Coaching Schemes Blog
Hopefully everyone has had a good Christmas, I certainly have as my waistline keeps telling me! It's been nice to have a short break from virtually all of my various coaching commitments with just one private one-to-one session taken on and a couple of Cirencester Town games in the last week or so. As much as I enjoy coaching it's nice to have a little break now and then and the same goes for goalkeepers who play and train throughout the year. The break is good both physically and mentally and i'm sure we will all be buzzing to get back into it in the new year.
Through both the Internet and through social media such as Facebook I look at all the various goalkeeping coaching schemes that go on across the whole country and overseas. It's interesting to look at how people run their schemes, how they advertise, how they structure their sessions or courses, what their background is etc. Again through Facebook I have networked and built up a number of friendships across the country and abroad with fellow goalkeeping coaches and its clear to see how we all have a real passion for goalkeeping and how to help goalkeepers develop. Many of us have different ideas and its good to discuss those ideas and our own opinions.
It must be quite tough at times for parents when looking for goalkeeping coaching for their children as to who and where to take them as there are more and more companies or individual coaches setting up. There are coaches that have more coaching badges than an episode of Blue Peter, there are ex-professionals that don't have any coaching qualifications but who work from their own past experiences and there are coaches who maybe advertise qualifications without perhaps actually having completed those qualifications and been signed off as such by the FA. There are also coaches out there who are still fresh out of nappies themselves and have gained just an FA Level One outfield coaching badge which to be quite honest anyone can get as there is no actual coaching as such involved on that course. These types of coaches often don't have the experience or social / life skills required to be able to actually "coach" and help a goalkeeper develop and are merely "childminders" for want of a better word.
It's perhaps not really for me to say what is right and what's wrong and who is good and who is bad as we are all different. I wouldn't criticise ex-professionals who don't have any or perhaps just limited coaching qualifications as obviously they have good experience from their own playing career behind them. They will have worked with top coaches and will have knowledge about goalkeeping through their own experiences in the game so can help goalkeepers develop by passing that on. However the flip side to that is that it is one thing to know how to do something yourself but it is another to be able to get that knowledge across to someone else as everybody learns in different ways. Former England midfielder Chris Waddle was once asked on a coaching course "how he bent the ball so well" and he couldn't actually explain it to someone else he just replied "I don't know I just do it".....
The good thing about the various courses and qualifications you can do these days with the various Football Associations is that they can help you get the information across in different ways to be able to help players / goalkeepers understand and develop so there is also alot to be said for gaining qualifications. Would you employ an electrician to re-wire your house who didn't have the necessary qualifications??? Having said all of that at the same time perhaps there are people out there who are very good at learning and passing courses but don't really have an understanding of the art of goalkeeping so like I said previously perhaps there is not a right and a wrong way but a different way.
I don't see it as my place to try and belittle others out there in the marketplace, I prefer to concentrate on what I and Steve Hale Goalkeeping School offer with our background.
I personally am not an ex-professional with hundreds of league games under my belt but I have played in goal from 6 years of age through to about 20 + years in the non league game so understand what a goalkeeper does and what a goalkeeper goes through mentally. I have also studied hard over the years gaining various coaching qualifications both outfield and goalkeeping qualifications. On top of this I have also worked in a college environment and also for the past 5 years worked part-time in a primary school so I have built up my knowledge of what makes children "tick" and how they learn. Therefore overall I have dealt with and coached 6 year old children right the way through in both grass roots and professional football (Centre of Excellence), to adults in both non league football and through my position at Swindon Town been fortunate enough to have some experience with full time professionals so regard myself as a "well rounded coach" (and i'm not referring back to my waist-line again!). My assistant, James Whitlock (Chippy) has also played in goal for many years and is still playing now in local football. James has also started working his way through coaching qualifications and is also running a boys team. Along with this he has children of his own so again he also has alot of experience and knowledge to give.
Steve Hale Goalkeeping School has been established for five years now so we have coached hundreds of children along the way, all of whom have been different in terms of their technical ability, physical ability and mental ability. I pride myself in that we try and cater for all and our main priority is trying to help goalkeepers develop both in terms of their goalkeeping ability but also we want them to improve and work on their social skills at our sessions which is also very important in life.
I would like to finish by thanking all of the young goalkeepers and parents that have been involved at my goalkeeping school and who are currently involved, for their efforts in 2011 and like to wish everybody a Happy New Year and an enjoyable 2012 ahead!