Goalie aka Firing Line

A word association and disassociation game that puts individual players in the hot seat.


Students make a back line, with one student (the “Goalie”) standing facing them.

One by one, students “shoot” words and/or phrases at the Goalie. It’s the Goalie’s job to then fire a word back at the shooter that is associated with the first word.

Students continue to shoot words/phrases in rapid-fire succession at the Goalie, attempting to trip him/her up (to “score”). The challenge for the Goalie is to only associate with the word just shot at him or her, and not with an earlier word.

If the Goalie appears to have associated with an earlier word, or if he or she hesitates or stumbles, then the other players can shout, “Goal!!” Another student then becomes the Goalie.

Continue to play until five goals are scored.


To free the mind from notions of being clever or witty; to encourage a direct response to impulse; to put a player in the hot-seat to train his her performative impulses; to challenge and support fellow players.


Goalie is most fun when the Goalie is a team player—prepared, performative, positive and open to offers. This is why the game is sometimes used as “punishment” for players who have been habitually blocking, negative or resistant in rehearsal; it can serve as a wake-up call for the player in question and as a tension releaser for the group.


The whole game can be reversed in two ways: one, by challenging the Goalie to disassociate from all words; and two, by having one student toss words to the whole lineup of players. The game then becomes a “Red Rover” situation, where the lone player tries to trip up the line, at which point the at-fault player joins him or her on the other side. The game ends when the originally lone player has every other player on his or her side.