End Of Season Blog
Well another season has come to an end, the 6th full year of Steve Hale Goalkeeping School, something which I’m very proud of!
For the first 5 years I always held it on a Monday night but due to my commitments with Swindon Town I had to move the session to a Wednesday evening and I must admit I was worried if that would affect the numbers of goalkeepers coming as I’m sure many teams probably train on this particular night. Sadly I did lose a few of my regulars due to this but pleasingly I picked up some new goalkeepers which has been nice working with a new batch.
Throughout the 9 months since September we have worked in all sorts of weather conditions, just a shame much of it hasn’t been sunshine! However the young goalkeepers have manfully battled on and worked hard throughout. I feel that by putting the session topic timetable in place this has given a better structure to our work both from a coaching point of view and for the young goalkeepers learning as there is a clear syllabus of work for the season for them so everyone knows where they stand.
Being a goalkeeper has always been a tough position to play and each year it seems to get harder and harder as the days of just stopping shots being good enough for coaches has long gone. The expectations on the modern goalkeeper are far greater and the emphasis now is that they have to be good ball players as well.
Working full time in an academy environment as I do but also coaching grass roots goalkeepers and having seen a few grass roots games recently, it’s interesting seeing what’s required of goalkeepers in both formats. In academy football the goalkeepers generally have to play out from the back so they need to be very good playing short and medium range passes and being able to receive the ball back and switch the play. The problem then comes later down the line in the older age groups when they are expected to be able to deliver 50-60 yard diagonal balls but they have been brought up most of the time playing short so some find it hard. The flip side is in grass roots football from most of what I have seen the goalkeeper gets it in his hands and just launches it down the pitch. I’ve also seen a number of goalkeepers not take their own goal kicks so that “The big kid at the back” can toe punt it down the pitch, one of my big pet hates!! When I have had triallist goalkeepers come into Swindon from grass roots football often they find it hard having to suddenly play a range of actual passes and switch play and be comfortable with the ball at their feet and manipulating it.
I feel there has to be some form of middle ground in both academy and grass roots football. Goalkeepers to develop need to be encouraged to play out from the back and go long and this needs to come from the coaches. However talking to many other goalkeeping coaches most of us have the same frustrations so I’m not sure it will change sadly.
Over the course of the season it’s been great seeing pictures in the Evening Advertiser sports section or write-ups with mentions for goalkeepers in match reports of goalkeepers that attend our sessions. I always try and photograph these and put them on my “Steve Hale Goalkeeping Facebook Page”, as I said it can be tough playing in goal so it’s important that they enjoy and make the most of the good moments in their games.
As reported a number of weeks ago it’s been great this season also to see Aaron Moody at Swindon gain a full time scholarship next season. Aaron attended my very first Steve Hale Goalkeeping School two day course I put on and I still have the pictures from this course. Years later having coached him through the system at Swindon he will embark on a two year scholarship. Along with Jared Thompson at Chelsea, Conor Thompson at Torquay Utd (whose just been offered a one year Pro deal) and young Oliver Whiteley at Swindon it’s always nice to see goalkeepers that have been with us go on to bigger and better things. Here’s hoping that in years to come i’ll be talking about another batch of goalkeepers making their way in the game.
At this time of the year it’s sad that we say goodbye to goalkeepers that have reached the end of the age groups we work with. I have to have a cut off point somewhere; I can’t have 19 year old goalkeepers working with 11 years olds for example!
We say goodbye to Arie Peursum from Cirencester Town who has been with us for the past year and has always worked hard in the sessions and got on well with the other goalkeepers and coaching staff. We wish Arie well in his future football.
We also sadly say goodbye to Alex Mathews, who again comes down from Cirencester Town. Alex has been with us for around 4 years now so he’s a “veteran” of Steve Hale Goalkeeping School! Again Alex has always been a pleasure to coach working hard, being very polite and getting on well with all. A big thanks also goes to his dad, Pete who does a fantastic job on my website each year. At least he won’t have to stand around in the cold and wet anymore in his “Indiana Jones hat”! :)
I must thank Chippy, Stuart Hutfield and Dan Callaghan for all their work. Chippy has been with me for a number of years now and does a great job for me and despite the banter I give him about his serving I really appreciate his loyalty and hard work each year. Dan was a young goalkeeper at Swindon who I coached and he was looking to gain experience in a coaching environment and I was happy to have Dan work with us and help him develop. He is a very level headed and mature lad who has been a pleasure to work with and again has done a great job over the last year. Stuart has only been with us for the last few months and again having passed some of his coaching badges has come onboard to develop further. Again Stuart is already proving a good asset and I thank him for his work so far and look forward to continuing his work with us.
It’s not easy trying to expand as you need coaches to be able to do this and unlike outfield football schools there are not so many goalkeeper coaches about. You then need to be able to work with them and trust them as they are representing your name as a business so I’m pleased with the people that have and are working/worked with me.
A big thanks also goes to all the parents who not only stump up their hard earned money each month but also stand there during the sessions no matter what the weather to support their children. I certainly appreciate what the parents do and I’m sure the children do as well.
As usual we now break up and the regular goalkeeping school is closed for June, July, and August and starts back in September.
Each year I like to put on a two day summer course, last year was the first time in 6 years I wasn’t able to, due to a busy summer. However, I am pleased that one will be going ahead on the 15th & 16th June at Beversbrook Sports Facility, Calne. Already I have good numbers signed up to this and it’s great that a number of goalkeepers are coming from all sorts of different areas for this. I have limited spaces available if anyone still wants to sign up but they will need to be quick!
These two day courses give us a good opportunity over the two days to get plenty of work done and work together as a team of goalkeepers and mix socially. Goalkeeping aside these are important aspects of growing up and developing as a person so it’s great that we can see how the goalkeepers do in that respect. I’m really looking forward to this year’s event!
There maybe news also in the coming months of expansion for Steve Hale Goalkeeping School, so watch this space..............