Crosses + high balls  






As you get older, you’ll find that teams improve their crosses and that wing attacks become increasingly dangerous. By age 12 or so dead ball crosses are already a problem. Soon after, crosses from the run of play start to become very challenging for goalies.

Dealing with crosses is among the hardest aspects of goalkeeping to master.  It requires good technique, excellent communications, and sometimes a hefty dollop of courage.

Key points:

  • Always take the ball at the top. The goalie’s advantage is that he is allowed to use his hands. On crosses, if you catch at or below head height, you have no real advantage over the attackers. So come get the ball at the highest point you can – where only you can reach it.
  • Decide early to punch or catch. If you are going to catch, then catch. It’s dangerous – worse than useless - to try to catch the ball and ending up just flapping at it with an open glove.
  • Catch if you can, which means:
    • You are not under direct physical pressure from an opponent
    • The ball is at an easily managed height
    • You have room to jump
    • You can take it at the top of your jump
  • Punch hard and make good contact. A good punch should take the ball out of the penalty area. To do that:
    • Strike the ball hard – don’t just deflect the ball with your fist, make sure you try to thump it!
    • Use both fists in a two-handed punch. It’s twice as likely you will make good contact if you do this – but you must practice using both fists. It’s a different feeling, and a different action to strike with two fists rather than one. (as usual, make sure you do in practice what you plan to do in the game).
  • Protect yourself. Watching pro goalies, you will see that as they take the ball at the top, one knee is raised as high as it will go. This protects the goalie against incoming attackers – no-one wants a knee in the guts!
  • Yell! Hoe must let your defenders know what you plan to do. You have to shout for every ball into the box - "mine," "yours," or "keeper's"