Bumps Basics: Starting Position
Posted by: Brandyn Bumpas | Assistant Director of Goalkeeping
An educated set position is vital to being a quality goalkeeper. A quality set position can give you the ability read the ball’s flight from a player’s foot and make smart saves. While that may sound simple, doing it correctly in every game-play situation can be a challenge for any goalkeeper. To make a good decision you must structure your body efficiently. The placement of your hands, feet, chin, elbows, and palms are all crucial pieces to make sound saves. Let’s walk through some start position basics and work up to putting it all together.
Your feet should be placed at least shoulder width apart. There will be some cases where female goalkeepers need to widen their stand slightly to adjust for a wider hip placement. Bend your knees slightly to activate your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. You can explain this concept briefly by telling your players to sit in their stance as if they were in a chair. From this position raise slightly to add more leg activation to the stance.
For proper arm placement, you will want to extend your elbows in front of your torso. You can do this by placing your palms on your stomach with your middle fingers over your belly button. From this position, extend your palms out so they face each other. In this alignment, your elbows are able to move freely past your stomach area. Remember that your set position should always have your palms facing one another. With your elbows clearing your torso and your palms facing you should be equidistant to the majority of saves you will need to make.
Place your chin slightly in front of your toes shifting your weight slightly to the balls of your feet. You will want to have some lean towards the front of your stance but you do not want to be directly on your toes. Being on your toes causes you to be top heavy and off-balance. You want to be resting actively on the upper balls of your feet so you can be explosive in every direction rather than just forward. Lastly, be sure that your toes, chin, and chest are pointing at the ball wherever it is.
To engage an informed set-position all 3 sets must happen. Focusing on applying these skills every time a shot is taken will create good habits. Time will turn these sets into second nature building consistency from shot to shot allowing for tweaks and adjustments. Follow us on social media to learn more goalkeeping tips and soccer improvements with Rapids Youth Soccer.