Category Archives: High Ball’s & Crosses

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Retreat to your goal when you call away

I just watched highlights of the NYCFC v Chicago Fire game and saw an example of why you have to retreat to your goal line upon calling “Away”.

Like all good goalkeepers, Josh Saunders’ original thought is to claim the cross. Upon assessing the flight of the ball, he elects to call “Away” and gives responsibility to his defenders.

Goalkeepers should ensure they get back on their line so they can react if the defenders do not get to the ball first.

Having watched this spectacular save by Joe Hart, you can see what can be achieved with that extra split second reaction time if you stay on your line.

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Goalkeeper getting to ball first

Goalkeeper getting to the ball first

The ability to deal with balls played into your 6yd box is crucial as that area is so close to the goal.

The area up to the 6yd box and in between each post is the goalkeepers to claim – Even when dealing with traffic in that area.

Above is a video of the chaos that will ensue if the goalkeeper does not take control.

Here are some coaching points to help you get to the ball first.

  • Starting Position
  • Eyes on ball
  • Assess the ball and get in line
  • A Call of “Keeper’”
  • Take the ball at earliest point

The above coaching points are seen in the video below.

If the area is congested and you can not get the perfect High ball take off, you may have to take off with two feet in order to get as high as possible. As in the video below.


There are two versions of getting to the ball first.

1 – Ball in air ( Decision to catch or punch )


2 – Ball on ground ( Decision to scoop and lead with shoulder or dive at feet ) Both examples shown in the video below.

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Collecting The High Ball

This video was put together for my pupils – Sharing for all now.

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Dealing with Crosses

“It is the ability to deal with crosses that determines the good goalkeepers from the great.”

The high cross is possibly the most technical of all goalkeeping topics.

Please see some of the tips with some video.

Open body stance – This is the ability to see 3 corner flags.

Starting position based upon position of crosser – Easier to run forward than backwards. In swinger / out swinger determines how far out you can come.

Assess flight & pace of the ball

Ensure you are in line with the ball for good body shape.

Call of “Keepers” or “Away” 

Take off with one foot, land on the same one 

Knee up for 3 reasons. 1) Height, 2) Protection, 3) Space

Take the ball at earliest point, not highest

Attack the ball as opposed to getting under it. If you are caught under the ball, a two footed take off is necessary.

When going backwards, glide ( shuffle ) but keep shoulders straight

Eliminate balls going across the 6yd box.

Decision to Catch or Parry

Once you have caught the ball, don’t turn into your own goal as in this example.

Related articles:

Collecting the high ball

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Goalkeeper HQ Camp dates 2016

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