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A young goalkeeper saves the ball, pushing a shot away with the palm of his left hand.


This is used when a keeper is positioned three to eight yards away from the ball. To take up this shape, players make a split stance with their legs and get as low to the floor as possible. Then they spread their arms as wide as they can. To create a bigger surface area, facing the ball, rather than twisting their torso away from it, is key.  

Remember the 2022 World Cup final? Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez used the spread to make an outstanding save in extra time.

Imagine a crisp shot from just inside the box. It’s struck hard and low. It’s going away from the keeper and heading towards the bottom corner. They need to get down quickly to make a save. That’s where the sweep dive comes in.  

Watch the video to see what this saving action looks like.  

If the ball is hit hard and low around the keeper’s feet, and they don’t have time to sweep their leg out of the way to dive, then a foot save may be used. This is where a keeper uses their foot and moves deliberately to the ball to make a strong contact to block an effort on goal. Mary Earps used this action to make an important save for England in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final against Sweden.  


Parry save  

The parry save is an effective action to use if it’s not possible to safely catch the ball. The aim is to get one hand, or both, to the ball to push it away from danger. For instance, palming it out to the side of the goal rather than straight back into the box. Here are a few examples of it being used.  

Deflect save

Finally, the deflect save. It’s the one everyone loves to see. The save that’s most likely to bring huge applause from fans and to end up on highlight reels. It’s the last-gasp dive at full stretch to make a fingertip save to deflect the ball’s path. Check out how Liverpool’s goalkeeper, Alisson, used this technique to deny Everton.  


Understanding the different actions that goalkeepers can use to make a save can help you support their development. Working on these will give them a toolbox of actions to call upon during matchday. But it’s important to recognise that good positioning underpins what action is possible to use in the moment – and the effectiveness of it. 

So, to help your keepers with their positioning skills, challenge them to assess: 

  • where their teammates are 
  • where their opponents are 
  • what the attacking move looks like 
  • the speed of play 
  • if the forward is shaping to shoot
  • if their opponent has taken a poor touch. 

Noticing all the above is key to being in the right position and utilising the best action to make a save.  

To continue the conversation – and let us know your favourite saves in football – visit the England Football Community.