Content: Diving movement/position to cover maximum of the goal with your body in a dangerous situation
This basic position results out of a dive and is used in dangerous situations when a pass passes the slot. We see a lot of goalies who stretch themselves when they try to reach a ball (s. cover picture). However, this is not the most effective way to cover the goal. Arms and part of the legs are off the goal and the body is smaller than it actually is.
Especially for short distance shots where positioning is the key to save the ball, you should cover as much as possible of the goal.
This post shows you the paddling position. It is useful when you are close to the goal and have to dive to block a shot immediately or if you are out of the goal and the striker wants to overcome you by passing the ball close to your position. I guess all of us already made the experience that a striker passed you by tunneling the ball between our armpits while you try to bring your body in a horizontal position. This will be reduced by integrate this basic skill in your goal tending.
By the way, we call this positioning/movement paddling as the positioning of the arms reminds us of the arm position by paddling.
How to do it?
Initial Position (link), but it can be any other position too
We assume that we want to save a ball on our right side
You are in the initial position and your aim is to dive to the right side to block the shot
Pivot your right arm – the position of the elbow stays the same and your forearm is folded to your chest until your palm touches the left chest
Bend your upper body on the right side and move your folded arm close to your right side of the body down to the floor
Once your elbow touches the floor, slide with it to the side and put down your forearm on the floor – it ensures that no ball passes you below your armpit
Ensure that during the slide your shoulder is always under your elbow. It helps you to keep balanced and you use your body most effective to cover the goal
During the slide
Lift and fold your left leg to cover additional space of the goal
Fold your left arm and leads it to your head – arm and hand are covering additional space of the goal
Ensure that leg, arm and body do not hide each other – it would minimize the covered space
Elbow, shoulder and head are covering the first post
Elbow touches the post on the floor
Shoulder is above the elbow on a medium height of the goal
The head is above the shoulder and your eyes are always focused on the ball
Leg on the floor covers second post – it is slightly folded to give you a better balance
The paddled position of the arm on the floor saves you against tunnels at your armpit
The lifted leg and folded arm are covering the high part of the goal
Your popped up torso covers the middle part of the goal
Never be frozen in a position once you blocked the ball – the rebound is a new situation where you have to reposition yourself immediately
Lying on the side limits your movement why you should go back on your knees as fast as possible
Case 1: The rebound bounces to the middle of the slot and you expect a direct shot on the goal
Use your paddled arm to lift you up
The lifted leg goes down to the floor at the same time
Your other arm is always ready for the save – take care that you use the area of the full arm to cover the goal. Do not hide your forearm behind your palm – Never!
Once you are back on the knees, go back in the initial position – it helps you to move and react perfect in every situation immediately
Case 2: The rebound bonces to the side of the goal and you except a shot at the first post
Put the lifted foot on the floor – sole on the floor and knee in the air
Move your knee from the leg on the floor to the elbow on the first post – it ensures that you do not open the first post when you go back into a kneeing position!
During the movement, bend your torso forward – the lifted knee moves automatically down to the floor
Push your body up with the paddle arm on the first post - first post is always covered
Push your body a second time with the paddled arm that you stop to sit on your butt
Now you are in the final position
You’re kneeling balanced on your knees
First post is covered
Your right arm hangs down and covers the first post – in addition this arm position is very useful to push your body in a certain direction if the opponent does a pass
Your left arm is opened and covers the second post – in the balanced position you are actually in a comfortable position to react more controlled than unbalanced
Your right leg covers the second post against flat shots
Please always keep in mind that each movement of a striker challenges you to adapt your positioning. Do not freeze in a position, it eases the striker to pass you. Give him a challenge too and adapt your position again and again to his movement.
Big thanks to Mattis Tiger who allowed us to use one of his pictures as cover picture (Instagram: @malvaktsogat)