Goalkeepers: How To Master The Art Of Positioning

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When strikers hit their shots right in the goalkeepers, the latter most often don’t get the credit they deserve. But they should. Goalkeepers were in that case in the right place at the right time. As promised in one of our previous blogs, we will look at the positioning of the goalkeepers and present you some useful tips, which will help you get properly positioned.




A ball lays on the pitch, for example, 20 meters from the goal line. You draw a line from the ball to the center of a goal line. If a drawn line is between goalkeeper’s legs, a goalkeeper is considered properly positioned. Easy in theory, but the real question is, how close to the ball and how far away from the goal line a goalkeeper should be standing. If you additionally draw two more lines from the ball to the either of the two goal posts, you see, that the angle narrows, when a goalkeeper move closer to the ball. But with that, the possibility of getting lobbed increases.



In general, during the play, goalkeepers should be positioned more or less 15 meters away from their defense, so that they can intercept through balls. The rule of »sweeper keeper« dramatically changes, when the opposite team gets in the shooting range, which is approximately from 30 meters from the goal. When the opposition player shots on goal from 30 to 16 meters, goalkeepers are most often correctly positioned from 2 to 4 meters out of the goal line (depends on the situation). With that, they narrow the angle and have enough time to save a potential lob. But when the opposition player enters the penalty area, more or less through the middle, goalkeepers can freely move to the 5 meters line, because a chance of getting lobbed dramatically decreases. Moreover, goalkeepers can easily intercept key passes in the penalty box. They can also move further up to confront the opposition strikers, but how to deal with one-on one situation will be a topic for one of our next blogs.


So you probably ask yourself, when do the goalkeepers move on goal line and when are they only slightly off a goal line? The first answer is on set pieces. When a free kick is in shooting range or from the side, when a cross is expected, goalkeepers are positioned up to two meters off the goal line. They are similarly positioned on corner kicks, because in both cases they are, in general, only responsible for commanding and controlling the 6-yard box. They catch crosses further up the penalty box only when a ball is flying high and for a long time. However, the second answer is, when goalkeepers save volleys. It is advisable, that when they see a volley coming their way, they step a little backwards before the shot is being taken. That’s once again due to the possibility of getting lobbed.


For the end we would like to point out another important aspect of positioning, too many times left out of the training sessions. That’s the positioning from the side. On corners and free kicks from the side, goalkeepers correctly stand one step away from the middle of the goal (if you look through the width of the pitch), because attacking the cross is so much easier than moving backwards to catch a cross. Their positioning is getting near the first post with every step the opposition player makes towards the penalty box. But when the opposition player enters the penalty box from the side, goalkeepers should move in line with the first post and their body should be perpendicular to the goal line. Only by doing that they can save shots from the side, intercept low crosses as well as high ones and hope to be in right place at the right time.



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