10 STEP Pre-Match Warm-Up Routine

This is my 20-30 minute 10 Step Goalkeeping warm-up routine which I use before a football match. Make sure you arrive 45 minutes before kick-off and take your own footballs so you can start if your team don't arrive that early.

To watch my pre-match goalkeepers' warm-up routine video, click below;

1. Light Jog & Stretching

Firstly, I take a light jog whilst stretching/loosening my arms/shoulders, legs, thighs/groin to increase flexibility and to help avoid pulling any muscles during the warm up or the match. Then bouncing a ball whilst I move, to get my hands used to the feel of the ball and the bounce of the ground.

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2. Catching & Pick-ups/Scoops

Next we want to get our basic catching and scoop/pick-up right as there is usually a lot of these in a match. You may think it's an easy save and mess it up if you don't practice them. I do 2-3 of these throwing/rolling the ball from about 8 yards out. Then throw 2-3 slightly to each side to practice moving my feet to get my body behind the ball as the 2nd barrier.

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3. Footwork & Handling

Next, I get my feet moving with short steps across the goal from the post, facing out. I practice getting set before the ball is kicked. From about 12 yards out, I catch 2-3 half-volleys into my hands. This replicates the quick footwork needed when dealing with a ball delivered across the goal and getting set before making the catch/save.

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4. Collapse Saves & Low Dives

My next step is to practice my collapse and low dive saves. So from about 12 yards out, 2 or 3 low shots to each side, ensuring the angle of my dive is forwards, not backwards. This gets your body used to landing on the ground.

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5. Dealing with Crosses/Corners

Practice getting your starting position right, then ideally catching 2-3 crosses from each side. If there are bodies in the way you may need to punch clear with 1 hand, but ideally catch to keep possession so you can counter-attack. This gets you used to the flight of the ball as it can differ with different weather conditions.

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6. Overarm Throws & Roll-outs

I do 2-3 overarm throws to gauge my distance and the bounce of the ball. This can change dependant on me, the weather and the ball, so it's not always the same. I also do 2-3 underarm roll-outs to each side. You can gauge if the ground is bobbly or slow if it's wet/muddy.

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7. Goal Kicks, Drop-Kicks / Side Volleys

Take 2-3 goal kicks each side of the goal, ensuring you avoid any muddy/slippy patches. I'm still working on my side-volleys so I do both in my warm-up to see whether I feel confident using the side volley in the match. From the edge of the area, drop-kick 2-3 balls to the right and left sides of the pitch. Gauge how far they go and how much they bounce. I then try a few side volleys for practice.

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8. 1v1 & Block Saves

Starting 1-2 yards off your line, practice 2-3 1v1's from each side and also some down the middle. The kicker should give you at least 1 of each type of scenario;

  • where he/she comes close and you have to spread yourself to block

  • where he/she shoots early so you have to react whilst coming out

  • where he/she tries to take the ball around you to score

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9. Random Shots / Saves

I then have 8-10 random shots taken at me from outside the penalty area. It's not great to have everyone in your team taking shots at you for 15 minutes, so please avoid this! It doesn't give you the repetitiveness of the previously mentioned routines to improve your muscle memory. Too many shots and big dives can also tire you out before the match.

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10. Short Sprints

To finish off, just before kick-off, I do a few short sprints after our team talk to ensure I haven't cooled down too much. If you don't have time for this before kick off, then do it in the first few minutes of your match, when the ball is safely up the other end of the pitch. You can also do this during the game to keep yourself warm, keep your muscles loose and to stay sharp.

I hope this has been some help to you. Good luck in your match !

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