Recently I received a great question from a subscriber about how they can attack a ball driven wide, low and hard toward their goal. There are many factors that can negate a positive outcome in the above situation for a goalkeeper. Some are physical, some technical. The following diagram shows how a goalkeeper should move when attacking a ball driven wide, low and hard from directly in front of the goal:
– The goalkeeper should always be in a centered position no matter what angle they are attacking.
– The goalkeeper should work toward diving at an angle of between 20-30 degrees to effectively attack the ball and cut the angle of the attacker shot on goal.
– Footwork is key with short and explosive steps before launching to attack the ball. A short and explosive step forward helps measurably in attacking the ball.
– Leg strength is critical to help facilitate neuromuscular power in the muscle to attack the ball more efficiently.
– Foot speed is also critical in helping to generate efficiency to attack a ball more effectively. This resides in utilizing agility specific training.
– Numerous studies have shown that their is an inherent weakness in the human visual system. Goalkeepers unfortunately can have a hard time reaching balls driven at a high speed as the eye cannot typically track a fast paced balls movement forcing a delayed reaction.
Getting to those hard to reach balls driven wide, low and hard need not be difficult. By simply moving off the line, with a forward momentum and typically attacking the ball at a slight 20-30 degree angle will enable the goalkeeper to be more efficient when attacking the ball.
What I have noticed with many of my younger, less experienced goalkeepers is that they tend to wait for the ball to come to them, and because of this delay they tend to move backward rather than forward. Moving backward, provides ample space for your attacker to score, moving forward reduces the likelihood of a successful attempt on your goal.
Therefore, we should always work toward becoming “attacking” goalkeepers. When a ball is driven wide, low and hard toward your goal, attacking the ball and utilizing a 20-30 degree forward momentum toward the ball will curb this type of shot effectively.