Playing Out with the Goalkeeper

By Patrick Kasperitis -

The modern goalkeeper is required to use their feet almost more often than their hands. Players like Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich FC and German National Team) and Hope Solo (Seattle Reign and US Women’s National Team), whose stories involve relatively late changes in position to playing as a goalkeeper made their ability to play with their feet seem almost natural. On the opposite side we see fantastic shot stoppers like Simon Mignolet, who plays for Liverpool FC in England, come under immense criticism for his relative short comings playing with his feet.

The skills they use to help their team to play out of the back are things that we can train. We want to try to replicate situations they might see in the game. One of these examples is when the goalkeeper is asked to swing the ball from side to side. Our defenders in front of us are under pressure, we want our team mates to be able to be comfortable playing the ball back to us so that we can get to the other side of the field. We must be able to accomplish this task. Below is an exercise progression that will look to train this skill across multiple distances.

Prior to beginning this exercise we would want to do a warm up for both our goalkeeper’s hands and feet.

The first part of the exercise will have a pass of about 15 meters.

Swinging out of the back (1)

  • The goalkeeper will peel off of the mannequin and ask for the ball on their front foot
  • Receiving the ball with their front foot and pushing the ball in the direction of the target, the goalkeeper will then pass the ball to their target
    • The key to the pass is that it must be over-hit to ensure that it gets there quickly
    • The pass must stay on the ground
  • Goalkeeper jogs back to the mannequin and works the other side, getting practice with both the left and the right foot.

The second part of the exercise asks the goalkeeper to do the same thing as before, but we will be hitting the ball across 25 meters.

Swinging out of the back (2)

  • The progression to this portion of the exercise will ask the goalkeeper to strike a ball that is driven in the air.
  • We want to focus on striking the ball with the laces and pushing our hips through the ball to allow for weight transfer.

Lastly we get to the main portion of the exercise, which adds an element of shot stopping.

Swinging out of the back (3)

  • The exercise will begin with a save.
  • Goalkeeper will then distribute with hands out into a wide area
    Goalkeeper will then show outside of the frame of the goal to receive a pass from the player who is meant to resemble your center back or your outside back.
  • Take a touch in the direction of the opposite team mate, and distribute a driven pass into their body
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Swinging out of the back (4)


You can have goalkeeper play passes into a player’s run by asking the players in the wide area make a run down the line. Or you can add an element of choice by giving them a chance to make a run or show their feet.

By Patrick Kasperitis - Graduate Assitant Women's Soccer Coach - St Mary's University, SA United Junior Program Goalkeeping Director, South Texas ODP Staff

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