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There are three key catching/handling zones that you will need to learn. Once you have mastered these you will be able to progress to more advanced catching/shot stopping exercises. The following require a great deal of practice to perfect. They will become a basic requirement of you and generally will not alter in the manner in which you perform them. They are:


 basics scoop intext


In this article we deal with 'The W' the first of the three catching methods; also known as handling zones.

To perform the W correctly you should already have completed the coaching session of 'set position'. You will use this 'set position' in this and other sessions of 'down the line of the ball' & 'into line of the ball'. First let's get 'The W' catching zone correct from the 'set position', the others I cover in later articles.


The W is a shape made by your hands on the ball as you catch it (see picture).This type of catch is used when the ball has been shot (at catchable pace) between your shoulders and a reachable position above your head.


The shape itself is created by the thumbs coming towards each other (palms facing towards direction of ball) to make a W formation, fingers slightly parted (again see picture). This method of handling a ball in the correct zone gives you the strongest possible grip and is the least likely to cause you dropping or allowing the ball to slip through your hands. Too much inversion of the thumbs or too large a gap between the thumbs will weaken your control and handling. Keep hands soft and wrists strong. The eyes should keep focused on the ball.


For beginners you might wish to try the first two steps to help you perfect and be confident with 'the W':


  • Get someone to hold the ball at your face height and reachable distance. In your 'set position' extend both hands to the ball and then look at your grip. Once perfected -


  • Have the ball thrown from about 4 or 5yds (acceptable pace depending on your age and experience) towards face area. Remain in 'set position' to receive. Keep checking your grip. Once perfected -


  • Increase pace and distance and change from ball being thrown to being kicked. Ball feed should now cover the whole zone of shoulder height to reachable distance above your head. It is important that your feeder is accurate on their distribution so that you are catching rather than retrieving missed balls. 'The W' will become one of your main catching methods and should be practiced often; in fact you will use this catch throughout your time as a goalkeeper. It is also used as one of the first catching warm-up exercises for training or a match. Once perfected -


  • You can now proceed to the other catching zone 'the scoop' or continue your practise of 'the W' by incorporating the sessions - 'Down the line of the ball' & 'into line of the ball'. Remember that each session requires continuous practise and should not be rushed or ignored before moving to another session.


TIP: 'Your ability to perform at a quality level on each exercise is more important than knowing them all without the skill or consistency'.


To proceed to the next catching zone select here 'The Scoop' or from main menu.

catching zones sml