Monday, September 11, 2006

 

Rethinking the Restart, Part 2

So what reasons are there for overturning one of the oldest conventions in football?

Essentially, I feel that one of the problems afflicting much football at the top level these days is that the flow of the game is so easily interrupted. We all enjoy seeing a team getting up a head of steam, building up the momentum of interplay, solo runs, purposeful off-the-ball excursions and attempts on goal.

There is little question that, for a side under the cosh, a goalkick is a blessing. For a period of about fifteen seconds, the team on the defensive can slow things down, gather their collective breath, and attempt to grab some possession via the largely random head-tennis in the centre.

If goalkeepers were obliged to release the ball with a throw within five seconds of receiving it (once it has been returned from beyond the goal-line, or replaced), surely there would be less time wasted, and a greater chance for the flow of the game to be maintained.

The corollary is that, rather than hopeful punts upfield, attack-minded goalkeepers may be able to play a genuinely creative role themselves, as the more astute among them often do after receiving the ball within the penalty area.

We already see plenty of goals scored on the break after one team has massed around the penalty area, only to be caught out at the back by a thoughtful bowl out to a wide man, and a cutting counter-attacking move. How many more might we see if there existed the option to release the ball quickly and accurately following a kick wide of goal?

In my opinion, a change to goal-throws rather than goalkicks would be quite likely to produce a more fluent, entertaining gameā€¦and, perhaps, more goals too.

Needless to say, there would need to be some extra provisions to the rule. Players on both sides would be required to exit the penalty area as soon as the ball goes out of play; any delay from the attacking team could be punished by additional time for the goalkeeper to release the ball, while any delay from the defending side would incur the usual penalty for time-wasting (not that this is enforced too diligently at the moment).

What do my fellow tragics think? Laughable? Worth a thought? Or even a trial some time?

Comments:
While I dont mind your idea and see some merit in it I believe we should leave the game as it is look what constant rule changes have done to AFL. Kneejerk reactions to certain tactics or styles generally have a bad affect in the long term.

By the way keep up the good work I enjoy reading your blog even though you are a Sydney fan.
 
I can't see a problem with your idea mikey,

But say it takes 25 years for your idea to take hold and start the braying of commentators (like most reactive rule changes do), then another 25 years for FIFA to act - you may just be alive to see it implemented.

The father of the quick throw.
 
...While I dont mind your idea and see some merit in it I believe we should leave the game as it is look what constant rule changes have done to AFL. Kneejerk reactions to certain tactics or styles generally have a bad affect in the long term...

I agree on the kneejerk aspect (FWIW, I think the backpass rule, which I've always hated, was exactly one of those reactions), but at the same time I don't see a problem with any sport evolving, if there's due reflection and analysis involved. Football has undergone roughly one important change to the regulations per decade since the war, and IMO most of these alterations have been for the better.

...By the way keep up the good work I enjoy reading your blog even though you are a Sydney fan...

:-)

Cheers.
 
...But say it takes 25 years for your idea to take hold and start the braying of commentators (like most reactive rule changes do), then another 25 years for FIFA to act - you may just be alive to see it implemented...

Good old belated satisfaction. ;-)
 
When you watch kids games (up to say u14/u15), where goalkeepers or defenders taking goalkicks have not yet developed a big kick, the opposition players push forward and and mark up/press right up to the sixteen yard box. A consequence of this is that goalkicks often end up being as dangerous as (ore more dangerous than) corner kicks.

I imagine that goal-throws would lead to a similar issue. The throw in most cases isn't nearly as big as the kick (if it is you'll have a goal-throw equivalent to "hopeful punts upfield") which will mean that rather than the strikers waiting in the centre circle you will be more likely to find the centre backs there. As soon as that happens, the 50-50 balls won't be on or past half way like from a goalkick but rather in the goal-throw takers own half and we'll end up with basketball-inbound-like situations of whole teams running away from their markers trying to free up enough space to be thrown to.

Just a thought.
 
...When you watch kids games (up to say u14/u15), where goalkeepers or defenders taking goalkicks have not yet developed a big kick, the opposition players push forward and and mark up/press right up to the sixteen yard box. A consequence of this is that goalkicks often end up being as dangerous as (ore more dangerous than) corner kicks.

I imagine that goal-throws would lead to a similar issue. The throw in most cases isn't nearly as big as the kick (if it is you'll have a goal-throw equivalent to "hopeful punts upfield") which will mean that rather than the strikers waiting in the centre circle you will be more likely to find the centre backs there. As soon as that happens, the 50-50 balls won't be on or past half way like from a goalkick but rather in the goal-throw takers own half and we'll end up with basketball-inbound-like situations of whole teams running away from their markers trying to free up enough space to be thrown to.

Just a thought....

Yeah, it's a good point. I guess, though, that the silver lining is goalkeepers being more keen to release the ball quickly, i.e. while there are still players available in a reasonable amount of space to give the ball to, without being "marked" by an attacker.

As far as the "hopeful punts/chucks upfield" point goes, I reckon you can still (with some practice) get more accuracy over, say, 30 metres with a throw than a kick.
 
And the awarness of a top level goalkeeper you would assume to be greater than that of an U14/15's match.

All the same - it would probably lead to better attacking opportunities for both sides.
 
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