Distribution - Punting

The goalkeeper is not only the "Last Line of Defense", he is also the "First Line of Attack". There is no point in being able to make great saves if you are only going to give the ball back to the opposing team with poor distribution. Solid distribution is extremely important if you want to be a top goalkeeper.

One of the goalkeepers main ways to distribute the ball over a long distance is the punt, or drop-kick.

This technique is best used when the pitch conditions are poor (uneven, potholes, etc.) or during wet weather.

Goalkeeper - Pepe Reina

Preliminary Movements

The goalkeeper should hold the ball with the opposite hand of the foot he intends to kick with. This means right-footed goalkeepers should hold the ball with the left hand and vice-versa. It is important for the goalkeeper to keep his eyes on the ball through the entire range of motion. The goalkeeper should stand tall with shoulders back and head up (good posture!). Many goalkeepers will bounce the ball several times before kicking it. While bouncing the ball the goalkeeper should take a few deep breathes to relax while scanning the field for a possible target player. When he is ready, the goalkeeper should hold the ball in front of him at waist height. The goalkeeper should take three steps before kicking the ball. If the goalkeeper intends to kick the ball with the right foot his initial first step should be with the left foot. His footwork should be left-right-left-kick!

Key Points

  • Good Posture (shoulders back, head up)
  • Pick a Target
  • Open stance
  • Hold Ball with Opposite Hand
  • Hold the Ball at Waist Height
  • Eye on the Ball
  • Left-Right-Left or Vice-Versa
Preliminary Movement - Punting

Backswing / Recovery Movement

The goalkeeper should continue to keep his eyes fixed on the ball. The goalkeepers last step before kicking the ball should be large. The kicking foot moves backwards until the heel comes in line with the buttocks. The goalkeeper should still be trying to maintain good posture, this means shoulders back and head up. The ball is still held at waist height in the opposite hand. The knee of the kicking foot should be bent and the ankle locked in the downward position.

Key Points

  • Eye on the ball
  • Maintain good posture
  • Large last step
  • Ankle locked
Backswing/Recovery Movement - Punting

Force-Producing Movement

As the goalkeeper steps onto his non-kicking foot he will begin to drive the kicking leg forward towards the ball. He should start by contracting the largest muscles first (quadriceps) and finish with the smallest muscles groups last (calf/ankle). He should continue to maintain good posture by keeping the head up (eyes on the ball) and the shoulders back. The hand that was holding the ball should simultaneously be driven down and across the goalkeepers body to maintain stability and balance. The movement is completed by opening the hips up fully in front of the goalkeeper.

Key Points

  • Eye on the ball
  • Maintain good posture
  • Largest muscles to the smallest
  • Use arm for balance
  • Open the hips up
Force-Producing Movement - Punting

The Critical Instant

The critical instance occurs as the kicking foot contacts the ball. The kicking foot should make contact just below where the laces are tied (the hardest part of the foot). Just before contact is made with the ball, the foot and ankle should be locked in an upwards direction. Contact should be made under and slightly towards the front of the ball. This will guarantee that the ball is given lots of backspin or no spin at all. Conatct should be made once the ball has dropped below knee height. The closer to the ground, the more power you will generate. The kicking leg should be locked (ankle, knee, hips)

Key Points

  • Eye on the ball
  • Contact with hardest part of the foot
  • Lock your kicking foot upwards
  • Let ball fall below knee height
  • Lock your leg
  • Contact frontside of the ball
  • Backspin or no spin
Critical Instant - Punting

The Follow-Through

Once the ball has left the goalkeepers foot he should try to maintain a smooth and fluid follow through. The goalkeeper should step through onto the kicking foot landing on it. This will ensure that all of his body weight and not just his leg strength are transferred into the kick. Head should be up, shoulders back with eyes following the flight of the ball to the target.

Key Points

  • Be smooth and fluid
  • Land/Step onto kicking foot
  • Maintain good posture
  • Eyes follow ball to target
The Follow-Through - Punting

Game Footage

Common Errors

Punting - Incorrect
Punting - Correct

One of the most commons errors I hear coaches give to kids when they are teaching them to punt is to "point your toe down and lock your ankle". This is probably the worst advice you can give a young goalkeeper. Even worse yet, this is constantly what is instructed in almost every coaching manual or textbook ever made.

When the goalkeeper points his toe down, more often then not he will give the ball top spin when he hits it. Top spin will always cause the ball to pull itself into the ground, meaning it will not travel as far.

By pointing the toe up the goalkeeper will be able to wrap his foot around the ball and give it lots of back spin (or even no spin!). Back spin will allow the ball to stay in the air longer and travel greater distances.

A ball that is back spinning is also far easier for a teammate to control then a ball that has top spin.

Goalkeeper - Andoni Zubizarreta
Goalkeeper - Heurelho Gomes
Goalkeeper - Hope Solo

If you have found this article useful, please make a donation. Your donations help to keep the website up and running. Thank you.

Goalkeeper - Ashley Blank
Goalkeeper - Ashley Blank
Goalkeeper - Ashley Blank
Goalkeeper - Ashley Blank

Frame By Frame

Tim Wiese
International Friendly 2011
Germany vs. Australia

Preliminary: 24 fps (0.80 secs.)
Backswing: 8 fps (0.26 secs.)
Force Producing: 4 fps (0.13 secs.)
Follow-Through: 15 fps (0.50 secs.)

Preliminary Movements








Backswing/Recovery Movement



Force Producing Movement


Critical Instant

The Follow-Through





Goalkeeper - Shay Given
Goalkeeper - Mark Schwarzer
Goalkeeper - Michel Preude'homme
Goalkeeper - Robert Green
Goalkeeper - Kim Christensen
Goalkeeper - Punting
Goalkeeper - Drop Kick
Goalkeeper - Punting
Our Partners
Partner Clubs
 Storm S.C.
Copyright © 2013 Serious Soccer

Turn the Page!