Why Do Soccer Players Raise Their Hands – 9 Reasons Explained!

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Soccer games and hand-raising have an everlasting relationship. You must have seen soccer players raising their hands after different moves. Well, is it a tactic, or is it a game requirement? The answer is,

Soccer players raise their hands to communicate with their team members for coordination and tactic signaling or appeal to the referee or ask for attention. They also do it to show frustration, happiness, or respect, or as a cultural or personal expression. All soccer players pre-decide the hand signals during practice sessions.

You can get the best experience of spectating a soccer game after learning why players raise their hands. Hand raise after a foul or goal, every gesture has its own meaning. So, let’s get started and learn why soccer players raise their hands!

Why Do Soccer Players Raise Their Hands? 9 Possible Reasons

As an avid soccer fan, you must have seen players raising their hands differently during a game.

Sometimes it is confusing to understand why the player is making such hand gestures. But no worries, as we have discussed all the possible reasons why soccer players raise their hands.

These reasons behind hand raising include:

1. Celebratory Hand-Raising

Ever played soccer? Then you must know how amazing of a feeling it is when you score a goal. The uncanny rush of happiness throughout your body makes you raise your hands. That’s exactly what soccer players do in a game.

Many soccer players raise both their hands out of excitement after scoring a goal. It isn’t a tactic or a signal. It is simply our body’s natural response to overwhelming joy.

There must have been times when you got something you badly wanted, such as admission to your favorite institution or your favorite phone as a birthday gift. Surely, many of you raised your hands in the air due to immense joy. 

The players raise their hands after scoring a goal as a sign of gratitude and to show everyone how proud they are of their goal. So, it is a cute gesture many soccer players show during a game.

2. Communication and Coordination

Players from one team are spread around the whole field during a game. It isn’t possible for the team members to rush to each other to communicate after every move. So, hand signaling is an easier way for soccer players to communicate with their team members.

For example, soccer players throw their hands in the air before taking a corner. It is one of the most commonly used hand signals in soccer.

The purpose of these hand signals is to inform the other team members about the kind of corner kick the player is going for. Kickers also raise their hands during soccer, signaling their teammates that they will kick.

During practice sessions, the players decide what each hand gesture means. For example, left hand for a corner to 1st post. Another example is when a soccer player throws their arms straight up during a run play. This gesture indicates that the player is available for a pass. 

3. Appealing to the Referee

Another common reason soccer players raise their hands is to appeal to the referee for various reasons.

Usually, soccer players grab the referee’s attention to inform him about a foul such as in this video. After a foul, the players demand a free-kick or penalty. 

After such a hand gesture, the referee analyzes the situation. If he thinks it was a foul, the team gets a free kick. 

Another reason for appealing to the referee is for a throw-in. If a team feels their opponents were the last to touch the ball, they ask for a throw-in by raising their hands. Players do this so they can divert the referee’s attention to themselves. 

4. Demonstrating Sportsmanship

When a player plays against their previous team, showing respect to that team is important. Sportsmanship and respect is the biggest requirement of any game. 

So, when players score a goal against their previous team, they raise their hands. This hand raise isn’t celebratory. It is to show respect to the other team. 

The player wants to show the opponent team and the audience that he is happy to score a goal for his team, but out of respect for his old team, he isn’t celebrating it.

But it’s a game, and the game requires you to play loyal to your current team. 

The thing is:

Soccer players change their teams for various reasons and for the growth of their careers. But that doesn’t mean they can be ungrateful and disrespectful toward their old team. Hence, the respectful hand gestures after scoring goals against their old team.

Here’s a video of various players showing respect to their former teams!

5. Expressing Frustration or Disagreement

Just like soccer players can’t help themselves after scoring a goal and raising their hands, they also raise their hands to express frustration.

Usually, when the opponents score a goal, the soccer players aren’t happy about it. If the game is reaching its final stage and the moment is intense, the frustration is unmatchable.

It can be hard to deal with a goal scored against their team. So, soccer players raise their hands and usually hold their heads in annoyance.

They may raise their hands like that when a team player isn’t playing well enough. Players do this when disagreeing with their teammates about a certain move.

6. Seeking Attention or Medical Assistance

You can’t predict an injury while playing sports. But if a soccer player gets injured, they should get immediate medical assistance. 

In the rush of a game, it can be hard to guess whether a soccer player requires medical assistance or not. So, the team members raise their hands to divert attention to themselves if someone is injured.

This is a personal choice, and soccer players can raise their hands in various ways. Some even prefer to wave in such situations.

The main goal is to stop the game, so the opponent team doesn’t get the upper hand in such a situation. The referee decides whether the game will be paused while the injured player gets medical help.

Sometimes, soccer players also want to get the attention of their team players for various reasons.

Think of it this way:

You are playing soccer, and you want a team member to kick the ball toward you. What will you do?

Probably use hand gestures to draw attention to yourself! 

7. Tactical Signaling and Set-Piece Execution

Signaling the team players by raising hands in different ways is a common tactic in soccer. 

For example, when a team gets a free kick, they can’t communicate with the whole team telling them where they aim to shoot. So, the players use hand gestures by raising their arms to indicate their strategy.

A set piece in soccer can be the reason for a team’s win if the players execute it properly. For proper execution, the whole team has to be on the same page.

Soccer players align the whole team by raising their hands in the air to let the team know about the direction of the kick. 

Usually, different teams have different decided hand gestures during practice sessions.

8. Cultural and Personal Expressions

Soccer players may also be raising their hands as a cultural expression.

For example, in Hinduism, people praise their gods by raising their hands and joining them together. So a player may make this gesture after scoring a goal or winning a match to show gratitude to God.

Other hand gestures might be personal expressions. Many players have their way of showing gratitude or happiness, which becomes their signature gesture over time. For example, raising both arms in the air with only the index finger out. 

9. Misconceptions and Controversies

Rumors and misconceptions are common for anything with a lot of fans. A soccer game is no exception.

Many times haters may spread rumors that a soccer player’s hand gesture was inappropriate and disrespectful. When in reality, it didn’t mean anything, and it was out of flow.

It might seem disrespectful at the moment, but in the rush of a game, soccer players don’t have the time to be mean to their opponents.

So, we shouldn’t heed such misconceptions and should always research and believe reliable sources.


Now you know why soccer players raise their hands in different situations. Usually, the hand raises come out naturally, and the soccer players become used to it.

So, they continue using the same hand gestures in every game. Many hand gestures are for tactics and have proper meaning in soccer rules. 

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