December 30 , 2006

First of all let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year with many saves in the upcoming season. Because of the holidays I am a little late with this installment but I am sure you were all quite busy as well.

This week my topic is high balls. With balls coming in towards the goal the keeper has the advantage over the field player although I have watched a lot of young keepers give up that advantage.


As high as a field player can jump they are not permitted to use their hands like the keeper, this gives the keeper the advantage of the outstretched arms. This advantage is too often given back to the attacker because the keeper lets the ball fall to chest level to catch the ball between the chest and the cradled arms. Most young keepers know the proper mechanics of catching high balls and perform them quite well in a training session when they are unopposed. Although they may think it is safer to catch the ball against the chest, the opponent now has more time and opportunity to get a touch on the ball and put it by you into goal.

Once the keeper has decided to go for a high ball they must first judge the trajectory. As the keeper moves to the ball they must adjust their run so that the shoulders are square to the ball and the final step enables them to execute the one-footed take off required. With the head steady and the eyes focused on the ball the keeper takes off on the leg furthest away from any attack. As they power through the take off the keeper thrusts the arms and non jumping leg upward in one fluid motion to help propel them into the air. The knee of the non jumping leg should be flexed and pointing toward the ball. The jumping leg should remain straight while in the air and should become the landing leg as well. The arms should be extended with the elbows slightly bent and the ball, as always, should be received with the fingertips and at the highest point of the jump.



Some of the common errors that I have noticed in the last few months include:
- shoulders not square to the ball
- two footed take offs
- take off on one leg and land on the other
- knee not flexed and pointed toward the ball
All of these errors are easily corrected with proper training and allowing the young keeper to develop confidence in going after the high balls.

As a keeper you should work on being able to decide to and move to the ball with confidence. When a high ball is coming in and you call keeper your defenders should have the confidence to get out of the way and allow you to get the ball and the opponents should be thinking that you are going to get the ball no matter what.


That's it for now, keep the comments and questions coming. Until next week's chat.


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Last Updated December30, 2006