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I see this a lot of time:


(source: dmcdn.net)

Let's observe the defenders: some of the them put both of their hands to cover their genitals (understandable), but there's also someone who put one of their hands in front of their chest, or on their nose like the second man from the right.

Why are those folks putting their hand in front of their chest? There's nothing to protect in their chest. The reason I asked this is because I saw this a lot like everywhere from school matches to the World Cup?

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This is done for the same reason they cover the genitals. The velocity of the ball can get very high on a free kick and if it hits a player in the face it can break his nose or even teeth. Also notice that many of these guys have had their noses broken before and had surgery to fix the broken nose. So they definitely don't want to go through the pain and process again.

Covering the chest is usually done before the kick. The player who does that doesn't want to block his own vision before the kick, so keeps his arm by his chest. So if the ball is shot towards his face or neck he can cover his head immediately, to avoid getting hit.

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