Test 4: Minimal water absorption
Top goalkeepers hold onto the ball in the most challenging situations, even when the ball is wet and more difficult to handle. World famous goalkeepers like Oliver Kahn and Gianluigi Buffon are masters of reading the ball’s flight and behaviour in all conditions – and that is how they regularly make seemingly impossible saves.
If a goalkeeper wants to hold a greasy ball, he must focus on three key factors:
- Ball behaviour
Sometimes the ball bounces off the ground at an unexpected angle after skidding on a wet patch instead of making proper contact with the turf. As a result, it does not sit up but slides low along the turf, making the shot difficult to hold.
- Positional sense
The most important thing is that you get behind the line of the ball as quickly as possible. To hold a shot that may move unexpectedly, try to get as much of your body behind the ball as possible. Then you can block or deflect the ball away with other parts of your body if the ball bounces out of your hands.
Modern goalkeeping gloves are made of waterproof material and offer excellent grip. Ideally you should aim to catch the ball, but that is not always possible when the ball is slippery, in which case you should try to deflect the ball as far from the goal as possible. Whether you punch, parry or block the ball, try to clear it away from opponents. If you have no other option, put the ball out of play.
The seven tests
that a football
has to pass to receive
a FIFA quality mark
Minimal water absorption
In order to make sure that players can challenge for the ball fairly in wet weather, there is a special FIFA test to measure how much water it absorbs.
In this test, the ball is turned and squeezed 250 times in a tank of water. The ball must not absorb more water than adds 15% to its weight for the FIFA INSPECTED or 10% for the FIFA APPROVED quality mark.