Dr Joost Dessing publishes research in goalkeeping
When facing free kicks, goalkeepers are sometimes hindered by their defensive wall.
New evidence, published recently in scientific journal PLOS ONE, shows that stopping a free kick in football is harder if the goalie’s initial view of it is blocked by a defensive wall.
Dr Joost Dessing and Theofilos Valkanidis led a research project to create a goalkeeping simulator using virtual reality that allows comparing performance for identical free kicks with and without a defensive wall being present.
Dr Dessing: “Our study showed that when the view of the ball is initially obstructed, goalkeepers wait longer before starting to move, which leaves less time to get in between the ball and the goal. Critically, this meant they did not get as close to the ball and that they were thus less likely to make a save.”
“We would not suggest that goalkeepers should never use a wall, but they should consider whether the benefit of blocking some free kicks outweighs the negative effects of not seeing the ball initially.
Dr Dessing adds: “Our research suggests that when free kicks are fast and thus leave the goalkeeper little time, the defensive wall can have the most negative effect. This is particularly relevant when the goalkeeper faces an expert who can consistently shoot hard free kicks that hardly ever hit the wall - in such cases, the negative effects likely outweigh the benefits of the wall.”
Further information on Dr Joost Dessing - Queen's University Belfast
Further information on Prof Cathy Craig - Ulster University
Further information on Theofilos Valkanidis - Queen's University Belfast
If you'd like to listen to Joost talk more about his research then visit:
BBC 5Live interview with Joost: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000qyb0 (1:26:19)
BBC Radio Ulster interview with Joost: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000qk4s (54:40)