Keep Your Chin DOWN

I don’t do a lot of “how-to” posts because it can be a lot of work and there’s many other places that do them in a comprehensive manner. So I usually take a more reflective, philosophical approach. But this will be an exception.

The media has made a lot about the controversial decision to leave Hugo Lloris in goal after he was knocked unconscious from a collision with Romelu Lukaku’s knee on November 3rd. Of all the possible injuries a player can sustain in soccer, the concussion must be the most serious. It’s easier to walk with a limp than go through life without the ability to think coherently.

In goalkeeping circles we call the play that resulted in Lloris’ injury a “breakaway save.” An

Lloris slides in high. Lukaku can't get out of his way,

Lloris slides in high. Lukaku can’t get out of his way,

opponent breaks through your back line of defenders and it’s just you, him, and the goal. Since the goal is only 8 feet high but 8 yards wide you have to get yourself horizontal to match the shape of the goal better. One of the keys is to get down quickly so there is no space between you and the ground. The other thing that’s important is to get your head low, lower than the knees of on onrushing players. Lloris got caught before he could get his head down, and that’s why he was knocked unconscious.

A key part of the breakaway save technique is to come in an low as possible. Take the largest last step you can, to get your butt and torso low. Then you’ll get down to ground faster because there’s less distance to cover.

Neuer is low, shoulder on the ground, head well below everyone's knees.

Neuer is low, shoulder on the ground, head well below everyone’s knees.

Next, remember to stay off your elbow. Landing hard on your elbow can cause a separated shoulder, also called an AC joint injury. But landing on your elbow will raise your head too and that’s when you get the knee. If you take a big last step and land on your shoulder and ribs, you have a better chance of coming out unscathed.

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