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Friday, 06 November 2015 08:42

Coaching Styles Blog (Part Two)

The title of this blog states "Part Two" because just over four years ago back on the 13th March 2011 I wrote a blog with regards Coaching Styles (refer back through the previous blogs to find) and over those four years I've gained further experiences myself.

I think most of us have at some stage gone to watch other goalkeeping coaches work and we have all studied DVD's, read books, looked at the countless you-tube clips out there and there is nothing wrong with that at all. I have been asked by some coaches to come and watch me work and I have no problem with that either, I don't profess to be the world's top goalkeeping coach but if I can help in any way from my own experiences I am happy to. However I do think it's also important as a coach to use your own brain, own eye and analysis tools to come up with your own ideas about what your goalkeepers need.

I am fortunate in that I have and do coach various different levels of goalkeepers and that variety makes it even more enjoyable as you get different rewards and pleasure from different aspects of coaching and the success one of those goalkeepers achieve whatever their level.

I coach grass roots goalkeepers from as young as 8 up to 16. I coach academy goalkeepers from 8 to 18, I've coached senior non league goalkeepers and I coach league one professional goalkeepers. They all have different needs and I have to take that into account when planning my sessions and also that level or style of football will have an impact on what you might coach and how often.

What I mean by that is that at Swindon Town there is a huge amount of pressure on the goalkeepers to be good with their feet so I have to spend a good deal of time working on that from the young ones right up to the first team. A triallist came into the academy recently and was surprised when his first session the topic was distribution and in the hour he didn't touch the ball with his hands once. That isn't the same in every distribution session I do of course but for that one particular session I really wanted to focus heavily on "first touch", "weight of pass" "accuracy of pass" and "manipulating the ball and seeing passes in tight pressured situations".

On the flip side of that in my goalkeeping school the goalkeepers from grass roots generally won't play out from the back so much so although I still do work with their feet and distribution, more of my focus needs to be on the more traditional aspects of goalkeeping such as handling and shot-stopping.

The point I am making is ask yourself some of the following questions before planning your sessions:

What age goalkeepers?

How many goalkeepers am I working with?

What standard / level of goalkeepers

Do they play in a team that passes it a lot?

Do they play in a team that plays very direct?

Are they playing in a team where they will have lots of shots to deal with?

Do they face many crosses?

What facilities do you have available?

How many times per week do you get to work with them (meaning you will have to prioritise what you work on if limited time)?

Then from this or other questions you ask yourself, work back from that as to what you need to work on specifically and plan your sessions accordingly. It may be generic or it may be specific.

A senior non league goalkeeper who I've coached previously rang me the other day. He is now doing some goalkeeping coaching for two under 10 goalkeepers in a grass roots team. He asked me what I felt he should do with them with the very limited time he had. I said the basics at that age and level, Scoop, Cup, W and a few low diving saves along with movement patterns (footwork) within the area to help speed and mobility.

I mentioned earlier about analysis tools. At Swindon we film every first team, development team and youth team game and many academy games. Of course that is helpful but not every team or coach can do that. However one thing I do that anyone can do at any level whether the game is filmed or not if you are involved with one specific team is this. Record how each goal is conceded, did it come from a cross, an angled shot, a shot from a central area, a close range shot, a long range shot, a 1v1, a free kick, a penalty or any other scenarios. See if there are any patterns, are lots conceded from angled shots, if so; spend more time in your sessions working on shots off angles. You might also log the types of saves the goalkeeper has made and the situations they have developed from. It's simple and straight forward, anyone can do it and you might find a pattern, you might not but it may give you some ideas what you need to focus on in your sessions.

Because of the style of play our youth team play and the risks involved, we are susceptible to conceding a certain type of goal (at the last count my stats tell me that 46% of goals conceded came in this manner) so I have to take that into account for our scholar goalkeepers and give them opportunities to practise in this area.

Put simply watch your teams games, see what your particular goalkeepers encounter a lot of and base your sessions around that.

Of course I have copied practises I have seen other coaches do both live or from DVD's and you-tube clips, I'd be lying if I said I didn't but more and more over the years I have drifted away from that to think up my own. Think about situations in the game and see if you can re-create in some way, sometimes it's easy sometimes it's hard but think for yourself and be inventive.

I've mentioned this before that some coaches use lots of equipment including some top top coaches working at the big Spanish clubs, these in particular you see on you-tube clips love rebound boards, poles, mannequins, cones, boxes, hurdles, rebound nets and all sorts of weird and wonderful things covering the whole penalty area almost! Some of it I like and can understand why it's used and use myself. A lot of it I don't, I think I've become more simplistic over the years with equipment I use. That's not me saying they are wrong, they are coaching at a lot higher level than me so obviously doing something well and right with their goalkeepers but I just choose to do things in a different way.

There was recently a debate / discussion on social media about "volleys" being served in goalkeeping sessions. There are pros and cons for these, personally I feel there is a time and a place and a reason for using them, others will disagree and that's fine. From experience both Wes Foderingham did and Ty Belford does like 10 volleys at them just before kick off in a game whereas Lawrence Vigouroux doesn't. All three would want to do some in training as part of a warm up that's for sure.

I firmly believe it's about having your own beliefs and principles and have self belief and confidence in what you do and how you do it. There are no rights and wrongs, just different ways of doing things, having your own style.

These are purely my opinions, some people will agree with me and some will disagree with me, that's fine by me, we are all different and all have different opinions.

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