Reaction with one or two arms on high and middle shots from 9 meters
I love sharing ideas, knowledge and experience, so I thought it would be a great idea to share one of my responses to one of many questions that coaches from all over the world send me every week.
This is the question I got recently about shots from 9 meters:
“I am constantly discussing with one of my coaching colleagues about saving high and middle shots from 9 meters. In work with young goalkeepers, I prefer to teach them to react with one arm to the middle shots from 9 meters, because I think the reaction on middle shots with two arms tend to come naturally. My colleague coach sees it the other way around. He says that he coaches young goalkeepers to react on middle shots from 9 meters with both arms and he thinks that reaction with one arm happens by reflex.
Both techniques are good, and they are good to be mastered, but how would you start, which one would you choose in work with young goalkeepers?”
Here is my answer:
Firstly, I need to clarify that (at least, in my coaching universe) “shots from 9 meters” are not only shots that come precisely and only from 9 meters line. To that group of shots belong shots that come from the longer distance, which are any shots from about 8 meters of distance from the goal line and more.
When it comes to teaching young goalkeepers to save high or middle shots from 9 meters-one of the most common questions for the coaches is: do we start with teaching young goalkeepers to react with one or with two arms?
Well, the most correct answer is as you already wrote: both techniques are very valuable, good and important to be worked on when coaching young goalkeepers.
The short version of the answer is: when we start working with young goalkeepers – it’s easier and more efficient if we start teaching them to react with one arm on high and middle shots from 9 meters that come in further corners of the goal.
What happens most of the time with young goalkeepers when they react with two arms on high or middle shots from 9 meters, is that they tend to ROTATE their body a little bit backwards, towards the side to which they are reacting. Then they end up going a little bit backwards in their reaction, too, and with that they are opening the saving angle of the goal they are trying to protect/save.
Another important thing when it comes to this topic is that young goalkeepers are a little bit slower when reacting with both hands on high or middle shots that come to the back/further corner of the goal.
The general rule that majority of my colleagues, (who are good goalkeeper coaches world wide) and I agree on is this: any high or middle shot that comes from 9 meters in the range, in the width of our arms wide spread can be saved with two arms.
To understand what I mean with “the width of our arms wide spread”, please put your both arms wide spread sideways and then start moving them up until above your head, and down until you get to your legs/thighs, that round space that you went through with your arms. For reference, please see the image below.
Usually, the shots that come in the range of the wide spread arms around our upper body, are the shots that come to the front post from left or right back (if the goalkeeper is properly positioned in the goal).
For better understanding, the situation in the image below is showing an angle for high or middle shots to the front post (number 1, purple colored angle), and an angle for high or middle shots to the back post (number 2, green colored angle).
When the high or middle shots from the left back position (just like in the image above) come to the front post corner (which is the number 1, purple colored angle in the image), then the reaction can be with two arms.
But when the high or middle shots from the left back position come to the back post corner (which is the number 2, green colored angle in the image), then the reaction should be with one arm.
In my coaching work, I usually always start working on saves of high and middle shots from 9 meters with one arm with my young goalkeepers. Then later, when they are a bit older (and depending on their skill levels + physical abilities of course), I start including reactions with both arms also.
In later stages of progression, and when they are a little bit older (this will be different for different goalkeepers, but if they had a proper and timely goalkeeper skill progression, then probably when they are about 16 years old), I will include combined reactions with one and with two arms.
What I mean with that is – I will design and create specific exercises in which we will combine and alternate reactions on high or middle shots from 9 meters to the back corner with one and then with two arms.
I will do this only after my goalkeeper is physically capable and skilled enough to perform properly the desired / targeted save movement that I want us to work on.
Whether you work on reactions with one or with two arms on high or on middle shots from 9 meters, the most important thing is to make sure that your goalkeeper feels confident and efficient with the reaction, after learning it.
But also, there is an important detail: please keep in mind that your goalkeeper will always feel uncomfortable right away in the beginning with any new technique or save movement that you start working on. 🙂
I speak about this topic, and so many other important details and topics about goalkeeper technique in my self-paced Level 1 video course.
The next group launch for my Level 1 video course will be on June 4th, so there are the last 4 days to apply before the launch!
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This session with questions and answers can be attended in live online, or it can be viewed later because I always send out the link of the video recording afterwards.
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