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Steve's Blog

Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:57

Goalkeeper Fitness

I have to confess that this blog is not of my doing, I cannot claim any credit. It was brought to my attention by a fellow goalkeeping coach and having read it myself was suitably impressed and wanted to share it with other members of the "Goalkeepers Union"

Monday, 02 December 2013 13:47

Decision Making Blog

Decision Making Blog

There was recently a debate on Twitter amongst some coaches about whether goalkeeping coaches should be at games standing behind the goal coaching the goalkeeper through the game.

 

My own personal opinion on this matter is that the goalkeeping coach should be there to watch and observe the goalkeeper and maybe offer feedback during the half time break or if the game is broken into periods at the end of each period “If” there is a need to.

 

However during the actual match itself I personally feel apart from the occasional comment as a coach you should just let the goalkeeper play the game.

 

A huge part of the goalkeeper’s game is about making decisions and they have lots to make, here are just a few:

 

Shot-Stopping
 

Do I need to dive?

Can I move my feet quickly to get to the ball?

Should I catch or parry or tip over?

Where should I try and parry to?

Do I get up and attack the ball if I don’t hold it or do I stay and protect the goal?

Do I come off my line and if so how far?

Do I dive at feet or do I try and stay big and block?

Do I wait for the kick to be taken and react or do I guess which way it will go (Penalty kick)?

Which way do I dive (Penalty kick)?

How many players do I want in my wall (Free Kick)?

 

Crosses
 

Do I stay on my line or come for the cross?

Do I catch or do I punch/deflect?

Where do I punch to?

How high do I hold the line of my defence (Particularly free kicks from wide deep positions)?

When do I come (Ball swinging in or ball swinging away, driven or lofted)?

 

Distribution
 

Should I throw it or kick it?

Should I volley/side volley or drop-kick?

Should I over-arm/javelin throw or roll out?

Who/where should I throw or kick to?

Do I pass it with the inside of my foot or do I drive this pass with my instep?

Do I loft this pass?

How much weight (power) do I put on this pass?

Should I take a touch or should I clear first time?

Should I side foot clear it or strike through it?

Have I got time to take a touch and pass out to keep possession?

Should I just clear the danger?

Where should I try and clear the danger to? (Attacker coming straight towards the goalkeeper)

Should I pass it short or should I look to play longer?

Which side of the body does my team-mate want to receive the ball on?

Does my team-mate want the pass to feet or into space in front of him?

 

 

As I said those are just a few of the decisions a goalkeeper has to make in the game so you can see they have a lot of crucial decsions to make.

 

If a goalkeeper makes a lot of bad decisions, the chances are it can result in a goal, far more so than the decisions made by the outfield players. Therefore the pressure is on the goalkeeper to make not only split second decisions but very good decisions!

 

 

If you as a coach / goalkeeping coach / parent stand behind their goal constantly telling him / her what to do how will that goalkeeper learn to make their own decisions and develop their decision making skills?

 

 

You have to be prepared to let them try for themselves and you also have to be patient and accept they will make mistakes when making those decisions. However, making mistakes is actually a very good learning tool as ultimately it is the chance for them to learn what to do or what not to do next time in that or a similar situation. You have to show the goalkeeper lots of support and try and concentrate on the positives and not the negatives as much to allow them to feel comfortable and not under constant pressure.

 

 

Dealing with crosses is one of the hardest aspects of goalkeeping in my opinion because there are so many variables (lofted, driven, curled in, curled away, pace of the ball, weather aspects i.e.: sun in eyes, rain, wind, pitch conditions i.e.: muddy, hard ground, icy ground, how many players in and around goalkeeper etc etc) meaning the goalkeeper has to take these things into consideration in a  split second and decide if he/she is going to come for the cross and how they are going to deal with it.

 

I had a recent situation in a game with a young Academy goalkeeper when it came to dealing with crosses. I encourage young goalkeepers to be positive when it comes to dealing with crosses, not just stay on their line all the time and shy away from them. On this day the opposition goalkeeper was a very tall lad for his age so many would assume he would be dominant on crosses but he was in fact the opposite and one of the goals we scored he was rooted to the line when the ball was in a simple area for him to come and catch.

 

At the other end of the pitch our goalkeeper who was smaller made a really positive decision to come for a cross well outside his six yard box. Not only did he come he tried to catch rather than punch, another positive in my eyes. He got there but the ball unfortunately slipped from his grasp and a striker followed up to score. Far from being disappointed or upset with him as he trudged off at half time looking slightly despondent I expressed how pleased I was with him that he made that positive decision to try and deal with the cross and he would learn and benefit from it. Within ten minutes of the second half starting a free kick was lofted into the box and again he came out just on the edge of his six yard box, called confidently and amongst bodies rose well to catch the free kick and take the pressure off his back four. The smile on his face as he then cleared told its own story........

 

 

Where is the best place to watch your goalkeeper?

 

From a number of different angles, behind the goal, from the opposite end of the pitch, from the halfway line, from the side of the pitch level with his 18 yard box, I would suggest you mix it up to get different views of what they do. Standing behind the goal all the time will probably make the young goalkeeper feel like your eyes are on the back of his/her head constantly and make them feel under even more pressure. They need to feel more relaxed and to be able to make their decisions; you cannot play the game for them. Let them learn and let them flourish then be there to support and help them when they need it.

Monday, 28 October 2013 07:32

You Will Make Mistakes Blog

You Will Make Mistakes Blog

Looking to play in goal?

 

Well let me make this perfectly clear to you now so there are no grey areas.......

 

YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES THAT COST YOUR TEAM GOALS AND POSSIBLY POINTS........

