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Sunday, 31 July 2011 11:58

Opening Blog of the Season

Opening Blog Of The Season

Well its been 8 weeks since my last blog and alot has been going on since then. For some people a well earned rest but for me I only managed two full weeks where my gloves were washed and put away and did not see the light of day. It's good to have a rest and re-charge the batteries and in many ways I would of liked a longer break. However gone are the days when I used to pack my football kit away and get out my "whites" and cricket bat and spend my summer at the crease.


At the end of May I held a two day course at Cirencester Town and had 28 goalkeepers attend and generally the weather wasn't too bad. It was a good weekend and the attitude and efforts of all that attended was excellent and their parents should be proud of their children. They worked hard but there was a good mix with the "Banter" that went on amongst the children themselves and the coaches so everyone enjoyed the two days. Phil Smith from Swindon Town came out as a favour to me and talked openly about the season just past and touched briefly on the season ahead. Phil also handed out the awards for me and posed for pictures and signed autographs which I and everybody appreciated. All the pictures from those two days can be found on the gallery page of my website.


Also during the summer so far I was staggered to receive an email from as far away as a parent in Norway! This parent was due over in England on a family holiday and he enquired about booking some private one-to-one coaching sessions while over here for his 6 year old son who plays in goal for his local team in Norway. We managed to finalise some dates and times around my hectic schedule and I got to work with 6 Year old Oliver. At such a young age one-to-one sessions can be hard going depending on both their ability level and attention level and also because one-to-one sessions can be quite demanding physically. However Oliver did really well and impressed me greatly in the short time I had with him and he showed signs of improvement very quickly so I hope he is now back in Norway putting into practise the aspects of goalkeeping we worked upon. A few pictures taken by his Dad can be seen on my "Steve Hale Goalkeeping Facebook Page" and I also hope to have them on the gallery page of this website shortly.


In terms of my work with Swindon Town Centre of Excellence again I didn't get much of a break as the Squad for the Milk Cup Tournament in Ireland we compete in each year reported in at the start of June for its preperations. Therefore I worked with three of our goalkeepers aged under 15 who were competing for the two goalkeeping spots in the squad. Initially we worked on the physical side and in the sun they certainly sweated as I put them through their paces. Then as it got closer to the departure date we got more into the technical and game specific work and all three goalkeepers worked hard. Halfway through the 6 week training period the two goalkeepers that would be travelling were finalised but credit to the third who was unfortunately left out as he showed a fantastic attitude and continued to come in training and was ready if he were called upon. As it turned out he was unlucky not to make the trip with us to Ireland as one of the goalkeepers picked up a hand injury on the eve of the tournament but still travelled. While at the tournament the younger of the two goalkeepers we took got his opportunity to start due to the hand injury picked up by the first choice and older goalkeeper who needed an extra day or two to recover. As it was the young goalkeeper took his opportunity really well picking up Man of the Match in the first game against a Professional Danish side, then keeping his place and keeping a clean sheet against a North Dublin team before doing well again against Premiership side Everton in the third game. In the fourth game the first choice was recalled allowing him some game time and in a penalty shoot out he made a match winning penalty save. In the final both played a half each though we unfortunately slipped to defeat but over the week I was generally pleased with how they performed.


Remaining on the Swindon Town theme, over the summer First Team Goalkeeping coach George Wood was sadly let go by Paolo Di Canio to bring in his own man which often happens in football. I was particularly sad about this as over the past two years George had been extremely supportive of me personally and I often assisted him, watched him and talked to him and I learn't alot from him. I have spoken to him since his departure and will remain in touch with him and I sincerely hope he picks up another job soon as he has masses of experience which goalkeepers can benefit from and is a thoroughly top bloke. To date I haven't yet met any of the new management team including new goalkeeping coach Domenico Doardo but hope to meet them soon. I have spoken with the two Youth team goalkeepers at the County Ground and they have both said Domenico has a totally different style of goalkeeping coaching to what they have been used to in the past so i'm looking forward to the opportunity to go in and meet Domenico and watch how he works.


At Cirencester Town we started back in pre season at the end of June and having lost goalkeeper Matt Bulman to Blue Square Premier side Forest Green Rovers on a two year full time contract I managed to make contact with Danny Greaves, a goalkeeper who came through the system at Bristol Rovers but who then drifted into the Non league game. Between me and the gaffa we persuaded him to sign and I have to say he has been a pleasure to work with so far. He is 27/28 years of age, has a good physique and stature for a goalkeeper and is athletic and very agile. Having seen Matt get back into the full time game (Matt came through the system at Swindon before he to drifted into the non league game) I feel that if Danny works hard this season and performs well he to could potentially be snapped up again from a team higher up and hopefully I can help him along the way.


Back to my goalkeeping school and my regular Monday evening sessions will be re-starting on Monday 5th September at Ruskin Junior School so I will be looking forward to my existing goalkeepers returning and any new goalkeepers who want to work at their game and improve.


Please continue to follow my website and blogs and also I do have a "Steve Hale Goalkeeping School Facebook Page" where you can also pick up news, see pictures and even the occasional video clip.

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