What is Ball Tracking?
Ball Tracking is explained pretty simple. Follow the ball from the shooters blade onto your body and where it goes afterwards. Basically, we can break it down into four steps:
- Release (of the ball from the shooters blade)
- Curve* (of the ball while in the air)
- Contact (of the body with the ball)
- Rebound (of the ball from your body)
Let us explain the diffrent steps a bit more:
To be in a good saving position we have to be square to the ball. This is why reading the release
of the ball plays maybe the most important role of all. To be in the path of the ball means for us to readjust to the players blade. Just think of a player running a semi-circle from one side of the field to another and taking a sweep shot in the end, while you adjust your positioning following the shooters movement with your whole body. A few things that can help you reading the release of the shot are: looking at the shooters blade, the position of his or her feet and the placement of their upper body.
Following the curve
of the ball shot is important, as it might be deflected by another players body or their material. Also, skilled shooters are able to add a curve to their shot and that makes it even more difficult to stop their shot.
Let’s be honest, usually you know with which body part you’re going to make the save. So why is it still important to read the contact
with the body of the ball? Well, the positioning of your body and body parts have an influence on where the ball is deflected to. As an example, you can take a look at the initial position
. As we lean our upper slightly body forward, shots in our chest bounce more straight to the floor than when we were in an upright position. Same goes for every body part, e.g. how stiff our hands are when you use them to save a ball. Also, you would break the chain of following the ball.
What happens with the ball after it hit your body is called rebound
. In the best scenario you make a catch, which is basically no rebound. In the worst case, the ball bounces of you and goes back to the opponents, giving them a new opportunity to score a goal.
Ball tracking is influencing the control of the rebound control. We have actually already covered this, feel free to check it out here
. To clarify, rebound control is about how you deal with the ball after it hit you, whereas ball tracking already starts before. Keep in mind that ball tracking improves your rebound control.
As a visual help we have made the following video: