Be prepared to move [other players] by your determined run and jump, and always be aggressive. Polite goalkeepers may be nice to know, but they don't win matches!
There are a few occasions when a goalkeeper will not be able to catch the soccer ball. It still must be kept out of the net, of course, so sometimes the keeper must deflect the ball over the crossbar or around the post. For high crossed balls in traffic, sometimes the safest play is to knock the ball way from the goal area if it cannot be caught. These are more advanced techniques, and often not as useful for very young keepers (particularly parrying shots over the bar, where a small keeper is as likely to just push the ball into the top of the net).
A ball may be too far away to catch cleanly, but sometimes just a fingertip to the ball can be enough to send it high or wide. Parrying, or tipping, is the technique used to do this.
The open hand (heel of the palm or fingertips, depending on the save) should be used to redirect the ball, not the fist. Extended fingers have a few more inches of reach than the fist in addition to having more control. Don't let your players try to punch the ball around the goal - punching is reserved for crossed balls and is discussed separately below.
The most common use of parrying is to get to balls chipped over the goalkeeper's head. The technique is very similar to how a baseball fielder might play a similar ball hit over them. The basic steps are these:
Good footwork, from hip turn to crossover to power step, is critical to a good parry over the crossbar. A keeper should never back straight up on a ball over their head - it puts their weight on their heels and can lead to balls pushed into the top of the net, or worse yet, a bruised tailbone as they fall over backwards.
The technique for tipping balls around the post is similar to that for extension diving, except only one hand is used. Which hand? The closest to the ball. For low balls, this will be the one on the ball side, or the bottom hand once the keeper dives. For high balls, the hand on the far side should be used, as this will be the top hand when the keeper is horizontal.
To parry a ball around the goalpost:
Make sure the keeper goes forward at an angle when parrying around the post - the ball will not be caught, so a goalkeeper diving backwards will all too often just deflect the ball into the side netting.
Punching, or boxing, is used to clear away crossed balls that cannot be caught, usually in heavy traffic. It is not a technique used often, as the ball should be caught whenever possible, but can be very effective in allowing a keeper to demonstrate they have complete control over their goal area. If there is any doubt for a keeper that they they will not be able to catch a cross, it should be punched. "When in doubt, punch it out" (but remember this applies only to crosses, not shots!).
The proper hand position for punching is important for best control and for avoiding finger injuries. The hands should form a fist, with the four fingers forming a flat surface, and the thumb pressed firmly against the side of the fist but below the flat surface out of harm's way. The flat surface allows for the most control, as well as getting sensitive knuckles out of the way. Do not tuck the thumb inside the fingers, as this is just asking for a hand injury.
Punching can be done with one hand or both hands. This is determined by the direction you want the ball to go: If you are trying to send the ball back in the direction it is coming from, use two hands. If you want the ball to continue away in the same direction it is already going, use a one-handed punch.
A two-handed punch starts with the fists placed together to form the largest surface possible. The hands should start close to the body, elbows at the sides, and then explode through the ball, utilizing back and hip muscles as well, to drive the ball high, far and wide of the goal. Often a weak punch results when the ball is struck with arms already extended, so make sure the hands start from close to the body.
The hand takes the same shape for a one-handed punch as for a two-handed punch; use the flat surface formed by the fingers. Use a one handed punch to box the ball in the same direction it is already going: use the arm on the same side the ball is coming from, and punch in a powerful, compact motion across the body to send the ball on. Avoid a wide, looping swing as this does not generate much power. This should be a punch, not a slap!
|© 2003 Jeff Benjamin, all rights reserved|