Claiming Balls Out of the Air

By Patrick Kasperitis -

Claiming balls out of the air is such a difficult skill. It involves so many different variables that the goalkeeper has little control over. We have to work with our goalkeepers to make sure that they are able to block out as many of those variables and distractions as possible and focus on:

  • tracking the ball
  • using good footwork to keep body in good position
  • going for and jumping for the ball with strength and confidence
  • Catch and hold onto the ball while coming out of the air

There are many exercises that can try to improve these individual aspects. This exercise will work to improve the footwork necessary to track balls in the air and look to catch them in front of any traffic. The focus is on a shuffle step that clears them around the traffic and allows for the feet to be underneath them so that they can load and jump.

The exercise is set up as below with soccer balls next to mannequins scattered around a grid that is about the size of the penalty area. Usually I go with 15 meters by 15 meters. The Mannequins are used to simulate traffic from players. These can be substituted with poles.

Claiming Balls out of the Air (1)

Goalkeepers will work in pairs and will move from mannequin to mannequin. Once they arrive at a mannequin one player will grab ball and other player will line up behind the mannequin. Server will toss ball in front of mannequin.

Claiming Balls out of the Air (2)

The focus here is on the shuffle step to get around the traffic. Then we want to see a good jump as well in front of the mannequin claiming the ball high and keeping the ball high until the ball is secure.  Stop as necessary to make corrections on body shape or steps because those are most important here as the foundation for the activity.

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Claiming Balls out of the Air (3)

By Patrick Kasperitis - Graduate Assitant Women's Soccer Coach - St Mary's University, SA United Junior Program Goalkeeping Director, South Texas ODP Staff


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