Dublin Football Grassroots Sport

Football position series – Role of a goalkeeper

What’s the role of a Goalkeeper? Easy, of course, it’s to stop goals going into their net… Well, kind of!!

Role of a goalkeeper

A modern goalkeeper has to be able to be as good with their feet as an outfield player, but also must have one of the loudest voices on the pitch to communicate with their defence.

Many professional clubs look for a goalkeeper with the following basic attributes;

  • Handling
  • Shot stopping
  • Positioning
  • Distribution
  • Communication


This is where, when you catch or save the ball, are you able to hold the ball more often than you don’t.

Shot Stopping:

Whilst all of the above points are important, this one is probably most important as it means you are able to stop the shots at goal. Are you more likely to save these shots or let them into your goal?


This is one of the most difficult to master. It means where are you on the pitch in relation to the game.

When the ball is the other end of the pitch, are you on the edge of your area. Or when the opposition is attacking, do you understand where you should be in relation to the ball.


This is elements such as your throwing and kicking accuracy to fellow team mates, which can help to start an attack against the opposition.


This is what some goalkeepers find the hardest. For example, the goalkeeper can see the whole game in front of them and should be talking to the defenders in order to move them up the pitch, drop back down the pitch, whether a player has a man on him or whether they have extra time.

It is often said goalkeepers should be the most vocal players on the pitch.

Overall, the role of the goalkeeper is far more complex than some initially thought it to be. So, how do you improve on all these areas?

Focus your practice sessions on certain areas. Areas that will help you to become an all-round outstanding goalkeeper.

-Handling techniques and collapse dives
-Angles and positioning
-Distribution from feet and hands
-Block saves/ 1v1s/ cut backs
-Ability, footwork and mobility

Often, the best drills are the most simple ones. The reason the best players in the world are the best, is because they practice the basic skills over and over again until they can do them without thinking.

Once you can do the basics sub-consciously, then you can start becoming noticed by clubs, where they can help and tailor your learning to more complex and specific skills.

Find out more at www.lifeinfootball.co.uk about how they can help.