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STRIKING EAGLES SOCCER CLUB

PO Box 34,

Gilbertsville, NY 13776

E-mail rwingjr@citlink.net

 

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Catching

by Chris Ducar, SoccerPlus Goalkeeper School,     www.goalkeeper.com  

 

You're In Good Hands

Recently, I was perusing the soccer folders on America online. I came across an area called "sportsboards" and under soccer messages, folder #2 I looked into a folder titled "Keeper tips and training". The "hot" topic seemed to be how to better catch the ball. There were many theories put forth by self proclaimed experts. A couple people insisted that a particular brand and/or style of glove were the answer. Some insisted that supplemental materials, like the spray adhesive "stick 'em" be used. One of my all time favorites was spitting Kool Aid on to the gloves for the stickiness the sugar content would provide.

Unfortunately, all of the "experts" have missed the boat entirely. The ability to handle balls cleanly and consistently is not with gimmicks or glue, it is with the proper coaching of hand and arm technique.

The Vocabulary

There is a rational for how and why goalkeepers use their hands and arms in a certain way. If any one of these areas is neglected, catching percentages go down drastically.

The contour of the ball is round. It is very difficult to catch a round object with two flat surfaces. Therefore, when fielding a shot the goalkeeper must prepare his or her hands in a shape modeling the CONTOUR of the ball thus we will call this the "Contour Catch". The hands must provide a pocket for the ball to fit into comfortably. Many keepers do not understand why they drop so many balls. There is a myth that just by putting two hands up, the ball will stay where it belongs. Not so. There are micro technical considerations that must be addressed.

Hard hands/soft hands

Lets focus on the fingers or more specifically the thumbs. These two digits are the key to solid catching. Poor placement will result in allowing the ball go through the hands and off of the face (or worse, the GOAL!) Ideally, they should be about an inch to an inch and a half apart.

Next, the fingers should be spread wide and flexed. The initial contact should be with the tips of the fingers and not the palms. The quieter sounding catches usually indicate good finger tip contact. It is a great complement for a keeper to be told he/she have "soft" hands.

Conversely, when a keeper attempts to catch the shot and the resulting sound is as if someone had been slapped, that would be considered "hard hands" and needs immediate attention! In this instance, the hands may be too close together and the fingers are not prepared in the shape of the ball.

The Arms

The arms should be extended outwards, roughly but not quite parallel to each other, in order to meet the ball. If the arms are extended straight out, a keeper ends up resembling Frankenstein and will catch very little because it is hard to get the palms facing the ball. If the arms are bent close to the body, the elbows are pulled apart which in turn turns the thumbs down making it also difficult to catch consistently.

I make it a habit that at least 3 times per week, my keepers train with the weighted Kwik Goal Medicine ball. It has a wonderful influence on their consistency. If a particular keeper has poor hand technique, a med ball bouncing off their face a few times during the session will surely encourage better concentration and attention to detail.

Note: I will only use the med ball with those keepers who are 14-15 years and above.

 

Striking Eagles Home Page Up ] Goal keepers control zone ] [ GK Good Hands ] Goalkeeper warmup ] Keeper Wars ] Tactical Training for Goalkeepers ] Penalty Kicks ] Pressure Training for Goalkeepers ] Goalkeeper Training Games ] GK breakaway training ] Backpass training ]

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