 1 set normal, 1 set wide, 1 set with dips

a ii) Double your age sit-ups, plank normal, plank left side, plank right side

a iii) Double your age lunges with a twist.

b) Ladders for quick feet. (You can use chalk, cones or rope to make a ladder ) 3 x 1 in each, 3 x 2 in each & 3 x icky shuffle. Add more variety once you are comfortable. The focus must be on quick feet so keep it simple.

c) Hamstring stretches. 30 secs hands level with knee, 30 secs hands level with ankle, 30 secs hold on to foot.Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.31.12 PM



1) You should have new gloves prepared for the season. You can get great deals on L1 Goalkeeper Gloves. 

2) Know your defenders. At the next practice, make a point of talking to them.

3) Ensure you have all the equipment you need to give you the confidence needed for the first game. See my guide to equipment

4) Know your warm-up routine if a) you have a fellow goalkeeper to warm up with you b) No other goalkeeper to warm up with you.

5) Have some motivational videos to get you up for games.


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