Breaking up a corner and cross kicks can be the difference in soccer matches

While it's important that forwards and defensemen participate in their fair share of drills during soccer practices, there never seems to be enough focus put towards ensuring that goalkeepers work on the skills they need to keep the ball out of the net. Sure, they can work on their reaction time and instincts while the offense practices shooting, but things like fielding high balls tend to get overlooked.

By going after and unsuccessfully fielding a high ball that comes in front of the net from a cross or corner kick, goalkeepers are opening the doors to a great scoring opportunity for the opponent. As everyone who loves soccer knows, the difference between a victory and a loss often comes down to one goal, so it's crucial that corner and cross kicks are broken up before the offense can get to the ball.

The goalie needs to figure out where the highest point the ball will be where they can grab it out of the air. Once they are there and the ball is approaching, they need to use one knee to drive themselves up into the air. With their knee out, they are also creating separation between themselves and offensive players who are getting their head on the ball.

When they catch the ball, their youth goalie gloves should form a "W" on it so they have a strong grip and won't drop it, leaving an easy kick-in for nearby attackers. Once they have the ball secured, they need to pull it down to their chest and hold onto it tightly.

Additionally, goalkeepers should have a designated word that they yell such as "keeper" or "hands" when they are going for the ball so that their own teammates don't get in the way.