3 Goalkeeper Moves to Perfect for a High Ball Situation

Nov 15, 2021

Unless you love pressure, a high ball situation may be your least favorite moment on the pitch. However, maintaining your poise and making the right decision during a high ball challenge is a crucial skill that goalkeepers need to cultivate. It’s also a challenging one, but it all boils down to making the right decisions. There are four types of “saves” you can make during a highball - stick, punch, deflect, or catch. Of course, the trick is knowing which one to use and when. This post will take a look at these three moves and when they’re most appropriate to use against opposing teams. 

 1. Punch

Punching gets a bad rep - which doesn’t make sense. It has its uses. You should use the punch when a catch is too dangerous to make and a deflect doesn’t seem reliable either. You can also use a punch when there is a crowd of players and you need to reach through them to get the ball. The punch is best reserved for situations that put you in danger. 

With that said, you have to use the punch judiciously, sparingly, even. You should only use the punch when you’re in a dangerous situation. Using a punch under normal circumstances can lead to a miscalculation, and therefore, costly mistakes. 

2. Deflect

Deflecting the high ball is a quick, easy and effective way to make a save. For many goalkeepers, the deflection is the most sensible move to stop a high ball. Of course, there’s a method to the move. 

You should deflect the ball if it's coming to you at high speed or with a spin, since trying to catch it could be risky. 

You should also deflect the ball if it's played over your head but you can’t meet it in the air, or if it drops too close to the goal line, and tipping it over the bar is safer. You should also deflect the ball if it enters a wide area within the six-yard box. 

You can also deflect corners that result in high balls. In many cases, though, deflecting a corner high ball will be a natural reaction in soccer. 

3. Catch

A catch is a safe bet during a high ball situation because once the ball is caught, it ends your opponent’s attack. They’re especially useful during crosses or corner kicks. 

If you’re going to catch the high ball, it’s best to do so when the ball is directly in your path. That means it should be in front of you and at a height where you can easily grip it with your gloves. Of course, it should be above the heads of opposing football players. 

Good timing is essential or else the ball will easily slip away from you.

However, they’re not foolproof. 

Catching the high ball is difficult when you’re surrounded by a crowd of players. You can get shoved, bumped, and pulled (by the shirt), all of which can interfere with your jump. Of course, even a slight disruption of your jump can leave your hands too short of reaching the ball - which could be disastrous. 

Other elements can affect your ability to catch the ball as well, such as weather. Wind can alter the speed and trajectory of the ball, making it hard to catch. Rain makes the ball slippery and wet, so it can slip out of your hands. 

All of these factors to consider. 

Level Up for the High Ball 

High ball situations are challenging for goalkeepers. However, learning what moves to deploy, under the right circumstances, can help goalkeepers save difficult high ball shots. Coaches should incorporate the practice drills that involve highball moves so that goalkeepers can get more comfortable with them. 

As their comfort level increases, their poise and confidence will improve as well. Keepers need to wear the right goalie gloves. Wearing the most optimal goalie gloves can help improve their grip and protect the hands from injury when executing highball saves and to get control of the ball. With regular practice and a good pair of gloves, highball situations will become less challenging. And maybe with enough practice, maybe one day your training will get you to the world cups.

Need a pair of goalie gloves? Browse through our selection of goalkeeper gloves to find the right fit and style for you! 

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