General Update Blog
Well its just under 4 weeks till I re-open my goalkeeping school for its 6th year! That in itself is something I am proud of and I have always strived to try and help the young goalkeepers of Swindon and the surrounding area improve on and off the pitch. Obviously the reason young goalkeepers come to my goalkeeping school is to develop their goalkeeping skills but I also like to think they learn other skills that can be used in life in general. Skills such as commitment, hard work and giving your best, respect, team-work and social skills I like to encourage.
I have always run my sessions on a Monday evening but due to my increased commitments at Swindon Town this season I am having to change to a Wednesday evening for the time being. I understand that some of the local clubs that young goalkeepers play for may train on this evening but if the club wants to help their goalkeepers improve with specialised coaching it would be great if they actively encourage their goalkeeper to still come to our sessions. I get told a lot by parents and even coaches of teams that their goalkeeper doesn't get any specialised work within their club. That is not a criticism of the clubs in the area, it just means that they probably don't have a qualified goalkeeper coach within their setup so are limited to how they can help their young goalkeepers. I look at it this way and i'm sure my good wife will agree, I am useless around the home, can't even change a plug and wouldn't know the right end of a paintbrush! Therefore if something needs doing in our house, we would get someone who is trained in that particular field and someone who does have the experience to do the job. So whats the difference when it comes to coaching young goalkeepers? there isn't one! Give your goalkeepers the chance to develop by not only working with experienced coaches but also working with other young like-minded goalkeepers and help push them on. Despite the rising costs everywhere I am maintaining the monthly fees of £26.00 for the third consecutive year. The only slight change is a "once a year" registration fee of just £5.00 which im sure you will agree is not alot!
As stated before through my role at Swindon I also use my goalkeeping school as somewhat of a development centre and there have been a number of young goalkeepers who I have taken into Swindon for trials and some of whom have signed contracts. As stated on my front page probably the most notable recent one being Jared Thompson who has now gone on to even bigger things at Chelsea. Also through the grass-roots grapevine if I hear of any young goalkeepers doing well, I can arrange with our Head of Scouting at Swindon to get these goalkeepers watched and monitored for the future.
Over the years I have had a number of young goalkeepers who have been with me for a good period of time and shown great loyalty to my goalkeeping school. This is something I have always appreciated and its great to hear stories of their "worldy" performances from their parents, the goalkeepers themselves or when I see their name in the grass roots section of the Evening Advertiser which I get each week.
I recently returned from the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland with Swindon, a fantastic experience once again. We took a very mixed age group squad for the tournament so expecations weren't high in terms of winning a trophy, the goal was more about the experience the players would gain from it and thus aiding their development. Despite going out of the main Milk Cup section we did however win the "Bowl" competition so it was a nice reward for all the lads hard work. Our goalkeeper had a good tournament which was pleasing and i'm sure he will have gained a lot from the experience.
I have been back in with the scholars at Swindon since the 2nd July and pre season has gone really well! In terms of results we drew with Newport County then beat English Colleges, Nike Academy, Portsmouth, Cardiff City and Swansea City and to be fair the lads have been on fire! We now start our league campaign this Saturday with Torquay Utd at home followed by a local derby away at Bristol Rovers so i'm really looking forward to seeing if the lads can maintain that form. Again our goalkeeper who is new to the club has been very effective in these games and im just starting to get to know his strengths, and also areas of his game that we need to work on. Being in daily we can look to improve and develop him over the coming season. Today I went with him as he was required by the first team goalkeeper coach at the club for a short session, his first with the seniors. Its always good to watch other goalkeeper coaches work as I believe we can all learn off each other and with Domenico being Italian its good to see how his style varies to English coaches and its always an interesting conversation when speaking with him. It was also great to see Leigh Bedwell working having worked with him myself for 4-5 years as he came through the system and he is certainly developing well.
My new gloves have been delivered, along with a key-ring designed in the same style. I truly believe this is the best glove I have had produced so far. They come in sizes 6, 7, 8 & 9 and if I receive demand for gloves in a size 5 or size 10 I will get some made, though I don't find size 10 a popular size at all. "The Keeper" gloves are now on sale priced at £25.00 per pair or two pairs for £40.00. These prices fall in-line with a host of other goalkeeping gloves out there in the market place and are most definitely value for money. I hope to shortly have pictures up on this website for you all to see. They are currently on display on my "Steve Hale Goalkeeping Facebook Page" and also I have posted pictures on my twitter account @SteveHaleGK
Thats all for now folks, i'm looking forward to the start of the new season!!!!