Diamond vs W?.
Which catching grip is better? I know goalkeeper coaches who still teach the very outdated “Diamond” catch while most if not close to all goalkeeper coaches the “W” catch. Which do you use or recommend? I am firmly in the W with thumbs together, fingertips pointing almost straight up, tips bent so that the ball wont pass over your head. The W is what they teach you at the USC Advanced GK Diploma course, the USSF licensing and UEFA top goalkeeper license (B Pro-Portieri) although if a keeper comes to me using the diamond (thumbs and index fingers almost touching) and is comfortable and catches well, I will slowly try to adjust them into a W catch. There are a number of reasons I think the W is preferable, especially for young keepers and any goalkeeper coach that wants to force a keeper to diamond rather than W is mainly because has been taught wrong, because they have NEVER attended the diplomas or licensing offered in the US or Europe. Goalkeeper that claim that a W is a “mistake” then I suggest you stay away from them, they’re not following FIFA direction.
‘K-Position’ (knee dropping)
the biggest disadvantage of the ‘K-Position’ is that once committed to it, your movement as a Goalkeeper is limited, so if the ball hits a divot and changes direction you are already committed and will find it as difficult to adapt to another save. This is why goalkeeper coaches at the USC and at the USSF will give you a D- if during your goalkeeper session you force your keepers to drop a knee on the scooping save, all but the British will teach you to stay on your feet, we all know that the British have never produced a decent goalkeeper in 25 years and we wonder why!
This doesn’t mean that the ‘K-Position knee drop’ is truly bad, if used when completely behind a ball and that ball is shot at you very and I say VERY hard, then it can be used, if you want to waste time this can be used as well.
Another good reason we want goalkeepers to stay on their feet when scooping a ball is because it gives the opportunity of a possible counter-attack, simply by scooping the ball on your feet and re-distributing the ball to the flack as fast as you can. This is what they teach “COACHES” at the highest level today at all national diploma schools, so if your coach tells you that scooping in your feet is wrong, they yet again they have not attended an official goalkeeper licensing course, they’re simply guessing its the best way.
The ready position is the action taken to load the muscles and to establish a strong, balanced, and agile base just before a shot. This is done by having your feet shoulder width apart, weight on the balls of your feet, slight bend in the knees and back, thats about it. Simply because at that point the goalkeeper can keep their hands where they feel more confotable. Comfortably in the hip area or lower. Any higher is what they used to teach me when I was a keeper back in the 80’s, anything higher is dangerous when it comes down to dropping your hands close to your feet. So goalkeeper coaches correcting a keeper when holding their hands hip down, is very incompetent.
The chosen stance will help a goalkeeper maintain proper balance and keep their weight forward, so where the hands are located is not 100% mandatory. The shape of the keeper will appear concave and that is all that the goalkeeper coach will need to look for, the rest is the keepers job, leaving them to find the position of the hands they feel more stable with.
The video above is of my son, age 7 he has been a goalkeeper since the age of 3. I have let him chose his own set position and as you can see in the video, the position is hands very low. He makes amazing save, he has tried all set positions and this is the one that works best for him. Once again any goalkeeper coach that forces you to place yourself in a high hand set position is doing wrong, if you the keeper feel more coofotable with a lower position.
These are three point that have been brought to my attention from academy students that claim that their youth club goalkeeper coach is correcting them differently from how we teach them, not only are they teaching them wrongly, but they’re telling the students that the correct way, (the USSF and UEFA today is asking goalkeeper coaches to instruct) is wrong. This is damaging and should be addressed to your director of coaching or club board member.