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Friday, 25 July 2014 17:20

Updated Blog

Things have been so hectic I only just realised my last blog was some four months ago!

A lot has happened in that time so here we go..................


From a personal point of view, in June, much to my delight I was promoted to the position of "Head of Goalkeeping" at Swindon Town FC.

I move into my 8th season with the club having been part time "Centre of Excellence" Goalkeeping Coach (9's – 18's) for my first 5 years. Then I went full time as Academy Goalkeeping coach (9's – 18's) for 2 years and this season I will continue to look after the 9's – 18's but I will also now work with the first team and so I am responsible for all the goalkeepers at the club, which is roughly 18-20 of them.

In my time at the club I have worked under and with the following first team goalkeeping coaches; John Granville, George Wood, Domenico Doardo and Fraser Digby. I have watched and assisted them and I have covered for both George and Fraser on a number of occasions. They all had differing styles and I have taken something from each of them. George was probably the one who had the biggest impact on me in terms of how much he encouraged me and we had some great conversations on goalkeeping in general. He would stand back at times and get me to do parts of sessions with the first team goalkeepers and let me get on with it while he watched and he encouraged and helped me develop which I will always appreciate. He had a wonderful personality and was great to be around and he had a great way with the goalkeepers (and other staff and players).

I watched Fraser play for Swindon countless times and he is a club legend and I always enjoyed watching him play. Again Fraser was happy for me to do bits and pieces with the professional goalkeepers and at times we worked together and I also covered for him at other times. Fraser has a lot of business interests including selling the Errea kit brand with which I have just updated the new staff kit for my goalkeeping school. He has also recently taken over the "Silk on the Downs" restaurant (on the road to Marlborough) so he decided to concentrate his time on his business interests.

Therefore when I was approached about increasing my existing role at the club I was delighted and very proud to accept. I'm a proud Swindon fan since watching my first game when my Dad took me to a Friday night game v Northampton Town and Peter Coyne scored a hat-trick (showing my age now!). Over the years I have watched the likes of Jimmy Allan, Kenny Allen, Scott Endersby, Shay Given, Tim Flowers, Fraser Digby, Nicky Hammond, Steve Mildenhall, Rhys Evans, Bart Griemlink, Frank Talia in goal for "The Town" along with more recent ones in my time working for the club.

Although I already had a busy work-load at the club it was not something I was ever going to turn down and I have structured my work accordingly for the benefit of all the goalkeepers at the club. I have also provided my wife with a photograph of me so she remembers what I look like as I'm at home even less if that was possible!

I have put a structure in place with the professionals and the scholars who I work with on a daily basis both in terms of the type of work we do and also when we do that work to ensure they get a good amount of "goalkeeping specific" work before they get involved with the outfield players. We start a good 40-60 minutes before the rest of the squad so Wes Foderingham, Tyrell Belford and our three scholars certainly put a good shift in each day! All of them have worked very hard in pre-season and I'm really pleased with them all. They are a great young group of goalkeepers to work with, having some fun and banter along the way but working hard at the same time.

I am not naive, I'm sure there will be some fans who question my appointment but I feel I deserve this opportunity. I have worked very hard over the years in terms of working through my coaching badges. I have watched, observed and assisted the senior goalkeeping coaches at the club along with going on study visits to the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool to name just two to study their methods. I watch and study how goalkeeping has changed and developed over the years and combined with what I have picked up from others along the way I have also worked on my own methods of coaching and practise design and also the use of DVD analysis and statistics. I have coached grass roots goalkeepers from 6 years of age up to senior non league goalkeepers and Academy goalkeepers from 8 up to the first team professionals so have covered a very wide range of goalkeepers who I have coached. I have worked my socks off and grafted for 8 years to be where I am now and I intend to enjoy it, make the most of it and keep working as hard as ever for a club that I love and support.

World Cup

Over the summer months we have obviously had the World Cup and what a tournament it has been especially looking at it from the goalkeeping perspective!

Keylor Navas, Tim Howard, Claudio Bravo, Guillermo Ochua were just a few of the standout performers between the sticks but I think it's obvious to all that the star of the tournament was Germany's Manuel Neuer!

His style of goalkeeping I just don't think you can replicate, he is a special case! The phrase "Sweeper Keeper" he has taken to another level and my only fear now is that managers and coaches across the country and the world will expect their own goalkeepers to be the same. The positions he adopts, the decisions he makes are high risk and probably 98% of the time he gets it spot on and deals with the danger in a way no other goalkeeper does. However every goalkeeper is different and has different strengths, weaknesses and attributes both physically and mentally so it's pointless trying to copy Manuel Neuer. Of course you can take aspects of his game but goalkeepers should forge their own style and concentrate on what works for them.

Goalkeeping Gloves

My Pro-Grip goalkeeping gloves which have a 4mm supasoft latex palm proved a real success so I have kept them going again this season. I have also now introduced two new styles but based very closely on the Pro-Grip gloves. The Endeavour 2 glove has a 3mm green coloured standard german latex palm and the Endeavour 1 is a black coloured glove with a 3.5mm Mega Grip latex palm. Details and costs can be found on this website.

Goalkeeping School

After seven years being based at Ruskin Junior School I have decided recently to move my goalkeeping school to an improved facility and I'm pleased to have secured a deal with Kingsdown School. I am very grateful to Ruskin but I felt we had outgrown it and I also needed a better surface for the goalkeepers to work on week in week out. That allied to the parking and toilet facilities for the parents was also a big factor in my decision.

Despite my increased workload at Swindon I never had any intention of closing down my goalkeeping school, it's something I have built up and developed over the seven seasons it's been running and I'm looking forward to the eighth season. There may be occasions where I am personally unable to be there but I have every faith in my other coaches who work for me. As mentioned earlier in this blog I have also purchased new staff coaching kit which also has a new logo embroidered on the garments.

I do have an anonymous benefactor who has helped me massively with both the facility move to keep the costs down of the coaching as I appreciate times are financially hard for parents and its also enabling me to get the new coaching kit. This person has requested to remain nameless but I cannot thank this person enough!

Application forms have been coming in regularly these last few weeks and if anyone else reading this blog is interested in goalkeeping coaching for their child (girls and boys) all details and application forms are on this website but you will need to be quick as spaces are filling up fast!.

I look forward to seeing everyone in September when we re-open.

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