Handball Goalkeeper Warm Up With Shooters

Handball Goalkeeper Warm-Up With Shooters

Are you maximizing the shooting warm-up time with players in your training to work on goalkeeper technique and different aspects of goalkeeper game with your goalkeepers?

Even if you don’t have a goalkeeper coach or an assistant coach in your team, there are still so many different ways for you to implement more elements of goalkeeper training in your team’s practice!

One of the most practical ways to have a bigger focus on work with goalkeepers is during the shooting warm-up.



What Are The Benefits of Shooting Warm-Up for Goalkeepers?

The importance of a shooting warm-up for handball goalkeepers cannot be overstated. It is a crucial component of the pre-game and practice routines for several reasons:


Physical Readiness

The warm-up increases body temperature, enhances muscle elasticity, and prime the nervous system for quick, explosive movements, and improves overall coordination and reaction times. For goalkeepers, who need to make quick, explosive movements to save shots, being physically primed is essential to prevent injuries and perform at their best.


Mental Preparation

A shooting warm-up with players allows goalkeepers to mentally tune into the game. It helps them focus, reduces anxiety, and builds confidence as they successfully save shots. This mental switch from the outside world to the game environment is vital for concentration and mental resilience throughout the match.


Technique Refinement

During the warm-up, goalkeepers have the opportunity to work on their technique in a controlled environment. They can adjust their stance, positioning and footwork, work on their save techniques, and practice handling different types of shots, which can be critical during game situations.


Game Simulation

Facing shots from teammates simulates real game scenarios, enabling goalkeepers to adjust to different shooting styles and patterns, improving their reaction time, decision-making, and adaptability during actual matches. Warm-up shooting with players often include shooting drills that simulate match conditions, allowing goalkeepers to anticipate and react to real game scenarios. This acclimatization is crucial for improving decision-making under pressure, timing, and understanding shooters’ tendencies.


Communication and Team Coordination

If there is enough time, different tactical options of shooting warm-ups can also serve as a time for goalkeepers to communicate with their defenders and coordinate team defense strategies. This communication fosters better understanding and communication between the goalkeeper and field players, crucial for effective coordination of defence, and understanding team strategies against opposing attackers.


Confidence Boost

Successfully saving shots during the shooting warm-up can provide a significant psychological boost and a sense of readiness. It helps build a positive mindset and belief in one’s abilities, which are critical for a goalkeeper’s performance during the game.



How Many Rows of Shooters Should You Have in Your Warm-Up?

This is a very common question that I get from coaches on almost a weekly basis! 🙂 My usual answer is that you can be as creative as you want when it comes to shooting options and combinations.

You can have players shoot towards the goal from one row, two rows, three rows, four rows, or from even more. The options are endless, but you need to make sure that which ever option you choose – the focus will stay on a proper warm-up for your goalkeepers!

To be completely honest, I am not too concerned about what players will do before or after shooting to the goal (in case that some coaches want to make more “fun” things for the shooters). But if you decide to give players some “task” – movement before shooting, please consider changing or adapting your decision, or adding the task after the shooting! Because what often happens is that players overly focus on the task they need to do before the shot, and then they don’t manage to stay focused to shoot precisely in the goal where we want them to!

Remember – we want to maximize the shooting warm-up for what its main intention is and that is the goalkeeper warm-up!


Suggestion of Progression Steps During the Shooting Warm-Up

Here are a few suggested steps of progression that you can use with your goalkeepers in shooting warm-up:

Step 1. The best option to start with young goalkeepers for shooting warm-up are going to be decided shots to one side of the goal, so that both goalkeepers and players know from and to where the shots are coming. “Decided” shots means that it’s already agreed and announced to shooters and to goalkeepers where the shots will come.

In this, but also in the next steps is very important to give enough of time to your goalkeepers between the shots so that they can return to the basic stance after performing the save reaction.


Step 2. After your goalkeepers master separately proper technique movements for saves of potential shots from 9 meters in the warm up, then you can proceed to implementing a combination of a few different decided directions of shots (combinations of high, middle or low shots).


Step 3. In the next step of progression you can include free shots from decided positions. “Free” shots means that players can choose where they will shoot, and the direction of shots is unknown to the goalkeeper.


