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Inside the 18 Podcast Episode 2: Boxing vs Handling

Inside the 18 Blog #2 by Michael Magid of LAGKA 

Topic:  Boxing Vs Handling


It is been a questions asked by goalkeepers for decades; To Box or not to box? That is the question.  Despite my poor attempt at humor and  lack of grasp of iambic pentameter;  I will  attempt to answer this in the simplest way possible .  


1. Look at the situation.  Let me give  an example :


 A  young goalkeeper is  set up for a free kick outside his/hers box;  an opposing player plays a dangerous  ball inside their six as an opposing player makes a run towards it.  Does the goalkeeper punch it out or try to handle it cleanly?   Well let’s look at 3 factors. 


  1. What is the flight of the ball?   (is it driven, lofted, high/low?) 
  2. Are they under immediate pressure; (will the player make contact with the keeper; is there space between them; does the goalkeeper have an aerial advantage? 

c.  Is there pace, dip, knuckle?  (any sort of movement can prevent a clean hold especially under pressure. 


 All these determine whether you go for a hearty two hand box or handle it cleanly.   As a young goalkeeper; you need to learn how to ascertain these situations quickly and make a decision.  



2. The physical attributes of the keeper


a.  Are you a smaller; cat-like goalkeeper, a lumbering tall  giant, or a long limbed pterodactyl? 


b.  Are you faster; slower, or around the same speed as the oncoming players


c.  Are you a pogo stick 50 inch vert freak; or is gravity your worst enemy 


d. Are you a toothpick 100lb specimen that can’t box a nerf ball out of the 18; or are you 250lb hulk with stone hands but can bash the ball to midfield? 


This is where you have to be honest and use your strengths to the best of your ability.  If you’re  6’7 and a forward coming at you is 5’6  and your arms extend well above them; handling may be your best bet; if your  a rocket at  5’5 and the forward is 6’2 get right under neath them and box that ball clear.   




3.  The weather conditions


  1. Is it a dry spring day?
  2. Is it a humid august night? 
  3. Is it a wet and miserable rainy morning? 


All of these different scenarios are going to determine what your best plan of attack is. 



In summary;   that there is no clear cut answer.  Just remember that when you make a decision; commit fully to it. If you come out to handle;  go grab that ball; if you come out to box it; punch the heck out of it.  Don’t waffle; that’s when you get in your head and make mistakes.  


Keep working on winning balls in the air . Keep working on your boxing technique (one hand; two hand;  tipping away etc)  .   Make sure you have all these in your toolbox for when they called into play. 


The more prepared you are; the more likely you are to make that player think twice about playing that same ball into your box Mr/Miss beast mode ;) .  Good luck! 


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