How to Be a Better Goalie in 6-a-Side Football

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Goalkeeper is one of the most important positions in football. No matter how good the rest of your team is, you’re not going to be a winning combination without somebody you can rely on in goal. However, it’s perhaps one of the least popular positions for players, especially if your keep is made up of a bunch of mates looking for a kick around to let off steam. In a traditional FA rules match, we can understand that—after all, you might spend half the match with all the action taking place down the other end of the pitch, which is not exactly an exciting evening of sport for you.

With 6-a-side football, it’s quite different. With the smaller pitch, shorter match length, and generally more frenetic pace of the game, the role of the goalie is every bit as energetic as any other player. In this article, we’re going to look at 5 ways to improve your performance as a goalkeeper:


Get in position

The preferred size of a 6-a-side goal is 3.66 m, or 12 ft. That’s quite a wide area to cover as a keeper, which makes positioning all the more important. The easiest and most effective way to develop good positioning is to mirror the ball. When it moves to your left, take a step to the left. When it moves to your right, take a step to the right. This instantly makes the goalmouth much smaller for the opposing team. With most shots taken from a short distance, putting yourself between the ball and the goal severely limits their options.


Stop those shots

We know that telling a goalie to stop any shots on goal isn’t exactly a groundbreaking technique, but hear us out. Since you can’t send the ball over head height in 6-a-side, you need to get good at scooping and cupping. Scooping is for ground balls, where you reach out with fingers extended, creating a ramp for the ball to roll up into your hands. Feel free to lean forward, over the ball (or even onto it), to prevent it from rolling away.

Shots that come in at mid-to-chest height should be stopped with a cupping technique. Put both hands out for the ball and, as it touches them, bring your arms in to your chest to absorb the impact and keep a firm grip.


Quick reflexes

This is a skill that only comes with practise. You’re not always going to have the time or space to scoop or cup the ball. Instead, you’ll have to be quick off the mark and deflect the shot with the side of your foot or bat it away with an outstretched hand. When you train with your team, do deflection drills where they line up to take shots and you knock them away without picking up the ball. You’ll soon end up doing it on instinct.


Keep focus

We mentioned at the outset that you will see a lot more action as a 6-a-side goalie than you will in other versions of the game. That means you need to keep focused at all times. You need to be aware of the ball, of course, but also of where the other players are. Keeping an eye on the whole pitch for the full 40 minutes can be difficult, so focus instead on your half of the court. As you position yourself for the ball, take a moment to clock the position of the nearest members of each team and try to keep them in your eye line.


The right mentality

6-a-side football is a fast-paced game, and you’re going to make mistakes. It’s a rare game indeed where neither team concedes at least a few goals—in fact, the whole game is designed that way. Smaller pitches, wider goals, and most shots coming from close range mean a higher proportion of successful goals. Expecting to walk away with a clean sheet is not only unreasonable but detrimental. Don’t dwell on the shots that make it past you—get the ball back into play and trust in your team to even the score.

Soccer Gods

Register your team

If you’re ready to put together your own 6-a-side football team, whether you want to be in goal or not, get in touch with Soccer Gods today and register your interest in joining a local league.