Step 4. You can also combine decided and free shots from different positions. E.g. shots from the left back can be free shots anywhere to the front post of the goal (or to the back post or to the entire goal, depending on what you decide), and shots from the right back can be decided shots to the front high corner only (or only to any other high, middle or low parts of the goal, depending on what you are working on).


Step 5. Game situational shots, from different playing positions, more similar to a potential game situation. Here you can include also rebounds, and shooting from several different positions because in addition to the save technique, your goalkeeper can practice also positional movement in basic stance.


Step 6. Game situational shots, in cooperation with passive defence.


Step 7. Game situational shots, in cooperation with active defence.


Step 8. Game situational shots + after save reaction fast coming into possession of the ball + bringing the ball back to the field (short or long passing).


When you start being intentional about using the shooting warm-up primarily as a focus on your goalkeepers – you will see the improvements and benefits of it!

This will happen, of course, with a prerequisite that you should know what to pay attention to, how your goalkeeper should be positioned, how they should move, how they should react on certain shots and so on – all of which  I am going through in detail in my Level 1 online course about goalkeeping for coaches.





Video – Handball Goalkeeper Warm-Up With Shooters Positioned in a Semicircle on 9 Meters

In the video below, you can see a few ideas and options for your goalkeeper warm-up with shooters positioned in a semicircle on 9 meters.

In the presented options, shooters have only one task – which is to execute a decided shot in the goal. If you want an additional load or challenge for your players, you give them any kind of a physical, mental, cognitive, or tactical task that they need to do before or after executing their shots. If a given task seems to over load the shooters (if you notice that they are not aiming their shots well), then please adapt the given challenge! Remember that the shooting part of the goalkeeper warm-up is done specifically for goalkeepers, and that everything else in this part of the training should be secondary.



Video – Handball Goalkeeper Shooting Warm-Up Options With Additional Tasks for Players

Very often, handball coaches keep asking me what kind of shooting warm-up should they have for their goalkeepers? They ask if it should be from one column, two columns, or three columns?…
In principle, to be honest, I always answer the same: it depends on what the intention of the warm-up is. Is the main intention to warm-up and prepare goalkeepers, or is it to make it more advanced and complicated for players?
If given exercises or tasks are not too demanding for players, and if they can still focus and aim properly where you want them to aim in the goal in order to warm-up the goalkeepers, then please go ahead, be creative and make any kind of drills and additional challenges for players that you want before the execution of the shot.
But PLEASE, be aware of the fact that in many teams this shooting part of the warm-up will (unfortunately) be the only time when coaches give any attention to the goalkeepers! Meaning – you shouldn’t want to make it too demanding or too complicated for players so that they would be unable to concentrate and to aim precisely their shots in the goal.
I have seen this happening too often in teams, and then even those few minutes of training time that should be completely focused on goalkeepers gets lost and wasted, and goalkeepers don’t get a proper shooting warm-up!!
In the video below you can see a few different ideas for players with combining the stimulation of vestibular system (180 and 360 degrees jump turns), different coordination and footwork tasks, and movements towards the goal (forward, backwards, sideways..).
While getting additional challenges before the shots, players’ main focus is to execute their shots from specific shooting positions, so that goalkeepers can work on their part in all these drills (which in this case was mainly focused on proper positioning and proper technique for different kinds of save reactions).
Please remember that all these drills are only starting ideas, and that you can further develop and create your own shooting drills as well. 





Video – 

In the video below, you can find a few options and ideas of a goalkeeper shooting warm-up with shots from two wide positions.

The main focus in these drills was on proper positioning and proper technique when saving shots from two different wing shooting positions. You can utilize goalkeeper shooting warm-up time wisely and work on a lot of different aspects of proper positioning in the goal, proper reactions, proper technique, and proper tactical approaches when it comes to reactions on different kinds of positional shots.


In Conclusion

In conclusion, the shooting warm-up with players is a multifaceted preparatory activity that addresses physical, technical, tactical, and psychological aspects of goalkeeping. It ensures that goalkeepers are not only ready to face the physical demands of the practice and game, but are also mentally and technically equipped to contribute to their team’s success from the very first whistle.


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All content (such as text, data, graphics files, images, illustrations, videos, sound files), and all other materials contained in www.vanjaradic.fi are copyrighted unless otherwise noted and are the property of Vanja Radic Coaching. If you want to cite or use any part of the content from my website, you need to get the permission first, so please contact me for that matter.