Soccer Goalkeeper Tips: How to Handle a High Cross

Be prepared to face an overhead shot with these Pro Tips on proper goal-saving technique.

Imagine you’re between the posts during a soccer match. All of a sudden, your teammates give up a corner kick and you need to get your defense ready. But you’re also preparing yourself for the big leap you’re going to make in the air.

You have two options: punch or catch the ball.

Erik Eisenhut, a Division I goalkeeper coach and trainer, recommends the first option. High crosses are one of the many scenarios that soccer goalkeepers will face during a match. These types of passes occur in the air, hence the reference to “high” cross. However, high cross attempts don’t just come on corner kicks; they can come on free kicks or during a regular scoring opportunity.

Your job as the goalkeeper is to locate the ball and make the catch. Insert yourself in the midst of the action and take hold of the ball, waving off any chance for the opposing team to score a goal. “Dealing with high crosses can be a great way to eliminate scoring opportunities before they happen,” Eisenhut says.

Pro Tips is here to help you train and prepare for facing high crosses.


Eisenhut says the most important part about making a save during a high cross is keeping in line with the flight of the ball. “When catching, be sure to jump, catch and land in three different locations as you move through the catch,” he says.

When catching the ball, do so above and in front of your head. Also, raise your knee when making a save during a high cross. This way, you can help protect yourself against oncoming attackers and your defensive teammates.

“Be sure to include a loud ‘keeper’ call, informing your teammates of your movements,” Eisenhut says.

Eisenhut acknowledges that building strength can help you improve your high cross jumps. Squats, he says, can be a great addition to your workout routine. Also, try adding some plyometric exercises to your training. Plyometric exercises can include broad jumps, lateral bounds medicine ball slams and multi-directional line hops.

Ready to add these exercises to your goalkeeper workout? Pro Tips has your guide to plyometric workouts and how to do a proper squat.

Remember to always communicate with your teammates when going up for a high cross. Lift yourself off the ground with urgency and remember to catch the ball with both hands. Use these Pro Tips to help elevate your goalkeeping game before your next match.