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Inside the 18 Podcast Episode 1 Spreading VS Compact Shape in the 1 V1

Inside the 18 EP1 Topic 1 - Spreading VS Compact Shape in the 1 V1 


If you have been watching goalkeeping within the past few years; you have noticed goalkeepers at all levels contorting themselves into all sorts of  pretzel shaped configurations.  This is a technique known as spreading.  


Unlike the traditional 1 v1 compact shape; spreading theorizes that by extending your limbs you cover more of the target . However is this really the case?   


In all reality ; you are covering just as much of the goal as in the compact shape; you are just preventing the shooter from seeing as much of the target.   So is this more of a mental or physical benefit? 



In my opinion;  it’s more of a mental benefit.  The compact shape; is an athletic balanced stance; which allows the goalkeeper to move powerfully ; both vertically and laterally .   When you spread you eliminate the “Spring mechanism”  of the trunk  and the elasticity of the appendages.  They are fully extended and merely barriers rather then actual instruments to parry , catch ,  push etc the ball.   This also opens up gaps that can’t be covered (between the legs, around the arms ; over the head etc. ) 



So you’re asking; well then why is this becoming common place at so many levels? 



The precise answer is because it works. To an extent.   Here are a few variables you need to take into consideration when working on spreading technique. 



  1. Body type.  Are you long limbed with a condor like wing span, or stocky and built like a bull frog?      This isn’t a perfect science; but the condor like keeper; will have more success in the spread; then the  bullfrog like keeper who will be better at  maintaining a compact shape and using their powerful center of gravity to push off and react at close range. 


2.  The situation.   Is it a  Long ball over the top to an oncoming striker putting you in a one v one down the middle?   Spreading is not your best option. The second you hit ground ; that striker is going to dance around you and slot the ball .   Better off holding a  compact (Open palmed)  shape and waiting for them to attempt to dribble or shoot past you.    


 Poor clearance bounces off a defender to a close range attacker inside the 6?;  spread like a starfish and cover that goal.   



3. The ability level of the player.  

Do you mean the level of play? No. I mean the “body control “ of the goalkeeper.  Ex.  You tell a U-9 to come out and spread in front of point blank shot , and chances are  they will lead feet first into a dangerous play resulting in a foul and penalty kick.  Did the keeper mean to be malicious of course not. They just dont’ have the coordination to properly pull off such a save. 



4.  Time.  How much time does the keeper have to react? Can the player take a touch or is it a one time shot?   If a player has room to gain ground; then spreading will open up channels for them to place the ball .    However if the player is in a tight space ; the keeper can visually eliminate the main target areas for the striker (corners; underneath the keeper etc) 



Bottom line; is just like everything in life. There is no right or wrong when it comes to goalkeeping technique.  There are just options and percentages of success.   Did the keeper go on their stomach when they made the save and caught the ball? Does that make the save less productive?  No   Were the chances of success higher if they had gone on their side cleanly? Yes.  Neither was right or wrong.  Just better chance or lower chance. 


It’s the same with the spread vs the compact shape. 



In conclusion;  as a goalkeeper  the most important technique is that between the ears. If you feel more confident doing a somersault and jumping into a flying star fish shape; then you do holding position and waiting for the player to take a bad touch; then despite the unorthodox nature ; you will prob more successful. 



Than again . What do I know. I’m 5’8 and shaped like a bullfrog.

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