Wing Play - Dealing with Crosses

 

The true test of a top quality goalkeeper lies in his ability to deal effectively with balls that are played or "crossed" into the penalty area from the wings (Yellow Area).

Success will often be determined by how well the goalkeeper positions himself in the penalty area. By standing in the best possible position the goalkeeper will increase the area he can cover in front of the goal without greatly increasing the risk of having a goal scored against him.


 Goalkeeper Ready Position - Wing Play

The goalkeeper must be willing venture out of his comfort zone to intercept these "crosses". He can do this by either catching the ball or punching it away when he has no other choice.

When executing 'Wing Play' tactics the goalkeeper should utilize ' Ready Position #2 - Wing Play'.

The goalkeeper should stand with feet shoulder width apart. The hands are held in front of the body in a steady position to be ready to catch the ball.

The goalkeeper adopts an 'Open' stance. Meaning he is not facing directly square to the ball. He opens his hips up so that he can be aware of the area in front of him as well as the area slightly behind him without having to take his eye off of the ball.

This stance will allow the goalkeeper to move forwards or backwards easily .

If the goalkeeper decides he is going to intercept the ball, he must shout "KEEPERS!" loudly and forcefully to alert his teammates of his intentions.

 
Dealing with Crosses - Ball Position
 

The goalkeeper must take into consideration several factors when dealing with balls played from the wings. How the goalkeeper uses and understands these factors will greatly improve his chances of success.

The first thing the goalkeeper needs to consider is the position of the ball on the field of play. When the ball is positioned on the wings (Yellow Area), the goalkeeper must utilize his "Wing Play" tactics. The goalkeeper must consider "where exactly" on the wings is the ball positioned? The ball may be located in three general areas on the wings:

  • 1) Wide and far away from the goall
  • 2) Wide and within shooting distance of the goal
  • 3) Wide and at an acute/tight angle to the goal (close to the end line)

Where the ball is positioned will act as a strong visual cue to indicate where and how the goalkeeper should stand in the goal area.

 
Goalkeeper Tactics - Imaginary
    Line

One of the things the goalkeeper can do to ensure that he is positioned perfectly in the goal is to imagine a straight line running out from the center of the goal towards the penalty spot (Yellow Dotted Line).

The goalkeeper should always stand somewhere along this line when positioning himself for balls being played from the wings (crosses).

Once the goalkeeper is positioned on this line the only thing he must do now is read the position of the ball to determine how 'Far Out' along this imaginary line he should position himself.



Goalkeeper Tactics - Angle Play

To determine how far out he should stand the next thing the goalkeeper must do is imagine three additional lines running directly from the center of the ball towards the goal. One of these lines will run directly to the center of the goal (Blue Line) while the other two lines will run directly towards the goal posts (Red Lines). This is often referred to as "Angle Play", but it is used a little bit differently then what you might do if this were a situation where the goalkeeper was expecting a direct shot on goal.

Depending on the situation, the goalkeeper may use the Red Line connected to the "Far Post" and sometimes the goalkeeper may use the Blue Line running to the center of the goal. Other times the goalkeeper may not use any of these additional lines.

How exactly these additional lines will be used to determine positioning will be discussed in more detail below...

 
Dealing with Crosses Situation One
 

For balls that are:

1) Wide of the goal and not within shooting distance...

... in these situations the goalkeeper should position himself along the central line (Yellow Dotted Line) and the additional line drawn towards the far post (Red Line) should be used to determine how 'Far Out' to stand.

Where this Red Line intersects the Yellow Line is 'Exactly' where the goalkeeper should position himself in the goal area.

The goalkeeper can afford to position himself further out of the goal with little concern about being beat by a ball played directly towards the open net. The goalkeeper will have plenty of time to react to the flight of the ball and cover the net if the ball is heading there.

 
Dealing with Crosses Situation Two
 

For balls that are:

2) Wide of the goal and within shooting distance...

... in these situations the goalkeeper should position himself along the central line (Yellow Dotted Line) and the additional line drawn towards the center of the goal (Blue Line) should be used to determine how 'Far Out' to stand.

Where this Blue Line intersects the Yellow Line is "Exactly" where the goalkeeper should position himself in the goal area.

The goalkeeper must position himself closer to the goal in order to be able to cover the open net if a direct shot is taken.

 
Dealing with Crosses Situation Three
 

For balls that are:

3) Wide of the goal and at an acute/tight angle...

... in these situations the goalkeeper should position himself along the central line (Yellow Dotted Line) and several steps out of the goal. Because the angle is so tight, there won't be any additional lines that the goalkeeper can use to determine his exact position in the goal area.

He will have to call on his instincts and experience to determine what an acceptable distance for him will be.

The goalkeeper can position himself further out of the goal because it will be very difficult for an opponent to shoot the ball at the open net from such an extreme angle. A more likely scenario is that the opponent will try to cut the ball back towards the penalty spot in front of the net for a teammate to try and direct at the goal.

 

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