Soccer tips to avoid handball

How do you coach your young soccer (football) players so they know the best way to avoid being penalised for handball?

When is a handball really a handball?

How do you tell if a handball is intentional and what is ‘deliberate’ handball?

Fifa’s Laws of the Game say a free-kick or penalty will be awarded if a player “handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area),” but it fails to describe what constitutes deliberate handball. This places the responsibility firmly on the referee.

Former English Premier League referee David Elleray said the referee’s interpretation depends on whether the hand or arm is in an “unnatural” position at the point of contact.

With young soccer (football) players other factors come in to play.

  • The defending player spreads their arms to make themselves bigger; or
  • The player has raised his arms to protect himself – especially if the ball is hit at speed.

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