All keepers have weaknesses, and those often create nightmares. Mistakes can repeat, and even destroy careers. In this post we look at one of the most common – the daisy-cutter or “Yorker“. These are balls that keep low or bounce just in front of the keeper. In our humble opinion this is the most difficult ball for a keeper to cope with. Here we look at how to deal with these shots.

The low ball which pitches or bounces just in front of the keeper, is the nightmare ball. It’s often travelling very fast, with spin and swerve, and can kick-up at you when it hits bumpy ground. It needs a lot of respect, even if it’s just rolling quite slowly towards you.

This type of error is seen regularly, and here is a recent example from the promising young English keeper Dean Henderson for Sheffield Utd versus Liverpool.

He may be slightly unsighted, and the ball is moving fast, but the killer is the fact that it bounces just in front of him, making its flight very difficult to read.


Henderson seems to have good positioning, but his arms are too far apart


and he tries to scoop-catch the ball instead of killing its energy and dropping onto the ball. The ball slips through and between his legs, and rolls gently into the goal.


As with all goalkeeping, there is no “correct technique” or rule of thumb. There are many ways to safely keep this ball out. But here we suggest a few tips on how to minimize the risk of letting this ball through.

Lessons from Cricket.

We can see some similarity with the “Yorker” ball in cricket, where the bowler pitches the ball just in-front of the batsman, hoping to “get underneath” the bat and hit the wicket.

The technique for dealing with this ball requires the following;

  • make sure the feet and body are behind the ball,
  • watching the ball throughout its flight,
  • lean over the ball,
  • with hands firmly in front of the ball.
  • don’t try to scoop this ball up, it’s far too difficult
  • instead kill the energy with the palms of the hands
  • drop on the ball once it’s hit the floor in front of the keeper.

As Henderson found, can lead to the ball slipping through the arms and maybe a goal.

If you’re interested why it’s called a Yorker, see here– “The OED plumps for a geographical explanation, suggesting that it probably was from York, as a ball introduced by Yorkshire players. Some find this “really quite unconvincing”. In his Wisden Dictionary of Cricket (3rd ed., 2006), Rundell argues that the true story is one of deception; that the yorker is from Yorkshire, but only because “york” is a slang word for cheating.”