How to Dive as a Goalkeeper

Soccer goalie diving for ball

To stop soccer shots as quickly as possible, you may need to dive rather than run to reach them. Goalkeeping dives come in two main forms: the ground dive and the diving aerial save. Practice here helps you avoid injury as you land on the ground.

Ground Dive

Keep your body low to the ground with your knees bent. This maintains a strong position ready to spring off the grass and toward the ball. Keep your head up and hands out in preparation for a movement or block.

Watch the ball as it leaves the striker's foot. When you know which side the ball is traveling toward, lower your leg on that side and lean sideways at the same time. This gives you the correct knee angle to push off the ground. Push with the foot nearest the direction of the dive.

Stretch the arm closest to the ground right out in front of you. This gives you the longest possible reach toward the ball. Keep your hand spread wide and your wrist firm but flexible.

Watch the ball all the way through this movement. If you reach the ball at full stretch, push the ball out to the side to deflect it away from the goal. If the ball is closer to you and not too powerfully struck, clamp the ball to the ground and quickly bring your other hand on top to stop the ball from bouncing out.

Land on your hip and shoulder, not your wrist. This prevents any injuries.

Aerial Dive

Position your feet roughly hip-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees to keep your body flexible and ready to move.

Take one small step toward the side that the ball is heading toward and one short step forward. Keep a close eye on the ball as you move.

Push off with the foot nearest the ball. Lift your other leg up as you push off. Swing both arms upward to help propel you off the ground, and bring both hands up in front and above your face with the fingers spread. Your hands should make a rough "W" shape, with the thumbs almost touching together.

Get your hands right behind the ball to stop it firmly. Hold the ball and angle it toward the ground as you drop down.

Let the ball hit the ground when you drop down. Land on the side of your hip and shoulder, shielding the ball with your body as you fall.


Ask a training partner to keep firing shots at you at diving length. The more you practice, the more natural the movement becomes.


Practice aerial dives on a soft crash mat to get used to the landing position before trying it out on hard ground.

Never let your eye wander off the ball or you're likely to spill or miss the shot entirely.