If you are a keeper who I coach at one of our J4K of East PA Locations, you will have heard me on more than one occasion say “Keep your Eyes on the ball”, “Look at the ball when you Jump”, “Look at the ball once you have caught it”, “If you can’t see it, you can’t save it”, and “Keep your Eyes on the Prize”.
Why do I pay so much attention highlighting the need to look at the ball? Try saving a shot with your eyes closed, or with one eye open. If you can’t see the ball, you cannot make the save!! Try facing a shot an just as the ball is getting to you, close your eyes and see if it sticks.
If you do not have your eyes firmly fixed on the ball, you have more chance of making a mistake or dropping the ball. Seeing the ball into the hands on a catch AND looking at it for a second afterwards gives you MUCH MORE chance of making a clean catch. When I do handling drills at Just4Keepers of East PA, I will OVER EMPHASIZE the need to stare at the ball and keep it secure after the ball is in the keepers hands. On Occasion I will even make the keep yell “SQUEEZE” after they make the save to highlight fact that the ball is in their hands and they are giving it a little squeeze.
Too many keepers DO NOT watch the ball long enough, Especially younger keepers who are too busy looking at oncoming players or looking to rush to get the ball out to teammates, even before they have secured the ball.
STARE AT THE BALL ALL THE WAY INTO YOUR HANDS, STARE FOR AN EXTRA SECOND!! ON LOWER SHOTS KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN AND FOCUSED ON THE BALL A MOMENT LONGER!!