Passive or aggressive? Spread or smother? Using body poses to understand goalkeeper technique

“When Ryan Beal played as a semi-pro goalkeeper in Hampshire, there were a lot of things he had to figure out for himself. If a through ball put a striker in one-on-one, should he charge out or wait? Spread his body to block a shot or go to ground to smother it? Outfield players had experienced coaches to teach them the finer points of their position but a goalkeeper coach at that level was rare. Data wasn’t much help, either. Beal got involved with football analytics while studying for a PhD and now works with two start-ups in the field, AI Abacus and Sentient Sports. But the event data he could get his hands on as a student only recorded on-ball actions and players’ coordinates on the pitch, not the body movements that a researcher would need to study technique. …”
The Athletic