Joe Hart's guide to all-round keeping excellence

There are many facets to being a top-class stopper - fortunately, Manchester City and England No.1 Joe Hart is here to help

“In these situations you need to be ready to make either a save-tackle or a save. The key to both is to be big, brave and keep your eye on the ball. The striker will try to put you off balance, but keep focused on the ball and when you see an opportunity to strike, go for it. Otherwise, stay big and come out to narrow the angle when you know it’s just going to be you and him. As you narrow the angle, get lower and wider, and keep watching the ball: you always need to be ready for the shot.”

“Every time you get the ball in your hands, sprint to the edge of the box and go from there. Take your time. First, you’ve got to find somebody who’s free so you don’t put your team on the back foot, and make eye contact with the player you’re aiming for. You want to get the ball wide and into space for quick attackers and if you’ve big, strong strikers, you want to be hitting them so they can bring the ball down and play. To improve your kicking, take a touch – but only if you have time – and practise with both feet.” 

More after the break

“Sometimes you’ve got no time – you’ve just got to keep the ball out of the net – but other times you need to be aware of your position in the goal to make the save. You also need to be aware of what’s around you to determine whether you need to just keep the ball out or strategically push it somewhere. If the shot is low, go with your lower arm; if it’s heading for the top corner, you may need to use your top hand. The key is to try and be ‘set’ when the player is striking the ball.”

“First, be confident: convince yourself that you know from the penalty taker’s body language exactly where he’s going to put it, and present that image that you know. I want to make them have second thoughts about where they’re going to put it. I don’t like to move on my line – I like to be set and ready to move where I’ve decided they’re going to put it – but I might throw in a quick shoulder movement. Angle to go one way and go the other or make it look like you’re going early one way then quickly move back the other.”

“Keep your eye on the ball at all times – you have to be ready for anything. Line the wall up with the second man from the end in a line with the near post and the ball. I like to be three or four yards off my line and light on my toes, with my knees slightly bent so I’m ready to spring, but staying as big as possible at the same time. Know where you are in the goal before the shot is taken, and stay still for as long as possible in case the ball changes direction or takes a deflection.”

Commanding your box
“It’s key that everyone knows their jobs before the start of the game – I don’t believe in barking and screaming at people. When it comes to collecting the ball, arrive as late and as strong as possible, so you reach the ball at the height of your leap and at top speed. You’ve got to keep your eye on the ball while being aware of the opposition’s challenges. If you can catch the ball, it relieves pressure on your team-mates, but you can’t be stupid – if there’s a big challenge coming in, punch it instead."

Also see:
Joe Hart: Positioning for direct free-kicks
Joe Hart: How to win one-on-ones
Joe Hart: Positioning at corners
Off-season training for goalkeepers
Save like Joe Hart
Joe Hart: 5 foods I can't live without

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