Saturday, 9 March 2013

How Goalie Defends Against a Fast Break on the Ball

As a goalie confronted with a fast break, your actions will ultimately determine the outcome. An opponent dribbling the ball to the goal on a one on one fast break will have only the goalie to beat to score. A goalie's actions will either deter or aid the ball handler’s chances of scoring.
    There are two ways for the goalie to prevent a goal. The first way is to block the ball handler's shot and the second way is to attack the ball handler and take the ball away.
    During a fast break, the goalie is most vulnerable to being scored on if he remains standing on the goal line. In this position, the goalie doesn't challenge the ball handler, and he allows the ball handler time to aim and shoot uncontested at a large area of the goal. The instant there is a fast break the goalie must come off his line and cut down the shooter's angle. As the goalie approaches the ball handler, the open goal area becomes smaller and smaller to the shooter. (Refer to the article Goalie’s Positioning to Reduce a Shooter’s Angle.)
    As a goalie, when you come off your line, crouch down for balance and spread your arms wide to cover a lot of area. Stay on the balls of your feet and lean your upper body forward so you are agile to dive in either direction should there be a shot.
    To take the ball from the ball-handler you will need to advance forward to a position that allows you to pounce on the ball when the opportunity arises. Approach the ball by walking forward cautiously to position yourself. When you are in striking distance, sprint forward and pounce on the ball the moment the ball handler pushes the ball forward ahead off his foot
    You never want to sprint to an offender located a considerably distance away from you because he will notice your movements and kick it by you before you are close enough to cut down his angle or even challenge him for the ball. Also if you sprint too far from the goal, the ball handler will notice your position and chip it over your head.

    The key is walking forward instead of running forward into a position which allows you to challenge the ball handler. (FIGURE 1) This slow forward walking advancement does not alarm or allow him to detect your forward movement. If you run forward, the ball handler will notice you approaching and feel threatened. He will shoot the ball early before you can even reach him and cut down his angle, and as a result he will have more time to prepare for a shot. But by walking forward, your slow but steady progression will not be perceived by him. He will only be aware of his own blazing speed heading towards the goal. With the both of you advancing, he will still only take into account his number of steps it takes to reach you. He isn’t aware that you also are advancing and cutting down the number of steps. When he sees six steps between you two, he isn’t aware that by the time he takes two steps along with your two steps that you are in position to attack the ball. By the time the ball handler becomes aware of your advancement, it is too late and you are in position to attack the ball. At this point the moment he pushes the ball ahead off his foot to dribble, spring forward and pounce on the ball grabbing it with your hands. (Refer to the article Goalie with information on how to protect your trunk and face with your hands, arms, and legs when going down to grab a ball.) Wait before pouncing on the ball until the ball handler pushes it forward off his foot. Dribbling is no more than pushing the ball ahead off your foot and catching up to it. So spring forward the moment he pushes the ball ahead off his foot. Never rush forward and alert the ball-handler of your approach when the ball is on his foot. This will give him the opportunity to kick or slip the ball under you as you go down to the ground to grab the ball off his foot.

    To pounce on the ball your feet must shade to one side of the ball. (FIGURE 2) Then you will need to drop down on your closest buttocks to the ball while your upper body leans over sideways in the path of the ball. Your hands, arms, stomach, and chest should block the ball from getting past you.

    Position your hands around face height to your body while you are falling sideways to grab the ball. (FIGURE 3) As you are falling, reach and position your bottom hand and forearm to lie across the ground to keep the ball from rolling forward while the top hand and arm smothers over top of the ball. Both hands should be on the ball.

    Note the hands are positioned to protect your face, the forearms are positioned to protect the middle and upper part of your trunk and the top leg is bent and lifted so the knee and shin can protect the bottom part of your trunk. (FIGURE 4) These hands, arms, and leg position aid to protect you especially when the ball handler is rushing uncontrollably at you while you are lying helplessly on the ground.

    As the goalie, when you start to drop down to the ground on your buttocks, be aware that the ball handler can slip the ball under you at this time. This is why you want to time your attack so that the ball is pushed out ahead of your opponent and not controlled on his foot. Remember, the ball-handler can't shoot or fake the ball by you unless it is on his foot.

   Note, every offensive player dribbling the ball at full speed to the goal will experience a rush of adrenaline and push the ball a step or two too far ahead of him. As the goalie you are looking for this opportunity to rush forward and pounce on an easy ball. (FIGURE 2) When this opportunity becomes available, move fast and sprint forward furiously to take advantage of the situation because the ball handler will quickly catch up to the ball and control it again.

    Many ball handlers during the start of their fast break become overly confident because of the enormous distance between themselves and the goalie. Without any immediate threat the ball handlers will increase their speed to reach the goal quicker. As a result they will begin to push the ball too far ahead of themselves and become vulnerable to your undetected advancement.

    Remember, as a goalie advancing towards the ball handler, immediately begin assessing the ball handler's forward progression by timing his touches on the ball, and how far ahead the ball rolls off of his foot.
    Many times an opposing team will kick the ball way ahead of the field to a lone teammate up front for a one on one fast break with you on your goal. If you can reach the ball first, run out of your eighteen yard box and boot is up field preferably to a teammate or out of bounds so your teammates have time to get back and form a defense in front of the ball. You never want a one on one with you and the ball handler challenging your goal. It is better to run out of your goal and kick the ball up or out and let your teammates get back and help you on defense than for you to remain in your goal and allow the opposing player to reach the ball first and come attack your goal. Never sprint way out and leave your goal unprotected unless you can reach the ball first and kick the ball for safety. Make sure your kick allows you time to get back in the goal as well as your teammates to get back on defense. You don’t want to make a kick where the other team wins back the ball while you are away from your undefended goal. Here they can just loft the ball into the back of your unprotected net.
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