Goal Keeping 10-14

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The GoalKeeper and What he/she needs to do: From JBGoalkeeping


 General Positioning of GoalKeeper

1) The Ready Position:

 2) Keep the feet moving. The goalkeeper should always be on his toes and leaning slightly forward.

2) The hips and shoulders should always be square with the ball-facing it.

3) Use these steps when working toward the ball:

1)  Shuffle step - this is used for short distances. The body stays square to the ball, the feet shuffle quickly but never cross over. Right foot stays on the right, left on the left.

2)  Crossover step - used to cover more ground. Turn the hips and run in the direction they want to go, but with their upper body facing the ball. Again, don't cross the feet up - right on the right, left on the left.


The goalkeeper must always try to position themselves on an imaginary line that runs from the center of the goal to the ball This puts them in position to get to either post equally well. The center line determines the side-to-side positioning.






The goalkeeper may feel all alone on the field, at times, but he also has the greatest advantage-he can use hands and feet. He must remember to have his "hands to the ball first".  The second thing is a keeper must have "soft hands". This means they must use their arms, back and legs to cushion the ball, absorbing its energy and allowing them to hang on to it. When reaching for a ball, the arms should be extended (but don't lock the elbows!), then the elbows bend as the catch is made, allowing the arms to absorb the speed of the ball. The keeper can also bend back a bit at the waist to help cushion the ball.

There are several basic types of catches used by soccer goalkeepers.

1) The "W" or Contour Catch

Contour Catch

The W. Contour The "W" or contour catch is used for any ball from about waist height up. The hands cradle the contour of the ball, with the thumbs and index fingers forming a "W" behind the ball (Fig. 1a). It's critical that the hands, especially the thumbs, be behind the ball – if a keeper tends to catch the sides of the ball, without the strong thumbs behind, they will let balls get through their grip and let in easy goals.

The hand position can be varied somewhat. For younger keepers or those with small hands, bring the wrists closer together, thumbs almost parallel, to get the most stopping power behind the ball (Fig. 1b). More experienced keeper with more hand strength should rotate the wrists outward, getting more of the contour of the ball and thus better control.

For balls high in the air, the hand position is the same. However, the goalkeeper must also take additional steps to ensure they can catch the ball cleanly:

Jump to catch the ball at the highest point possible. Keepers must not wait on a high ball in the air and make a basket catch at the waist! They must get to the ball above their heads. If the ball is not caught high, attackers can rush in and head the ball away before it gets to the keeper's hands. Watch carefully for this and insist they use proper technique.
Raise one knee, the one nearest any opposing pressure, as they jump. This provides extra boost for the jump, and also can provide some protection against onrushing forwards. However, a goalkeeper should never raise their knee with intent to injure or "send a message" to another player. The knee is primarily used to generate additional height on the jump, secondarily as a fender against collisions. It should be kept close in to the keeper's body.

If the keeper gets their hands to a high overhead ball, but the ball rolls off their hands and down, they may need to cock their wrist back more to get the hands in better catching position.

2) The Inverted Contour

Inverted Controu
For balls below the waist, the inverted contour or basket catch is used. The hands are again behind the ball, this time downwards with the pinkies together (Fig. 2). Here again it is critical for the hands to be behind the ball.
For very hard, low shots, the goalkeeper needs to ensure their momentum is forward and their weight is over the ball. Older, more advanced goalkeepers should use the front smother technique for these shots.


Ground or Rolling Ball Pickup

There are several techniques for picking up a rolling ball. For all of them, the keeper must get their hands all the way down, fingertips brushing the ground to ensure a clean catch.
The straight-leg pickup seems to be falling out of favor lately, and most goalkeepers use the knee-bent pickup and its moving variation. in fact, since basic footwork principles tell us we should move forwards to the ball, the moving pickup is probably used the most of any of these techniques.

Straight Leg Pickup

Bent knee Pickup

knee Down Pickup

Fig. 3: Straight-Leg Pickup

Fig. 4: Bent-Knee Pickup

Fig. 5: Knee down pickup

For any low balls, the legs must be kept more or less together and behind the ball. Opening the legs invites the "ole" goal right through the wickets - quite embarrassing for the keeper!

  1. Straight-leg pickup (Fig. 3) - the keeper bends from the waist, slightly bent at the knees, with feet behind the ball. Catch with the hands, then bring up to the chest. Use this save when there is no pressure. Watch out for young or not very flexible keepers who bend from the waist but cannot get their hands all the way to the ground. This is a recipe for missed balls. These keepers should probably use the following bent-knee pickup instead.
    Also, a keeper should not use this type of save when under pressure from opposing forwards. It does not allow enough ability to move out of the way if necessary, and puts the head low and in a vulnerable position as well. Use a moving-ball pickup, below, to run through the ball or out of harm's way, or make a sliding save as for a breakaway.
  2. Knee-bent pickup (Fig. 4) - keeper staggers their feet slightly, one just behind the other. Keeper bends at knees and waist, one foot beside the ball and the other behind the ball, catch with the hands and then bring up to the chest. Although the feet are staggered, they should be behind the ball and close enough together that a ball cannot slip between them.
  3. Moving pickup - similar to a knee-bent pickup, but used when the keeper is on the move towards the rolling ball. The foot on the goal side of the ball is placed beside the ball, the other foot behind the ball. Keeper is low as they approach the ball, scoop with hands behind the ball and not on the sides of the ball, and continue to move through the ball in one continuous motion.
  4. Knee-down pickup (Fig. 5) - contrary to what many young goalkeepers seem to be taught, this save is actually one of the least used because it restricts mobility. This technique is only used in special situations, on long, low, hard shots on uneven fields or wet grass. It gives the keeper the largest "backstop" for low balls that may be difficult to corral. Keeper bends one knee; the other goes down almost to the ground and very close to the other heel.  The down knee should not touch the ground and should not bear any weight, so that the keeper can easily get up and move if need be. Also, the gap between heel and knee should be less than a ball width, for obvious reasons.

Protecting the ball after a catch

Protecting the Ball After Catch
The proper position for protecting a ball after a catch is made is shown in Fig. 6. Both forearms vertical, with hands curled over the top of the soccer ball. In this position it is almost impossible to dislodge the ball. The forearms should never be held horizontally like a running back receiving a handoff.

Your keeper should not attempt to protect the ball too soon after a catch. Too often, keepers attempt to bring the ball to the protected position before they have made a clean catch, and end up bobbling the ball, or attempt to make a "catch" in the protected position and end up having the ball ricochet away from their chest or forearms. I cannot stress enough that catch must always be made with the hands first. In fact, if there is no pressure on the goalkeeper, it may not be necessary to protect the ball at all. If the catch is secure, the keeper should be able to simply hold the ball in the catching position. Catch/protect should be two distinct actions - in fact, they should be two distinct sounds as the goalkeeper makes the save - the first the sound of the ball hitting the hands, then the sound of the ball being protected against the chest.

Also, do not allow the goalkeeper to bat the ball in front of them and then catch it. They should be able to "stick" the catch in good catching position right away, using arms, back and legs to cushion the ball as mentioned above.