Top 5 Goalkeeping Drills for Improving Reaction Time

As a goalkeeper, quick reflexes and reaction time are essential for success on the pitch. The ability to anticipate and respond to shots, crosses, and passes can make all the difference between a game-winning save or a disappointing goal. To help you sharpen these critical skills, we've compiled a list of our top 5 goalkeeping drills for improving reaction time. Incorporate these exercises into your regular training sessions to enhance your performance and become the ultimate shot-stopper.

  • Rapid Fire Shots:

This drill focuses on building your reflexes to react quickly to multiple shots in rapid succession. Have a partner or coach serve several balls at varying speeds and angles from a close distance (8-10 yards). Focus on making the save, then quickly recovering and preparing for the next shot. Repeat this for a set of 10 shots before taking a break. Complete 3-4 sets during your training session.

  • Deflection Drills:

Deflections can be challenging for goalkeepers as they require split-second adjustments to save the ball. In this drill, have a partner or coach shoot towards a target placed near the goal (e.g., a cone or small goal). Position yourself between the target and the shooter, attempting to deflect the ball away from the target. This exercise will help you practice reacting to unexpected changes in the ball's trajectory.

  • Tennis Ball Reactions:

Using a tennis ball instead of a football can significantly improve your hand-eye coordination and reaction time. Have a partner or coach throw tennis balls at various heights, speeds, and angles towards you. Try to catch each ball using one hand or both hands, depending on the difficulty level. Incorporate this drill into your regular training routine to develop quicker reflexes.

  • Cross and Corner Simulations:

Crosses and corners require a goalkeeper to quickly evaluate the situation and react accordingly. Set up this drill by having two servers positioned wide on each side of the pitch. Have one server send in crosses or corner kicks, while the other attempts to simulate an attacker's movement by running towards the goal. As the goalkeeper, focus on reading the trajectory of the ball, making quick decisions, and reacting to the incoming cross or corner.

  • Ball Drop:

This simple but effective drill helps improve your reaction time when diving to make a save. Have a partner or coach stand on a box or bench and hold a football at shoulder height. Position yourself a few yards away from them, facing the ball. The partner will then drop the ball without any warning, and your goal is to dive and save the ball before it hits the ground. Repeat this drill 10 times on each side, alternating sides after each save.


Incorporating these goalkeeping drills into your regular training sessions will help you develop faster reflexes and improve your reaction time. Remember, practice and consistency are crucial for mastering these skills. Keep challenging yourself and pushing your limits, and you'll soon see the results on the pitch.

Happy training!