Coach Education Blog
I am currently in the middle of the process to become an FA Tutor for the Level One Goalkeeping Award. When I did my Goalkeeping B Licence, Martin Thomas (Assistant National Goalkeeping Coach) and Tony Parks (Tottenham Goalkeeping Coach) were two of my tutors and they spoke to me towards the end about also going down the route of Coach Education and asked if I would be interested to which I was. Martin kindly organized to put me through my Generic Tutors course (classroom based course on how people learn) to start with. Now I have had to observe a level One GK Award course being done and I am currently part tutoring one down in Bristol and will probably have to do another then put one on myself and be assessed before I can be signed off.
Over the two Level One GK award courses I have been involved on so far it’s great to meet all the wide range of candidates who come on the courses. Goalkeepers have been neglected for far too long so its good that people are now showing an interest and want to have more knowledge on the subject to pass on to our young goalkeepers. Obviously the level one course is the starting point and gives knowledge on some of the basic techniques but importantly there is a focus on the safety issues which are involved such as how to dive in a safe manner. It’s important that our young goalkeepers aren’t put off goalkeeping at an early age by hurting themselves and therefore a coach needs to be able to give the correct advice.
I have seen in the past myself at various football facilities where grass roots clubs have been training and seen some worrying sights of so called “coaches” or parents taking the goalkeeper and not giving good advice or information to the young goalkeepers which could potentially cause injury. As I said, on these courses you get a real mix of candidate from a parent who just wants to help his son / daughter, a person who wants to work through all his coaching badges and gain lots of knowledge and finally the ex-pro who is starting out on his now career pathway of coaching for a living.
Even if you have no intention of giving up your day job or wanting to be a specific goalkeeping coach I would recommend going on a course to gain that knowledge to help our young goalkeepers develop. If you have any involvement in a team, be it as a helper or parent it is worthwhile.
The course I must stress is different to the Level One outfield award which is just basically an organizers course whereby you learn different games to play, set them up and let them get on with it. This course actually involves learning coaching, in other words, identifying a fault and trying to correct it and improve the goalkeeper.
In May I am also attending a one day course with the FA to refresh my Goalkeeping B licence award which has to be done every three years to keep my licence valid so I’m looking forward to that. Then at the end of June I will be attending the week long FA Goalkeeping A Licence award course.
The way the system is in this country means you have to complete the relevant outfield course before you can do the goalkeeping course. You can do the Level one GK course and not do the outfield one but after that you have to go Level Two outfield – Level Two goalkeeping, Level Three outfield (B Licence) – Level Three goalkeeping (GK B Licence), Level Four outfield (A Licence) – Level Four goalkeeping (GK A Licence). It is not something I totally agree with to be honest but that is the route, so we have to abide by it. The reason behind it the FA say is because you have to have some outfield knowledge as this crosses over with what the goalkeeper does. I do agree with that but certainly when you get to outfield B Licence I think you have enough knowledge to then go straight to GK A Licence. What annoys me if that’s the case though is that why don’t outfield coaches have to do the goalkeeping courses?
I was unable to get on the outfield A Licence course last year as it was oversubscribed and I am unable to get on it this year for various reasons but I have been allowed to go on the goalkeeping A Licence course; however I cannot be assessed at the end of the course. Obviously I would like to be but I am going on it to at least get the knowledge from the course and therefore develop myself as a coach.
A year ago I put on a “Coach the Coaches” course in the summer for local grass roots coaches and managers. This is something I want to do again and I may well do one central one or I am willing to go out to grass roots clubs who have at least a few teams under their banner.
I can help the coaches/managers/parents of these teams with ideas on how they can help their goalkeepers develop, give them information on the safety aspects and also go through some of the techniques and pointers where young goalkeepers often struggle and how they can help. If you are reading this blog and are involved in a club feel free to contact me to discuss.