Movement in Basic Stance and Correct Positioning

Movement in Basic Stance and Correct Positioning

Once the goalkeeper has established a good basic stance,  good dynamic stability, good balance and equal distribution of bodyweight, it’s time to start talking about movement in basic stance and correct positioning.


The Importance of Correct Positioning 

It’s important that you spend enough time on this topic. Correct positioning doesn’t come naturally to young goalkeepers and one who hasn’t been told how to position themselves properly will have more trouble to save the ball. On the other hand, a goalkeeper who is good positioned makes it look like every shot goes right to them, because the shooter has nowhere else to put the ball.

Movement in basic stance is easy to teach, while movement arc and proper positioning in relation to the player with the ball can take a little bit longer time. It will always depend on what kind of a goalkeeper you are working with, how motivated they are to learn, what type of a learner they are, and how many wrong things in goalkeeper technique they adopted from the very beginning (meaning how much work you will need to put in correcting those mistakes).


Movement in Basic Stance

Movement in the basic stance is used in the preparatory phase of executing save reaction. The better goalkeeper’s position is – the easier will be to make a save! This is why a big attention should be given to the lateral and frontal movement in basic stance in work with young goalkeepers.


Movement in basic stance:

  • should be done in semicircle in front of the goal, not in straight line sideways left-right
  • goalkeeper should move sideways with smaller steps, thus always taking care of equal distribution of body weight on both feet
  • if young goalkeepers are moving with too wide steps sideways, then they can get surprised with sudden shots and be unable to react properly just because their body weight will be too much on one of the legs in the moment of transition of the body weight while making that side step
  • movement is always done sideways in a way that leg goes next to other leg while making the side step, never crossing legs – going over or behind the other leg!
  • movement in basic stance in front of the goal should be done with the body weight mostly on front part of the feet, not completely with both feet on the floor (the same like in the basic stance)


*Tip: You can demonstrate the importance of correct weight distribution and movement very simply. Ask your goalkeepers to stand still with their weight on their heels and then ask them to jump as high as they can. They will find it difficult, if not impossible, to get off the ground. Then ask them to do the same thing, while having their bodyweight on the front part of their feet while having their knees slightly bent. They will immediately notice the difference and realize the main point about the proper bodyweight distribution.



The Angles in The Goal

When goalkeepers are in the right place at the right time in the goal, it’s because they have mastered and understood the angles.

One of the best aids in helping the goalkeeper visualize correct angles and positioning in movement is the elastic rope. Tie each end of the elastic rope to each of the posts and then stretch it out to the point of possible shooting positions. You can move with the rope and evaluate the goalkeeper’s movements. It’s very important that in this exercise you change the place with goalkeepers, so they can keep the rope and see the angles and importance of correct positioning from that perspective also!

You can use one, two or four ropes for this preview.




Pay attention to the orange line under goalkeeper’s feet in the previous photo: that line is showing proper position of the goalkeeper relative to the player with the ball.  Goalkeepers always have to be positioned so that their toes are pointing towards the player’s hand with the ball.

*Tip: You can get them understand this if you have them create an imaginary straight forward line from their belly button to the ball that shooter is holding. Not towards the shooter’s body, but towards the hand with the ball!

*Tip: Before they learn how and where to take the proper position in front of the goal, you can always mark the correct position with flat cones or pieces of tape on the floor, at the place where their feet should be.

The Movement Arc

The actual size of the movement arc will differ depending on the size and skill of a particular goalkeeper, but the general shape will remain the same – semicircular. The movement arc can be deeper or shallower, just like shown on the image below.




As a result of a goalkeeper’s accurate positioning, the goal can be made to appear to the shooter as much smaller or much bigger. That’s why is so important to teach goalkeepers correct position, how to use their body and how to move in basic stance to cover the biggest part of the goal area.


Factors that influence how far the goalkeeper should come off the goal line include the following: 

  • their physical dimensions
  • their physical abilities
  • the speed that the attacker is coming toward the goal
  • the speed of the shot
  • the direction of the ball and
  • the flight path of the ball


However, don’t let a goalkeeper, especially a young one, think that they must move only along this movement arc at all times! If the ball quickly changes position, if the left back passes to the right wing for example, then the goalkeeper must move as quickly as possible and position for the right wing shot, cutting across the movement arc if necessary.


Tip: When working with really young goalkeepers, remember that a given goalkeeper’s movement arc will change as they grow taller, gain more strength, explosivity, speed, and ability. You may want to do the exercise with the ropes once a season to see if their movement arc has changed.

Another important thing is to know that you will teach your young goalkeeper to move sideways in semicircle, but as the goalkeeper becomes older – the arc will loose the shape of a semicircle, because the older goalkeepers usually move in bigger side steps and position in only three positions: left, middle and right back.


Kinds of Goalkeeper Movement in Basic Stance

  1. Situational sideways / lateral movement – in phase of preparation for the save reaction from bigger distance
  2. Movement forward –towards the player, to decrease the area that should be saved. Usually for shots from 6m or while putting the ball back in the game


For some reason many coaches skip this very, very, VERY important detail in work with young goalkeepers!

Showing the angles with resistance bands, explaining the main principles of proper positioning in the goal and the difference of positioning towards the player’s body or towards the player’s arm with the ball!

It’s easy to show and explain, and it will help your goalkeepers so much!!
Trust me – you wanna use this as your starting point for every chapter of goalkeeper technique and tactical game!


If you want to learn more about proper goalkeeper stance, how to properly move and position in front of the goal, and anything else connected to the basic goalkeeper technique – you should check out my Level 1 Video Course for coaches!


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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the article!

    I have just re-started keeping after 10+ years “nothing”, and your articles are really useful!

    Do you have some tips for reading close shots?

    László Pap

    • You mean 6m line shots? There are some useful videos on this topic on my Youtube channel and on my Facebook coaching page, so you can check them out! 🙂 Thank you!

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All content (such as text, data, graphics files, images, illustrations, videos, sound files), and all other materials contained in 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.