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 Movements 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!


Video – Exercise For Movement in Basic Stance

In the video below, you can see one (of the many) exercises for lateral movement in basic stance with 180 degree turns that is performed on a random (sudden) audio stimuli. These drills have elements of vestibular activation, very useful for spatial awareness for goalkeepers. These drills are just a few suggestions for a warm-up through the lateral movement in basic stance which you can use at the beginning of your training.





Video – Combo Drill – Movement in Basic Stance With Audio and Visual Stimuli

In this video you can see a few variations of one of my basic combo drills for practicing movement in basic stance, combined with some of the most basic save reactions (high or low), stimulation of vestibular system, and with audio and visual stimuli.

In the first variation of this combo drill, goalkeepers are moving laterally in the basic stance. On an audio stimuli (a whistle sound), goalkeepers need to change the direction of lateral movement, after which they need to start doing an additional footwork drill (in this case that is “in and out” drill with feet). On the next audio stimuli (a whistle sound), goalkeepers need to do a 360 degree jump turn to the right side, and then they need to land in the proper basic stance.

It happens very often that goalkeepers will put their hands down before or during the jump turns, so this is one of the things you want to pay attention to in this part of the drill. Also, please pay attention to the position of their legs (knees and ankles) during the landing after the jump.

You want your goalkeepers to be able to perform the 360 degree turn jumps to the right side, and then afterwards also to the left side. We want to have the alternation of sides of the jump turns because of the usual “turning side dominance” that all goalkeepers have, and naturally – we want to work also on the non-dominant side.

In the second variation of this combo drill, there are additional tasks that are added to the first basic version. So basically, after the goalkeeper lands in the basic stance after the 360 degree turn jump to the left side, the next task is a reaction to the visual stimuli: goalkeepers need to make a high save reaction to the opposite side from the one that I showed them with lifting up my arm. After that first high reaction comes the middle step, and then a high save reaction to the other side.

In the third variation of the combo drill in the video, you can see the second variation but with the 360 degree jump turn to the right side. Again: please consider working on both dominant and non-dominant side of the jump turns. In the second and third variation of the combo drill, you want to pay attention if your goalkeeper is performing properly high save reactions.

There is no point in doing this complex combo drill if your goalkeeper is still struggling with any of the basic elements of it. So, to make it more simple, you can break this (or any other) combo drill in all its separated elements, and work on each of them separately until your goalkeeper is able to perform them all properly. Then you can go to the whole combo drill.




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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.