Attack / Throwing Guidelines

Within Goalball these three words are used interchangeably and all describe the ‘act’ of trying to score a goal.

Throwing from a Standing Position

Throwing from a standing position should take the form of one fluent movement, consisting of the six key stages listed below:

Key Stages Coaching Points
1.  Hold the ball in one hand Ensure the hand is underneath the ball and that the fingers are spread
2.  Support the ball with the other hand The ball should be supported at the side or on top, by the other hand.  (If possible, this hand should stop supporting once the ball begins to go backwards.)
3. Step forward (with one leg) The leg opposite the hand holding the ball should be placed out in front of the body. Both feet should point in the general direction that the ball is to be thrown in.
4. Take the ball backwards The hand and arm containing the ball should be taken as far back as possible, without dropping the ball.The supporting hand should withdraw once the ball begins to go backwards.N.B. If an individual has difficulty in doing this, e.g. a child with small hands, then the hand can follow in support.
5. Bring the ball forward and release The hand and arm containing the ball should come forwards as soon as the peak of the backswing has been reached. Both knees should begin to bend as the ball comes forward to the point of release.
6. Follow through with the throwing arm After releasing the ball the throwing arm should continue to follow through.

This is very much like a very simple ten-pin bowling action.

To progress from this and in order to throw faster the player can build up to taking three or more steps before releasing the ball.

To improve the throw players should try to:

  • Release the ball close to the floor so that it makes very little sound as it makes contact with the floor so making it difficult for the opposition to hear
  • Release the ball near the high ball line so that the opposition has as little time as possible to respond
  • Aim to get the ball on court at the opponents end so the opposition has to defend every shot

To do this here are a couple of tips:

  • Either – the player goes back to the goal and stands with their shoulders against it to ‘square off’
  • Or – the player can feel the lines on the court to get the direction of the throw

  • Vary their shot by shooting at different positions; it is helpful for the coach to have a quick method of referring to where they would like the players to aim, for example by numbering the opponents goal, from 1 – 5, from left to right as the players face it at the beginning of the throw
  • Vary their shot by shooting from different positions. And refer to these positions by name of right wing, right pocket, centre, left pocket and left wing as the team stand facing their opponents goal. (the pockets are the small gaps between the players.)
  • And they can make the ball quieter by spinning it
Image of a Goalball player throwing
Image of a Goalball player throwing

Defence Guidelines

All three players in a team have defensive responsibilities and must try to stop the ball going over their goal line as it comes towards them.

There are three distinct stages involved in defensive technique:

  • The Ready Position
  • Forming A Barrier

  • Covering The Court

1. The Ready Position

The recommended one to start with is crouching on the toes with the fingers just resting along one of the lines of the court. This allows a quick transfer to the ‘barrier position’.   

2. Forming a Barrier

When forming a barrier, players should:

  • Stretch out along the line which their fingers were on

  • Have straight legs with one leg above the other

  • Have their arms stretched out beyond their heads with the hands facing where the ball is coming from
  • Aim to stop the ball with their thighs or midriff
  • Protect their face by tucking it behind one of their arms

3. Covering the Court in Defence

All players need to be able to defend.  With experience players learn to tell where the ball is coming from and where it is going to and they have to respond by putting themselves between the ball and the goal they are defending.

It is usual for the centre player to play the major part in defence with the two wing players playing a supporting role.

To improve their defence players should:

  • Try to be a firm wall

  • Aim to position the whole body along the line the fingers were on in the ‘ready position’, preferably straight. Certainly not banana shaped (if anything slighly saucer shaped), in readiness to collect the ball up quickly

  • Aim to position the hands in a catching position for the ball – this may be helped by the coach pushing the ball gently against the hands of the players so that the player gets the correct roundness and size of the ball
  • Aim to position the top leg over the bottom leg but not resting on it. It should be high enough to stop the ball being able to jump over the legs but not so high that the ball can go through the gap between the legs

  • Realise just how long the players are when they are in the straight defensive position to give the player a better chance of defending the ball
  • One way of teaching the straight defensive position of the body is to lie face down with the arms stretched out in front palms downwards, legs stretched out behind and simply roll onto the side while maintaining the relationship between the hands, body and legs.
Goalball player defending the goal
Goalball defence