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Friday, 04 March 2016 15:26

Updated Blog

With my commitments at Swindon Town along with Christmas and then planning the Calm Charity fundraiser it’s been a really busy time hence it’s been a few months now since I have managed to produce a blog for the website. Therefore here are my latest ramblings.


Artificial Pitches

One recent topic that has been in the public domain which raised concerns from various parties, in particular parents of goalkeepers, is the playing and training on 3G pitches and the possible links to cancer.




The FA subsequently issued the following statement:

The FA adheres to the latest independent evidence that indicates that 3G pitches in the UK, which are built to industry-standard specifications, are

From time-to-time, concerns are raised in the media as to the safety or environmental risks associated with these pitches and their constituent parts,
commonly crumb rubber.

The numerous scientific studies conducted by government agencies around the world, and undertaken by independent experts, have all validated the human health and environmental safety of 3G pitches and crumb rubber.

Third generation artificial turf is recognised as a durable, safe, year-round playing surface, able to withstand regular use and all kinds of

It enables significant increases in sports participation, ensuring far more individuals and communities benefit from all of the associated social and
health benefits of physical activity.

Read more at http://www.thefa.com/news/thefa/2016/feb/statement-3g-pitches-180216#TVT6l6YlLJGP7aQb.99


I can understand why parents would be concerned but I’m sure if there was anything to really be concerned about, UEFA and the FA would take appropriate action to protect us all against this.

At Swindon Town we have been using the excellent 3G facility at Wootton Bassett since mid December and with the Goalkeeping School we have been using the also excellent 3G pitch at Kingsdown School. I must admit there is one other 3G I do some work on though that worries me at times due to its hard nature and it’s what I think of as the old style “astro-turf” pitch of the late 80’s /early 90’s rather than the modern day quality.

I would personally still favour a good grass pitch but there are benefits to training on a modern 3G such as you always have a constant surface, you don’t chew up areas of the pitch if you are working in one part of it constantly and generally you can be on it in almost all weathers. Diving on it can be a little unforgiving for senior goalkeepers at times, especially if on it daily but I think with young goalkeepers with them being so light in weight the impact isn’t too bad, especially if not training on it daily. It’s better when the surface is wet, from rain perhaps as when you slide you don’t get so many “carpet burns as such”. I guess one downside is that the rubber crumb they use on them seems to get everywhere! I’m often in trouble with the wife bringing the footballs back into the house and a trail of black bits litters the hallway!


Movement Skills & Communication

When I was a kid, I used to listen to adults saying “In my day” and then lecturing me about how things were different and perhaps better and I always used to say to myself, I’ll never get like that when I’m older.......yes, you’ve guessed it, I have become one of those!

When I was younger I used to always be down the local school field or football club playing football or cricket for hours on end and loved it. Nowadays you don’t see much of that, the world has changed. I accept there seems to be some awful things going on and awful people in the world which means you have to be careful where your kids go but a lot also comes down to all the computer games, X-Box, Play Station, Ipads, Iphones, social media etc there is now and the effect its having on the younger generation. Don’t get me wrong, I love my social media so perhaps I shouldn’t be a hypocrite but I’m generally worried the impact its having on physical movements skills of kids and their communication skills or lack of!

I guess I’m looking at this through my eyes as a goalkeeping coach where I see fewer kids who are quick both in terms of sprinting, of changing direction, getting down quickly in a dive or getting up quickly from a dive. Perhaps in years gone by basic movement skills were developed down the local park, day and night in the repetition of the numerous games you played or even messing about climbing trees and the strength you developed by playing sport against kids bigger and older than you where you just had to simply cope physically to compete.

See attached this article in the Telegraph about children lacking basic movement skills:



In goalkeeping there is one skill that should never be overlooked, that of communication/organisation. I firmly believe this is a crucial area of a goalkeeper’s game and one that frustrates me in the modern game where I feel it is a skill lacking in many. Some people will use the term “Presence” and link it to the physical size of a goalkeeper. I prefer to link it to how a goalkeeper commands and organises his area and his final third of the pitch.

With his / her team out of possession of the ball they should be organising their team mates, instructing them where and who to mark, whether to go and put pressure on the person who has the ball, whether to stay on their feet, not dive into a tackle and delay, when to clear the ball and when to play it back or whether they are in fact coming to claim the ball.

With his / her team in possession of the ball can they give information of whether their team mate has time or is under pressure, maybe instructing where the next pass can go and providing an option if they want to play back to the goalkeeper. They can also be organising player’s positions in relation to the ball in case the play breaks down and there is a transition, thereby being pro-active.

Sadly I just don’t see or should I say hear anywhere near enough of this from young goalkeepers these days. Perhaps because the modern way is to text / private message / email people kids don’t nowadays actually talk directly face to face or even over the phone anywhere near as much as they used to and therefore lack that confidence to communicate when it comes to being on the football pitch. Using a different tone/pitch of your voice at times is also a skill that needs to be used more. Perhaps we as the adults are responsible for this rather than the modern kids themselves.

Every person has a different character and personality but I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter what you are like off the pitch, once you step over the white line, being an outgoing character, being a leader and an organiser and an effective communicator makes you a far better and more successful goalkeeper and key member of your team.



I’d just like to finish this blog by once again thanking everyone who played their part in making our Calm Charity fundraiser so successful in being able to raise such a good amount of money for this worthwhile cause. As I’ve already said I set out to beat the figure of £2,055.00 we raised in 2010 for the Robbie Davies appeal so to raise £5,733.73 for Calm was simply amazing!

That’s a total of £7,788.73 raised by people connected to Steve Hale Goalkeeping School for local charity and I’m proud and thankful to everyone who played their part in that.



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