Soccer Goalie Punting Rules – What You Can Do/ Should Do

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One of the great things about soccer is that when you really think about it rules are not as restrictive. In other sports like American football, for example, there are very strict rules regarding the type of gear that you’re going to be allowed to wear or have to wear for that matter. Granted a lot of these rules are things that you want to follow in that sport to stay safe on the field. With soccer goalie punting rules, which is what we are going to be looking at in this article, you’re going to see that the rule book is very open when it comes to what you can do. 

Here is where we find our first predicament though. What you can do and what you should do are very different things. As with many things in goalkeeping though ideally, you’ll be able to find for example a style of punting that is within the rules and allows you to clear the ball comfortably. There are different punting styles that you can see on a pitch on any given Sunday be it in the pro leagues or Sunday leagues. In this article, I want to cover what style you should most likely adopt. Obviously, plus the reasons behind why this is the case. While letting you know the limits of the soccer goalie punting rules! 

Soccer Goalie Punting Rules – What You’re Allowed To Do 

When it comes to punting soccer/football, you’re going to be able to kick the ball pretty much however you see fit. If you want to pick up the ball and punt it standing straight up like you see many NFL punters do, you can do that. You can also pick up the ball and try and try and bend your body to the side and kick it with the laces of your shoe. This second option is what you see most pros do. The third option would be to do a dropkick. In these situations what you’re going to do is drop the ball, and let it bounce off the ground before you kick it. This is the hardest technique to develop for sure. You can also put the ball on the ground and kick it like you would normally or throw it out. 

So as you can see there are not that many restrictions. The restrictions that are included in the rules fall more along the lines of when you are allowed to pick up the ball as a goalkeeper. As a goalkeeper, you are going to be able to pick up the ball when an opposing player takes a shot towards goal. No matter how bad the shot is. If the opposing player is the last to touch it you can pick up the ball with your hands. Of course, you have to be within your own box to be able to pick the ball up. You can also pick the ball up when your teammate passes the ball back to you with any part of their body besides their feet. Also, if your teammate did not intend to make the pass back. 

Once you pick up the ball you have the option of punting in any of the ways that we talked about. You can also throw the ball out with your hands. If you drop the ball on the ground you can kick it normally. If you drop the ball on the ground though the ball is in play. Once you drop the ball on the ground you can’t pick it up with your hands unless someone else touches the ball first.

How You Should Punt The Ball

Now that we’ve gone over all of the things that you can do, let’s go over the options that you should take into consideration the most. As I’ve mentioned the preferred soccer goalie punting technique is the side punting option. When you use this technique the right way you’re going to be able to have more control over the punt. Remember that usually what you’re trying to do is make a pass to a teammate. A lot of times this is forgotten by a ton of youth coaches. When you have the ball in your hands the other team can’t pressure you. It’s a perfect time then to make a good pass to start the attack. Hitting the ball with laces makes the ball go further and not as high. 

The main reason why punting the ball straight up, like you see most NFL punters do, is not a good idea is because you don’t want as much height on the ball. Usually, when you kick the ball really high it naturally takes longer to reach a teammate. This is going to allow opposing the defenders to get into position to affect that pass that you’re trying to make. Going back to a previous point, a goalie’s punt is not just an opportunity to launch a 50/50 ball and see what happens. You want to be able to control the ball trajectory and make a pass with the intention of allowing your teammate to go on the attack. 

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Soccer Goalie Punting Rules – Box Limits   

I have another article about rules in the box. A lot of times people who are new to the game don’t understand why the goalie box is drawn out the way that it is. One of the main soccer goalie punting rules is that a goalie can only punt from within the rectangular part of the box. This is the same part of the box that the goalie can use his or her hands in. The semi-circle part of the box serves another purpose entirely. That semi-circle is just there to limit players in the event of a penalty kick. All of the players besides the penalty kick taker and the goalie have to stand behind that line.  

Really the only one of the soccer goalie punting rules that you have to follow is that you need to make all of the punts within the limits of the box. Technically you can release the ball from your hands and kick the ball in the air outside of the box. As I’ve said in another article referees are usually not going to be super picky about this rule. You see it in the pros more and more every day. Goalkeepers clearly punt from outside the box, but the ref just decides not to call it. It’s like those traveling calls that have disappeared from the NBA. 

