Playing Skinny & Over Committing to a Shot

My previous post talked about McQuin Baron playing skinny and negating his size by bringing his hands and arms up too high. I found another good example of this in the Japan versus Greece game.

The Greek goalie is another big goalie. Look at the image below and how he negates his size and wingspan. Japan is on a counter attack. The ball and the free player are coming up the weak side.

Water polo counter attack goal by Japan

Japan versus Greece 2016 Rio Olympics. Click Image to enlarge.

The Greek goalie over commits himself to a donut shot before the ball is even released from the Japanese player’s hand. The greek goalie brings his hands and arms straight up over his head leaving cross cage low wide open. Near side low too.

The Greek goalie needed to stay on his legs, keep his hands and arms wider and in a more neutral position, and then waited to commit to a shot as the ball is released.

Let the shooter commit to a shot. Stay strong on your legs but relaxed and watch the ball leave the player’s hand. If you commit to a shot beforehand you make it that much easier for the field player to read you and find the back of the goal.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments
Tommy - August 8, 2016

Check out the Serbian goalie in action. It might be just me but it almost seems as if he is swinging at every single ball thrown at him. I saw this in the Serbia vs Greece game and was very curious what you might think about it considering you talk about it a lot in high school goalies. I’d love a review on it!

    TWPG - August 8, 2016

    Thanks for the heads up. I haven’t had a chance to watch today’s games yet but I’m hoping to watch most of them tonight. My initial thought is the shooters are just so good and their fakes are so deceptive at this level that the goalie is doing whatever they need to do to prevent a goal.

    TWPG - August 9, 2016

    I watched most of the replay before I had to head out. I didn’t see the Serbian goalie swinging his arms. Most of the swinging I see at the high school level is what I would describe as a windmill swing, a locked arm swinging up on the ball. The other type of swing is more of a slap at the ball. I see this more with goalies trying to block a skip shot and it leads them to miss the ball bouncing up off the water. I didn’t see this either with the Serbian goalie.

mosaab badr omar - September 13, 2017

I believe that when he gets his hands up like this, the chance for the Japan player increased scoring a goal. I always tell my goalies to keep their hands in as much as they can try to cover the goal with their body and wait for the shot. Of course the distance and the position of the shooter has an impact but for most of the cases I don’t like the goalie to raise both hands. What do you think?

    TWPG - September 13, 2017

    Thank you for the comment and question.

    You hit the nail on the head. It depends on the distance and the position of the shooter. One other element I would add is the goalie’s leg strength. At the Olympic level, these goalies are so big and their legs are so strong that they can bring their hands out earlier and hold their body position longer.

    Holding a vertical blocking position with arms and hands out is a skill that all goalies need to develop. There comes a point when the goalie won’t have enough time to react to a shot with their hands in the water. That is when their hands need to come out and they need to get on their legs. Preferably holding their hands and arms in a more “neutral” position.


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