Goalkeeper distribution drill – Strikers vs goalie

by Pablo M22nd Apr 2022

Drill created with Tactics Manager

The goalkeeper’s role is not limited to keeping a clean sheet. For example, the goalkeeper can also be instrumental in starting a counterattack. This post describes a goalkeeper distribution drill that will help your keeper transition from defence into attack quickly and accurately.


This routine is a competition between your goalkeeper and your offensive players. Therefore you need one goalkeeper and three field players. Because the main objective is to train your goalkeeper, you need half of an actual football pitch for this drill or a full-size portable goal that you set up in a park. If you are using a football field, you can run this drill in one half while the rest of your team practices other routines in the other half.

In addition to an actual field, you will need five small goals or agility poles to make up goals and a good number of balls (at least 6). If you can’t get hold of a full pitch, find a park with enough space and use cones and agility poles to mark the playing field.


Goalkeeper distribution is passing the ball to a teammate to restart the game after a save or a goal kick. This action could involve the goalkeeper’s feet or their hands. The distance, proximity of rivals and other factors affect the technique used by the goalkeeper to distribute the ball. We discussed these techniques in Goalkeeper distribution tips.

Therefore the instructions below are designed for practising the most common techniques used by goalkeepers to distribute the ball. To make the exercise fun, the field players team compete against the goalkeeper to see who scores more points at the end of the drill. The progression and rules of the game are as follows.

  • Player 1 starts running and attempts a direct shot from behind the penalty spot.
  • The goalkeeper doesn’t earn points for stopping the ball but gets an attempt to score by getting the ball inside the closest small goal using an underarm bowl.
  • Player 2 sends a cross into the box.
  • Player 1 attempts to score using their head or a volley, but they can’t control the ball on the ground or try to dribble the goalie.  
  • The goalkeeper doesn’t earn points for stopping or intercepting the ball but gets an attempt to score by using an overarm throw to get the ball inside one of the small goals close to the midline.
  • Player 3 sends a cross into the box.
  • Player 1 attempts to score using their head or a volley.
  • The goalkeeper doesn’t earn points for stopping or intercepting the ball but gets an attempt to score 2 points by kicking the ball inside the small goal located on the midline. The goalkeeper can use one of three kicks from anywhere inside the box: a goal kick, drop-kick or side Volley (see Goalkeeper distribution tips for more details).
  • A perfect round of shooting for the field players’ team will grant them 3 points. In contrast, an ideal round for the goalkeeper will mean 4 points:  1 point for scoring with the underarm bowl, 1 point for scoring with the overarm throw and 2 points for scoring in the midfield goal using a kick.
  • Repeat by swapping shooting players until all three field players have attempted direct shots and volleys.

Be creative and add your own rules. But, whatever the changes you make to the base game, make sure to maintain the spirit of the drill.

For clarity, the animation below illustrates the steps detailed above.

Goalkeeper distribution - animation


This drill will improve your goalkeeper distribution technique. However, this routine also covers other goalkeeping and field skills. For example, your field players will practice scoring from crossings. In summary, this exercise will improve:

  • Stopping direct shots. This drill helps goalkeepers practice saving shots from a short distance.
  • Distribution. Goalkeepers need to be good at distributing the ball, or they won’t score any points. So, this game will improve skills that may look easy (e.g., underarm bowls) but can provide the opposition with an easy opportunity to score if not practised enough.
  • Goalkeepers kicking technique. Because scoring from a kick is worth double, it encourages goalkeepers to improve their kicking technique. If the field players are scoring every chance during the game, a good kick will give the goalkeeper a chance to catch up in the score.
  • Shooting accuracy. Players should kick the ball or execute crosses into difficult spots for a goalkeeper to reach. It doesn’t matter if the player misses a chance as long as the keeper can’t stop or retain the ball. If the goalkeeper can’t control the ball, they can’t distribute it to start a counterattack.
  • Crosses. Consistency is vital in crossing. Crosses have to be weighted to make them easy to control by the shooting player. They also have to be difficult for the goalkeeper to catch.
  • Volleys. Volley shots are all about technique. Players have to kick the ball with the right weight, at the right height and with their body and foot in the correct position. Have a look at this volley shot drill to improve your players’ technique.

I hope you find this goalkeeper distribution drill helpful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends and take a peek at our other drills.