July 3 , 2007

Protect yourself.

Over the past few months I have noticed that game officials have been far too tolerant of aggressive play directed at goalkeepers. I have seen and heard of a fair amount of keepers getting injured simply because the officials are allowing opponents to take runs at them. I have watched players being warned and booked for not backing away from a ball quick enough or perhaps for questioning a call, but there are opponents who slide into a keeper with their

  studs up or attempt to run through the keeper while they are out stretched trying to catch the ball and the whistle does not get blown.    

Firstly, as a keeper, you must protect yourself at all times. Using proper technique when jumping to catch a ball or diving at an opponents feet to save a breakaway will help to protect you. Many keepers have heard me preach about the importance of raising a knee when going for high balls, but they don't seem to understand why. There are a few reasons to bring the knee up, firstly, to help you propel yourself into the air by driving your knee in that direction, secondly, it is used to deter an opponent from hitting you while you are extending for the ball and finally, if an opponent does hit you while you are in the air they will most likely hit your knee or leg and that will deter future attacks. As well, when you

  get hit and have the proper knee in the air it affords you better balance and will help you hold onto the ball when hit. Don't think for one second that I am promoting the fact that keepers should attempt to hit an opponent with their knee or anything else, they must protect themselves.

When diving at an opponents feet, the keeper should remember to keep their head down and the upper arm extended in front of their face as well as bring the knee into a similar position as when jumping. This will protect the head and the midsection from being kicked.

I believe that if the officials begin to be more intolerant of this behavior players, especially keepers, would be much safer playing this wonderful game. AS coaches or parents we should take the time to send our comments to the leagues


whenever we see the officials allowing any player, not just the keeper, to be put at risk. Perhaps if the officials realize that they will be held accountable for their action, or in these cases - non action, we will help to make them better officials. This does not mean that we should shout at or harass the officials during a game!

Again, I am not advocating that keepers attempt to injure or intimidate anyone. The keeper should try to avoid contact as much as possible as this will make their job easier. But whenever you do go for a ball you should always presume you will be hit and protect yourself correctly.


That’s it for now; keep the comments and questions coming. Until next chat I’ll see you on the pitch.


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Last Updated July 3, 2007