For many goalkeepers saves with the hand or stick seem more satisfying than any others. Whether this is because the crowd likes it more, or just the simple fact that they seem more spectacular or harder to execute…who knows? In this tips section I will endeavour to give you some simple advice and suggestions of how to make those saves being simple or tremendously difficult.
Firstly, I will address what the basic requirements of making an aerial save. Points to consider when making hand saves include:
- Start in the attacking position (on balls of the feet, body weight slightly forward and hands up).
- Watch the ball all the way from the stick to your own glove or stick.
- It is easier to save a ball in the air if your hands are already in the air. This decreases the time needed to travel to the ball (it really gives you a head start).
- When making a save with the left hand it may help to rotate the wrist slightly to get the ball moving in a direction away from the play. This movement is only minimal but it can be very effective and should only be used with balls that are coming straight towards you.
- When making a stick save it is best to only move the stick in a vertical direction If you start to move the stick horizontally you then increase the chance of making mistakes.
When making saves with the stick it is a good idea to try and get your left hand across to try and cover as much territory as possible. If you start this technique at an early stage in your goalkeeping it will become second nature.
Making those Marvellous Saves
You need to practice diving. Diving is one of the hardest things to practice as you can cause serious injury to yourself if it is not done correctly with the right equipment. As many of you would know in a game when you make a brilliant save it doesn't matter how you land you simply don't feel a thing especially if you win, however during practice you feel every little thing even if it doesn't really hurt.
There are a number of ways that you can do this:
- Get some training mats or a mattress.
- Use a gymnastics foam pit.
- Add extra protection to your equipment.
- Diving into a swimming pool.
- Practice with soccer goalkeepers (good ones).
All of these suggestions will help you in gaining full stretch for those really hard high and wide balls.
As with other drills it is important to remember to watch the ball from when it has left the stick all the way to your hand, stick, leg or body. This may sound easy, however it is hard and does require a lot of self discipline and constant reminding of yourself to make it happen all the time.
Belief in yourself and that you can save anything is equally important in achieving great saves. If you are having trouble making these saves or believing in yourself then you may want to mentally go over the saves in your own head and see yourself making the saves over and over. This does actually work, if you break the save up into sections and work through how you will make the save.
Making Really High Saves
To make those extra special saves you need explosive power in your legs. If you don't have any power then it is almost impossible for you to jump and make the save. You can do this through a strength program which will incorporate both strength and power. If this is not available you may want to practice jumping in the air with your gear on. Or even jumping on a box up to 10 times in a row with a reasonable break in-between for 3 sets (make sure it is not a cardboard box).
Again, even with explosive power you need to make sure that you are watching the ball and making the right decision. If the ball is going out why would you want to try and save it and risk it going in the back of the net. It is good to cover everything, however, just make sure that you are not making spectacular looking saves just for the sake of it and that it is the best option for making that particular save.
Have fun and good luck!
Please note that OBO together with Rachel Durdin hold copyright over any material appearing on tips pages. We welcome the printing and distribution of these tips, provided that they are not sold, or used for financial gain. This paragraph must appear on all printed or distributed copies.