What I tell goalkeepers though, is that running the risk of punting from outside the box just isn’t worth it. A lot of times refs in amateur games are way pickier with some of these rules than what you see in the pros. Just make sure then that you make the punt from within the rectangular part of the box. Remember that the semi-circle is not a part of the box where you can use your hands. As far as soccer goalie punting rules go, that’s pretty much it. You’re limited to making punts within the confines of the box. You have to make sure that you got the ball from an opponent or a teammate that didn’t pass it back to you with his or her feet! 

Is Punting Far Important?  

Having a goalkeeper with the ability to punt the ball far is certainly a nice luxury to have. That being said, most coaches are going to prefer to have a goalkeeper who has control of their punts. I keep coming back to this but remember that you’re trying to make a pass with your punt. That’s why technique is important. Kicking the ball on the side is not only going to give you more control of the ball trajectory, but it can also potentially make the ball easier for your teammate to control. Just like when you’re making a normal pass. You want to kick the ball hard enough so that it gets to where it needs to be. Yet give it that touch, to where it’s not too hard and impossible to control. 

The side-kicking technique isn’t necessarily an easy one to develop. That’s why it’s super important to make sure kids develop it really young. It’s certainly a coaching mistake in my opinion to allow kids to just punt the ball how they see fit. Most of the time they are going to want to punt it standing straight up and what you’ll get is a ton of high balls that are easier for defenders to deal with. Ultimately those high balls are not passes. Being able to punt far is certainly a nice luxury to have, but control is what you really want to have. 

Throwing The Ball Out Is A Skill You Should Develop 

With some of the youngest goalkeepers, coaches just want them to punt the ball as far as they can when they get it. This is because the nature of the game at these ages is just different. It’s a bunch of kids all running after the ball without any real positioning and naturally, you just want the ball to be closer to the other goal. If you want your kid to really learn the game the right way throwing the ball out is a skill that should not be overlooked. When they get to more competitive gameplay it’s really going to help out. If you can control your throws you’re going to be able to make great passes with your hands. Remember that this is what you want. 

In throwing like punting ideally you want to work on technique really early. Especially because the way that you throw a soccer ball is super unique. It’s not like you throw a baseball or an American football. You really don’t throw long passes in basketball that often for it to be comparable. Once you get the technique down you’re pretty much set for your entire career. Strength is something that’s going to come naturally as you age, or you can develop in the gym. That’s going to give you better distance on your throws. Technique is key, strength and distance can come naturally later in life. 

Goal kicks Or Punting, What’s More Important To Develop? 

Ideally, you want to develop both. While making sure that kids or even older goalkeepers understand that the technique is different. Now, if you absolutely had to pick … develop goal kicks first for sure! The simple reasoning behind this is that you don’t have to punt. Looking back on it, this is one of the soccer goalie punting rules. You don’t have to punt the ball even if you don’t want to. You can throw the ball out, roll the ball out, or put the ball down and treat it like a goal kick. The problem with doing that is once you put the ball down it’s live. The only times when you can kick the ball without any pressure are when the ball goes out on the end line, goal kick, and after a foul, free kick.   

Obviously though in training proper technique for goal kicks you’re covering more of the game. Since you’re going to be able to apply that kicking technique to other aspects of the game. Whereas punting is really a very limited aspect of the game. You can teach both techniques for sure. If you had to choose though, I would’ve certainly preferred to spend more time training goal kicks.    

Soccer Goalie Punting Rules Conclusion          

As with many things in goalkeeping, ultimately when it comes to soccer goalie punting rules you’re allowed to find what works for you and do that. In reality, it does pay off, in the long run, to get into the habit of a good punting technique. I say get into a habit because that’s all it is. It’s like a golf swing. If you’re older you kind of have to stick with what you’ve got and make it work for you. Ideally, though you’ll get started young and develop the proper technique. With proper technique, long and accurate punts are going to be a common occurrence. Particularly if you’re able to replicate the same motion on a consistent basis.    

The soccer goalie punting rules that you have to worry about are when you can pick up the ball as a goalie. In all occurrences, you need to be inside the box to pick the ball up. If the ball was last touched by an opponent you’re good. If your teammate passed the ball back with virtually anything but their feet you’re good. Even if they did pass it back with their feet, but didn’t mean to make a pass, it’s more of a failed clearance than using your hands. From there make sure that you generally punting within the box. Some refs are more lenient with the rules and let goalkeepers leave the box a bit. You’re really only gaining a couple of steps and risking a foul. Punt from within the box and don’t worry about a thing.