Attacking the ball when Diving

By Scott Housden -

Diving shape is a key component of making a successful diving save. Part of this is the ability to attack the ball when making the save. When a goalkeeper makes a simple save whilst standing with the ball shot straight at them at chest height, they are encouraged to catch the ball with their arms out in front of them slightly bent at the elbows and, flexing their elbows when catching the ball to act as shock absorbers.

Attacking the ball when diving is just as important.

Set Up
• Goalkeeper starts on one of the poles looking at the server.
• On the servers call the goalkeeper quickly moves to touch the cone behind.
• As the goalkeeper touches this cone, the server kicks or rolls (age and ability level dependent) to the cone that the goalkeeper has moved from (keeping the ball below waist height)
• Perform 4-6 repetitions either side.

Coaching Points

• Direct quick balanced movement to the cone is vital as it sets the goalkeeper up ready to attack the ball in a diving save

• Short quick lateral steps are required towards the cone whilst remaining in a low ‘set position.’
• Move both hands towards the ball when diving (this will allow upper body momentum towards the ball – hands, head & shoulders).
• Take a small angled step towards the ball (foot closest to the ball). This will allow a lower body drive towards the ball.
• Catch the ball if possible. If not, then open your palms to parry the ball with the palms to allow for a strong angled parry away.

Progression 1
Same set up as above however, the server can play the ball to either pole.
• Perform 4-6 repetitions.
• Be ready for second saves.

Progression 2

This time the goalkeeper has to move quickly to the front pole and ‘set’ in order to make a simple save, returning the ball to the server. The goalkeeper then moves quickly to go around the rear pole. As the goalkeeper rounds this rear pole the server plays a ball towards the opposite rear pole. Perform 4-6 on each side.

Coaching Points
Emphasis throughout these drills has to be on the goalkeeper’s awareness to attack the ball in the diving save using upper body momentum (both hands, shoulders & head towards the ball), and lower body drive with a small step and push off the front leg (lower body drive).

By Scott Housden
Scott is both a UEFA ‘B’ and UEFA ‘B’ Goalkeeping Coach and holds a Masters in Sports Management.  He has been a goalkeeper coach in professional football in the UK and Australia at First Team, Academy and Women’s levels.  He currently runs a Goalkeeper Academy in the Western Suburbs of Brisbane, Australia.

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