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How to Catch a Football. Steps You Should Follow

Last Updated: 04.07.22


If you are a football fan and you want to get tips for playing a good game, we have written an article about football cleats and you can check it out here. Also, because we did not want to stop there, we have decided to make this tutorial on how to catch a football because we have some great tips that will make you a lot better at it.

In order to make a good catch, you have to follow some rules that are essential in order for you to make sure that you don’t lose the ball. After we talk about that, we are going to tell you how to position your body and how to move in order to increase your chances of catching the ball. So, here we go:


Your eyes

Rule: Never take your eyes off the ball.

Focus is a great skill that all athletes need in order to have great results and, even if you are an amateur and you aim to catch every ball that comes your way, you have to master it. Focusing on the ball when it comes your way is a great way to start a good catch. This is probably one of the most important things that you have to do.

First of all, if you don’t follow the ball with your eyes, you will not be able to make your body perform the right moves in order to catch it because your mind will be focused on something else and your eyes will follow.

Secondly, you have to put all the distractions aside and you need to always keep your eyes on the ball in order to increase your chances of catching it even before it reaches your proximity.


Your body

When you want to catch a ball, your brain tells your body what to do. If you follow the first rule of following the ball with your eyes, then your eyes tell your mind where the ball is positioned. According to its position, the mind will decide what impulses it sends to your body in order for it to catch the ball.


Rule number 1: Never catch the ball too close to your body.

Even if it sounds counterintuitive, the best way to catch a football is to grab it when it is away from your body. This is not due to the center of gravity, but more to the fact that your protective gear is like a hard shell that will make the ball bounce off and will increase the chances of you losing the ball.


Rule number 2: Always protect the ball.

After you have caught the ball, then you can hold it close to your body and protect it from your opponents, a practice that will prevent you from losing the ball right after you have caught it. You have to do this by bringing it to your chest after you have caught it and holding it there with both hands. 

If you have to run and it’s not easy to hold it with both hands, you should do it with one, but when you see your opponents getting very close, you should protect it using both hands if possible.


Your hands 

Rule: Let your fingers do the work, don’t palm it.

Similar to the fact that your protective gear makes the ball bounce off, if your palms are the ones that touch the ball first, you might experience the same effect. So a better choice is to use your fingers first.


The diamond shape technique

What you need to do is to hold your arms in front of you, spread your fingers, and create a diamond shape with both your thumbs and pointer fingers. This means that your right thumb should touch your left thumb and that your right pointer should touch your left pointer. All your other fingers should be in the position that we have talked about before, spread. 

If you manage to catch the tip of the football in this diamond shape, then your hands will follow the shape of the ball and the chances that you will not drop the ball will be increased.


The ‘X’ shape technique

This technique applies when you have a lowpass and you have to catch the ball. The secret here is to point your fingers downward while keeping your palms facing the ball. Spread your fingers and form an ‘X’ with your pinkies. This way you will be able to protect the ball and it will not slip between your hands.


The actual steps that you need to follow 

Now that we have talked about the basic rules that you need to take into account when catching the ball, let’s talk about the steps you need to take in order to make a good catch.


  1. Steps for catching a low ball
  • Follow the way the ball is heading and don’t let your eyes look anywhere else.
  • Bend over and put your arms down in order for your hands to be on the trajectory of the ball.
  • Use the ‘X’ shape technique that we have discussed when we talked about how you should position your fingers.
  • Hold the ball with your other fingers and protect the ball.


  1. Steps for catching a high ball
  • See what the trajectory of the ball is and raise your hands so that you are on the line where the ball is heading.
  • If the ball’s trajectory is higher than what you can reach if you extend your arms, don’t be shy and jump in order to reach it.
  • Use the diamond shape technique that we have talked about previously in the article.
  • After the ball is in your hands, clutch the ball with your fingers as hard as you can.
  • Protect the ball.


Ways to improve your catch

Most professional football players use some training techniques in order to help them be better at catching the ball which you can use, even if you are an amateur. If you haven’t done this before, you should know that these exercises will help you become better at it in no time.

You can take advantage of the time you spend doing these exercises and by practicing the steps that we have mentioned before, but also the positioning of your fingers, which is essential to catching the ball. So, every time you catch the ball while doing these exercises, do not forget to use the diamond technique and also the ‘X’ shape technique.


  1. The ball wall bounce

In order to improve your reactions and to make a quick catch, a good practice is to have a workout partner who throws the ball at you and you catch it when it bounces back. You should do 2 sessions of 10 repetitions.


  1. The clockwork exercise

This exercise should also be done with a partner that should throw you the ball in the following positions: 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock. They should follow this sequence in order for you to do the whole clockwise routine and get used to catching the ball in different positions.


  1. The side clockwork exercise

With your back turned away from your partner, they should throw the ball and you should catch it from your side. This will make you a lot better because you will be practicing a variety of catching positions that will improve your catch.


  1. Improving your hand strength

There are a variety of exercises that you can do in order to make your wrists stronger and to have a stronger grip. You can use a hand gripper, you can do the finger-walking using an exercise stick, and you can even try dumbbell hammer curls. 


  1. The criss-cross exercise

As we have mentioned before, the eyes are very important when you want to catch a football. In order to make your brain adjusted to giving commands to your body, you should practice the criss-cross exercise which will help you improve the coordination between your eyes and your hands.

This exercise is very simple: you should cross your hands and then your partner should throw you the ball in order for you to catch it.


Final thoughts

Now that you know what you have to do in order to properly catch a football, all you need is to go practice. The number one thing that you have to keep in mind is that practice makes perfect and you shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right on your first try. Find a partner and start moving.




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