The influence of dive direction on the movement characteristics for elite football goalkeepers

Wayne Spratford, Rebecca Mellifont, Brendan Burkett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This study biomechanically quantified the movement patterns for six elite goalkeepers making diving saves to their preferred and non-preferred side at three different dive heights. Synchronised threedimensional kinematic and kinetic biomechanical data analysis found diving direction to significantly (P < 0.05) influence the movement patterns of the diving save. The non-preferred side displayed greater lateral rotation of the pelvis and thorax at the initiation event. These over-rotational differences were reduced during the time on plate phase with the thorax displaying no significant difference at take-off; although a difference still remained for the pelvis. These over rotations were subsequently linked to greater peak knee joint moments, lower peak ankle joint moments, less hip extension at take-off, and for the centre of mass (COM) to travel slower and less directly to the ball, as measured by the net projection angle at take-off. These results indicate that joint movements in the transverse plane at or before the initiation event for the dive for the pelvis and thorax are the causation for subsequent asymmetries. These observed differences indicate that there is an advantage in having prior knowledge of limb preference in an opposing goalkeeper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
JournalSports Biomechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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