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The goalie has a very unique position in soccer. The goalie usually plays within the goalie box, and is the only player on the team allowed to use his hands and arms to play the ball on the field. He may only use them within the penalty box. The goalie's job is to block the shots the other team makes, and prevent them from scoring a goal.

A good goalie inspires the defenders, and tells them where to position themselves on the field. The goalie must also be able to make quick decisions. Such as:

  1. Where to position himself.

  2. Whether or not to attempt to take the ball away from a player on the other team who has the ball.

  3. Whether to play the ball, or leave it for another player on his team.

Catching the ball:

Catching the ball, without bobbling it, is a very important skill of goalkeeping. To be a good goalie, you must practice catching the ball in any situation. The first thing you should remember is to watch the ball at all times. Follow the ball's flight all the way to your hands. Catch the ball so your hands are slightly behind it. This will stop the ball from slipping from your fingers. It also helps to keep your fingers spread out when catching the ball. If your hands are too far apart, and are not behind the ball, the ball will slip through your hands and possibly into the goal.

As soon as you catch the ball, tighten your fingers up so you have a good grip on the ball, but keep your wrists relaxed. This will soften the impact of the ball so it won't bounce away. Whenever possible, try to get your body in front of the ball. That way, if you miss the ball, the ball will hit your body instead of going into the goal.

If the ball is shot chest high, catch the ball against your chest, then bring your arms around the ball to hold it securely. If the ball is bouncing up at you, lean forward over the ball and catch it, bringing the ball up to your chest. On ground balls, get quickly on one knee as you catch the ball, scooping it up with your hands to your chest.

Diving Save:

If the ball is shot to a corner of the goal, where you are unable to reach it, you need to dive and try to catch it, or deflect it so it doesn't go into the goal. arms out toward the ball. Try to catch the ball while your arms are stretched out. As soon as you catch the ball, bring it into your chest. The ball and the forearm

To dive after the ball, push your body off the ground, and face your body toward the ball, so your side is facing the ball. As your feet lift off the ground, fling your of your lower arm hit the ground first. As soon as you land, pull the ball into your chest.

This skill takes lots of practice. Start at first without the ball, and take little dives so you won't be afraid to hit the ground. As you get better, increase the distance, and try it with a ball. If you cannot reach the ball to catch it, use your fists to punch it away. When you land, use your arms to break your fall.

Getting rid of the ball:

You are allowed only four steps to put the ball back into play on the field (rules differ from league to league though). One way to get a good distance is to roll the ball out toward the edge of the penalty box, then run up and kick it. Since you are not holding the ball, the roll does not count as a step.

To throw the ball, put your hand under the ball, and then draw back your throwing arm, with your elbow slightly bent. As you throw your arm forward, turn towards your target, releasing the ball about a foot in front of your head.

To kick the ball, hold both hands under it, with your arms out in front of you about waist high. Keep your elbows slightly bent and take a step forward with your non-kicking leg. Swing your kicking foot up toward the ball, keep your toes pointed, move your hands out and drop the ball. You should kick the ball with your instep, trying to get it to go high and far. It takes a lot of practice to get the timing right, the distance and the accuracy, so don't be discouraged if you don't get it right away.

On a rolling ball, as the ball rolls to you, get ready to trap it. As soon as the sole of your foot makes contact with the ball, shift your weight slightly so you are wedging the ball between the sole of your foot and the ground. Don't put your foot directly on top of the ball, you may fall over it.

Last Updated: 09/23/2003