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Friday, 14 September 2012 17:17

Back In The Swing Blog

Back In The Swing Blog

As the title to the blog suggests, the season is now underway both in the professional game and now in the non league and grass roots game with most teams in the local leagues such as the North Wilts League having started last week. My goalkeeping school has been re-open now for two weeks with our third session coming up next Wednesday. Despite the change of evening and initial concerns having lost a few goalkeepers due to them training with their team on a Wednesday I have at the same time picked up some new goalkeepers which is good. It's nice to work with regular goalkeepers and try and help them develop over a period of time but its also nice to see what new talent is out there in the local area. I say local but not for the first time I have a goalkeeper from the Bristol area travelling down for sessions which is pleasing. Its also been great to see a couple of faces return who had to previously have a break including one female goalkeeper who looks to really be developing well as a talented goalkeeper.


I am still toying with the idea of opening up a session in the Calne/Chippenham area and held talks with a venue towards the end of last season. However its finding the right coaches in the area to work and support it as I can't physically do everything myself with my commitments at Swindon Town and Chippy also has a number of commitments himself. This is something I will continue to look at and monitor and so if your a budding goalkeeper coach reading this blog looking for coaching work please email me your details.


As you will have seen from the news items on my website I am happy to advertise for clubs who are looking for goalkeepers or goalkeepers who are looking for clubs. So feel free to drop me an email with your requirements and i'll endeavour to spread the word. I recently posted details about a young goalkeeper who used to come to my sessions who was looking for a new club. Within hours of posting those details on here and on my "Steve Hale Goalkeeping Facebook Page" he had two offers! I was glad to hear from his Dad to say he had been fixed up, it was great to be able to help.


Its been a very busy start to the new season in my role at Swindon Town but in no way am I complaining. Although we have had some dodgy weather when you consider its supposed to be summer, generally its been great working with the goalkeepers at our nicely situated and picturesque training ground. However at times my poor old shiny head has taken a bit of a battering from the sun!


A tough schedule was in place for the scholars and although our new young scholar goalkeeper moaned as most goalkeepers do when it comes to pre season we got him through it and already he has started to look physically stronger for it and benefitted his game. With it being the school holidays our young under 16's goalkeeper has shown a great attitude and come in regularly with the scholars as well. Getting the chance to spend more time working with him and the chance for him to be challenged by training with the scholars has been a big benefit to him and the improvements in his game have been noticed not only by me but by a number of other people so im really pleased for him.


The younger Academy goalkeepers have been back in regularly since the 1st of August and they really are an enthusiastic bunch and a pleasure to work with. Under the new EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) all Academy players will train three times per week which for the goalkeepers will be divided up between work with me and work with their squad. Its a big commitment for not only the players themselves but also their parents who have to taxi them about and they have my utmost respect for the support they give their children. Most people know that few make the grade as professionals but even if they don't make it I like to think we can still help them develop as players and as people broadening their social skills and still try and play the best level of the game they can.


I actually had to don the gloves again myself recently when I took part in a charity match for a Swindon Town Staff & Veteran team against Fairford Town Veterans in aid of the British Heart Foundation. This is an annual game to also remember John Hathaway who played for Fairford and was a coach at Swindon. I never thought I would be in the same line up as Paolo Di Canio, Ian Woan, David Duke, Jerel Ifil, Paul Bodin, Alan Mcloughlin to name a few! Though having seen the team photo in the Evening Advertiser the next day and after taking some abuse from a few facebook friends perhaps I should of prepared for it as the shirt was what you call "snug"! At least it inspired me to hit the gym more and look at what I eat, so a positive did come out of it and ive lost nearly half a stone since! hahaha


Onto my new style of goalkeeper glove that is out this season "The Keeper" glove. I'm pleased with how they are performing and its great to see young goalkeepers wearing them. In the market place today there are a wide range of gloves with many companies marketing their gloves in a wider range of places than I do. I am not into hard sell, I simply don't have the time and at present its not my main drive to try and conquer the world with my gloves. Some brands throw hundreds of pairs of free gloves at full time professionals in order to get them to wear their models and spread the word and good luck to them if they can afford to do that. The funny thing is the professionals are the ones with plenty of money yet get free gloves out of it which always amuses me but like I say fair play, if it helps sell gloves good luck to them. I have produced a glove that is reasonably priced in the current market and if goalkeepers at my goalkeeping school or at Swindon Town or anyone else for that matter want them thats great. Its nice to see a good proportion of the young goalkeepers I work with at Swindon wearing them and obviously with coaching daily I go through alot of pairs of gloves in a season myself.


One thing that I notice though is that young goalkeepers still don't look after their gloves enough which always surprises me. Your gloves are your "Tools of your trade", look after them and they will look after you. If you don't wash them fairly regularly the latex with go dry and the grip will get worse, quite simple really! Even with a well priced pair of gloves it will still cost you a few pounds over the course of the season as gloves don't last long because the better the grip, the softer the grip and the more wear and tear will happen so I do preach that you should look after them. For years now I have bought "Glove Wash" which I tend to get from Just Keepers www.just-keepers.com it doesn't cost the earth and you don't need too much per wash in a shallow sink of warm water and I use an old tooth brush which has gone soft to brush the dirt from the palm, rinse off and dry naturally.


Finally over the next few days have a look at www.gksforgosh.co.uk which is a very worthwhile cause raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. I came to know about it via Lee Harrison who is the First Team goalkeeping coach at Wycombe Wanderers as sadly his young son is currently being treated at the hospital. The aim is to raise funds to go towards supporting a great hospital which does so much good for children up and down the country. GKs for GOSH also have a facebook page and Twitter account so you can find out more details there if your into social media.


Anyway thats enough for now, whenever I do these blogs I get carried away and start waffling!! 

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