Youth: How Young Goalkeepers Can Get Better at Catching and Holding Shots

Feb 22, 2021

*This article is part of an educational series for soccer parents and players new to soccer*

Young goalkeepers are naturally concerned about stopping shots and deflecting the ball, but catching and holding the ball can be just as important. Catching and holding is a great technique to develop as a young goaltender. After all, even if you make a great save if you send the ball back towards your attackers, you can be setting them up for a rebound shot. 

In this post, we’ll look at some practice tips and techniques to help young goalkeepers learn to catch and hold the ball and how to improve this vital skill. 

Why Catching is Important

As young goaltenders work on their skills, they need to understand what situation requires what response. For this reason, young goaltenders should focus on catching and holding shots along with other goaltending skills. 

There’s one thing to remember. If the goalkeeper has ahold of the ball, there’s no way for the other team to score. If the goaltender only blocks and deflects, there’s a much higher chance for the other team to swoop in and score. Catching and holding also gives your teammates time to get into a more favourable position instead of rebounding the ball right back to your attackers. 

Practice Handling Techniques/Hand Shapes 

There are a number of techniques that can help goalkeepers get control of the ball and a few common catches that are useful to practice. 

The Scoop

This is a technique that works best for low balls. Adjust your position, so you are in line with the ball. Bend your elbows and use your fingers and palms to create a ramp for the ball to roll into. When the shot comes, scoop the ball up and hold it tightly to your chest. 

The Cup

This is useful for shots around the middle of a player. Position your body square to the ball and bend slightly forward. Position your hands with your hands towards the ball and your pinky fingers touching. As the shot comes in, guide it towards your chest to cushion the blow. Wrap your forearms and hands tightly around the ball to grip it safely. 

The W Catch

This is a catch that is useful when the shot is wide or at head height. Try to position your body so you can catch the ball in front of you. Keep your eye on the ball and bend your elbows slightly and raise your hands to make the catch. 

Keep your fingers wide with your two thumbs together to create a W shape. Wrap your thumbs and fingers around the ball as you catch it, and try to make sure as much latex on your gloves contacts the ball as possible. Think firm in the wrists and soft in the hands to absorb the impact and control the ball. 

Diving W

This is a technique for when the ball is too far away to reach it on your feet. Watch the ball and throw the leg closest to the ball inwards to drop down to the ground. Keep your hands together and move them at the same time to catch the ball. Keep your elbows slightly bent and catch the ball with your thumbs in a W shape with the hand closest to the ball behind it and the second hand on top. 

Choose the Right Goalie Gloves for Performance

Even with the right technique, proper soccer goalie gloves for performance can make a big difference. Performance gloves often provide finger protection with flexibility and superior grip through the latex palm. The best youth soccer goalie gloves will protect young fingers and provide padding to boost confidence and improve technique. 

If you are looking for new goalie gloves, Storelli has you covered. We carry men’s goalkeeper gloves, women’s goalkeeper gloves and gloves for training and performance situations. Take a look at our product page today.
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