There are two most common techniques for saves of shots from 9 meters:

  1. step to the side and
  2. sliding



Features of the step to the side technique are:

  • From the basic stance, goalkeeper is making step to the side where the shot is coming.
  • If the shot is coming to goalkeeper’s left side, then the push off has to be from goalkeeper’s right leg! At the same time left leg is making side step towards the ball, and it’s making external rotation of the thigh, so the foot would be positioned properly for the low save.
  • The right arm  remains extended diagonally in the air (maintaining the balance and covering the space ) and left arm stretches down passing in front of the knee and towards the space above and in front of the reacting foot – to cover that open space depending on where the ball will be directed.
  • The size/length of the side step is going to depend mostly on the path/direction f the incoming ball! Therefore, it’s very important to work with goalkeepers on different length of a side step, from shorter to deeper side step. The size/length of the side step is also going to depend on the physical abilities of a goalkeeper who is performing it – meaning if the goalkeeper has any problems with hip flexor mobility or flexibility, it will be much harder for them to perform proper movement. Important to notice is that generally younger goalkeepers will have more often lack of the hip flexor mobility and lack of leg muscles strength, therefore it is advisable to teach them shorter side step (but with addition of middle step before the reaction, so that they could reach far enough with the reacting foot). In this way, if the side step is shorter – it will be easier for them to push off again back and return faster into the basic stance after the side step reaction.
  • In low side step reaction, body weight is on that leg which is in the side step (this is one of the reasons why it’s so important for a goalkeeper to have strong leg muscles and good balance and stability).
  • The upper body is moving towards the place of contact with the ball, keeping the back straight and head up, looking straight to the incoming shot.
  • Foot of the reacting leg should be “open” – with internal part facing the direction of the arrival of the ball. Common mistake that many young goalkeepers are making is to not lean on the whole foot in this position, but just on toes – lifting up the heel. So keep this detail in mind while explaining them proper way of this reaction.
  • It is advisable to  make the side step slightly towards the ball (only for a few cm) with the purpose of cutting the angle.


There are certain most common mistakes in low save reactions, and every goalkeeper coach should point out these mistakes to young goalkeepers, and then try to correct them!


To be able to teach, improve or identify mistakes in elements of goalkeeper technique – the coach first has to become familiar with elements of proper technique!


You can see proper step to the side low save reaction in this video:




The other way to react on low shots from 9 meters is sliding.

If we take the same example as in previous case – reaction on low shot to the left side, then “sliding” reaction starts from the basic stance and explosive push off from the right leg towards the left side.

Left leg is sliding on the heel to the left side – where the shot is addressed. Sliding movement of the leg is often accompanied by one or both arms which are extended towards the foot of that leg, thus covering larger space.

Sliding can be done as one side slide (with one leg sliding to the reaction, and the other one is bent), or a full leg split slide.


Both techniques have their strengths and weaknesses, and the effect of both of them can be maximized only if you recognize which of these will work better for your goalkeeper. However, advisable is to teach both techniques, by following the abilities and proper progression for your goalkeeper.

In the training of young goalkeepers it is very important to teach them wide range of movements and different technique elements, so that they could later use what will suit best to their personal goalkeeper style in specific saving reactions.



Friendly advice for coaches:

Do not choose sliding as the first technique option for save of low shots in work with young goalkeepers!

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t start with sliding, but mostly you shouldn’t do it because many young goalkeepers are simply NOT CAPABLE of performing it properly!

During many years of my coaching work, I have seen a lot of young goalkeepers performing sliding without having basic mobility and flexibility. This is very dangerous and aggressive “attack” on the hip joints. Just imagine having a goalkeeper who can’t perform proper squat or side deep lunge, but he/she is performing sliding?! And this is, unfortunately, very, very common!

young goalkeepers will very often and very fast get the habit of reacting on every low shot with sliding, so you will later have trouble with getting them to “stay on their feet” or to perform side step at all. It’s much easier to teach them first proper side step, and after they learn and adopt it, then in a bit later stage to start with sliding.


I hope the text and videos will be helpful to some of you!   🙂








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