GOALKEEPING 101: CATCHING
Are you a beginner or new to the goalkeeper position? Have you wondered what the best ways to catch the ball are? Read on to learn the three different types of catches needed by all goalkeepers.
The three Catches that we will talk about are shots that are chest high or above- Contour Catch, shots that are off the ground but below the chest- Basket Catch and shots that are on the ground- Scoop.
Contour Catch is a simple way to say that we are focusing on catching the shape of the ball with our hands creating a pocket for the ball to sit in. Fingers on top and thumbs behind. Another word that is used often is to put your hands in the shape of a "W". We don't recommend using this due to the fact that it gives a poor visual. If your thumbs are touching and your hands are in a "W" you then leave a massive gap where we need the most cover. Balls slipping through the hands become a high probability when using the "W" shape. However, taking the "W" shape and shifting your fingers closer together will get us closer to the shape we are looking for. Once we have good hands shape we need to work on our arms. If our elbows are too wide then we create a force on the ball that is unnecessary. The ball should sit in the pocket we have created with our hands and so if the elbows are too wide it will force our hands inward on the ball and often force the ball out of our hands rather than holding on to it. The opposite will happen if we pull our elbows down too much. Elbows too close to the body will now start to pull our hands away from each other and start to destroy the pocket we created for the ball to sit in. Focus on relaxed arms with elbows not too tight to the body and not to high and wide away from the body. And don't forget about your shoulders. Make sure you are not leaning back with your shoulders, but try to stay upright and just slightly forward to help keep a balanced shape.
Basket Catch will be used anytime the ball is off the ground but below the chest. With the basket catch our arms not our hands will be making the save. Our elbows will come together with our hands very close or touching and the ball will again sit inside the basket we have made with our arms. The hands will then curl around the ball to keep it inside our basket. We want to have a big focus on our elbows as this is the number one mistake made in the basket catch. If our elbows are close together nothing can get through, but if our elbows pull away now we have a gap that the ball can find its way through and often find its way through our legs(GOALKEEPER NIGHTMARE). We also want our chest over the ball so that if for some reason we don't hold on to the ball our rebuild is left down to the ground and close to us for an easy cleanup. With the chest over the ball and our chin down it allows us to stay in the proper shape to receive the ball and watch it into our arms. A common mistake is for the chin to slightly come up as goalkeepers protect their face. When this happens it takes our eyes off the ball, lifts our chest and changes our shape at the last second before the ball is about to hit our arms. This is the leading cause to dropped balls on a basket catch.
Scoop will be used for all balls on the ground. There are two types that we will deal with in this category. Balls we can attack such as a slow shot, through ball, rebounds and balls that come to us such as a shot with good speed. The scoop can slightly change between the two types of situations. If we are coming to claim a ball and we are using the scoop its a simple process of elbows together, hands close to one another and getting finger tips under the ball. Once our hands go under the ball we can then scoop it up and into our chest finishing like a basket catch. We want to scoop the ball in front of us with a clean body shape facing the ball and the ball central to our body. We also want our feet open with one foot on each side of the ball and stepping down into a lunge to get one leg dropping behind the ball to protect it from slipping through our legs. Make sure when we drop the leg not to twist side ways but always keep your body frame facing forward. This is why we step forward towards the ball to drop the knee and we don't stop to twist our body.
You now know the three types of catches and are on your way to becoming an outstanding goalkeeper. Remember goalkeeping is a high repetition position, even if you think you know how to catch its a constant repetitive movement that is needed daily.