 

A strange thing for a goalkeeping coach to say you may think but it’s just a hard fact about the life of a goalkeeper quite simply. When you stand between those posts everything you do will be scrutinised and with everything you do there is a risk involved which may result in a goal if you get it wrong. An outfield player does not have such high stakes with what they do as there is always somebody behind them to “get them out of jail” whereas the only thing behind you as a goalkeeper is the net!

 

I would like to also dispel two theories that:

 

“Any cross inside the 6 yard box should be the goalkeepers”

 

and also

 

“you should NEVER get beaten at your near post”

 

These maybe statements you have heard and often they will have probably been said by an outfield coach. Most goalkeepers and goalkeeping coaches will understand through experience that there are a number of factors that have an effect on both instances.

 

Dealing with crosses in my opinion is the hardest part of goalkeeping. So many factors can be taken into consideration:

 

Weather:- Wind, Rain, Sun

Pitch conditions:- Muddy, wet,  hard ground (frosty conditions), slope on the pitch

Opposition:- Quality of crosser, size and speed of attackers in the box

Type of cross:- Inswing, outswing, lofted, driven, whipped in, pace of ball

 

All these factors yet as a goalkeeper you have to make a split second decision of whether you are going to stay on your line or come and try and deal with that cross, be it catch, punch or deflect  which is the other decision you have to make.

 

Therefore add in the bodies in your area and you can see why it’s quite easy to make an incorrect decision or make a slight error technically when dealing with that cross. The type of cross in terms of pace in particular and where that cross is delivered from has a big say in whether you can actually get to that cross inside the 6 yard box, hence why I say it’s unfair to say anything in the 6 yard box is the goalkeepers ball.

 

Talking of pace of the ball, this can play a major part in not always being able to stop shots at your near post. Obviously it’s important to get your positioning and angles right to give yourself the best chance possible. You need to be in a position where you cover off the near post but also give yourself a chance with shots across you to the far post. However skill and trickery from the attacker who may be able to disguise which side they are going to shoot plays a part but the pace of the ball and distance away with which they strike the shot also plays a big part.

 

All goalkeepers will make mistakes, the more experience you gain the less mistakes will be made but mistakes will still happen. You only have to look at the abuse that England goalkeeper Joe Hart is currently getting and he has won the premiership and has nearly 40 international caps to his name.

 

Hart is a top class goalkeeper, that for me is not in question, he is just having a season where things are not going for him at times and of course with the media the way it is now these mistakes get highlighted even if only slight. He is still young in goalkeeping terms and he will go on to have a top career in the game. What he needs is the support of his manager, his goalkeeping coach, his team-mates and the fans.

 

If I see a young goalkeeper make a mistake, the first thing I look at is how they react to that mistake rather than being so concerned about the mistake itself. Do they let it affect what they do next or are they able to put that mistake behind them and do the next thing in a positive manner.

 

Often you can actually learn so much when making a mistake it can benefit the goalkeeper in the long term so it’s not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it at the time. In the game the goalkeeper must forget about that mistake straight away and concentrate on what they do next. Then after the game, replay it in their mind and think about what they could have done better and maybe even practice that situation but not dwell on it for too long, forget about it again and focus on the next game.

 

It is so important that we as coaches, parents, guardians, friends show support to goalkeepers because it is such a difficult position to play in considering the pressure that is upon them and how much they are scrutinised and questioned when they do things. Therefore let us help them and their development and not hinder it and put them off goalkeeping by being too critical.

 

This blog isn’t to put anyone off who is thinking about being a goalkeeper because there is nothing better than when you make that save when the striker thought they had scored! It is to make people aware and be supportive of what it is actually like playing in goal and show understanding which will help in the development of that goalkeeper.

 

 

Friday, 30 August 2013 17:18

Advanced Goalkeeping Training?

Advanced Goalkeeping Training?

The following article I must make perfectly clear is not mine, I did not write it, I came across it recently on a website. It is written by a goalkeeping coach in America.........However I enjoyed reading it because I agreed with many points in it so wanted to share it with you.

 

 

The Myth of Advanced Goalkeeper Training

 

"Through the years I have been constantly asked by parents, players, etc. that they are searching for “advanced goalkeeper training.”  Their previous training has taught them the basics and now they are ready for something else.  They have learned how to catch the ball, move their feet, dive, deal with crosses, etc.  Now their question is what is the next progression of my training?? 

 

The truly unfortunate thing, advanced training does not exist!  There is no such thing as “advanced goalkeeper training” where you will progress to these big, grand training exercises that are extremely complex in nature.  In fact, the higher level that you play at, the training gets even more simplified.

 

Goalkeeping is a very simple position.  To be successful at this position though you need to be very technically sound. 

 

Meaning, you are comfortable with your body and you have the ability to move and catch balls cleanly…all the time!  All it takes is ONE mistake, and we lose in our position.  Field players do not have this pressure on them at all, if they make a mistake, they just lose possession.  Big deal!  This is not a punishment as they still have the opportunity to win the ball back before conceding a goal.  But, when the goalkeeper makes a mistake, it almost always leads to a certain goal.

 

So, what does this mean?  Goalkeepers, whether you are a U12 player or the full professional, you will always train the same sort of things.  The difference?  The professional will deal with more pace on the ball, will be forced to be quicker, stronger, etc. in their movements.  This is what “advanced training” is all about.  But, the core training exercises will not change and that is where people get confused or led in the wrong direction.  You will not reach a point where all of a sudden you say, WOW, these exercises are so complex, look at how advanced this training session is today.  If you are proficient and clean with your training, to make it more “advanced” all you need to do is increase the speed/pace of the incoming service or shot, force yourself to get set quicker, etc.  But the exercises do not need to change…just the elements within the exercise like service, angles, etc.

 

As a former professional goalkeeper I can honestly say that goalkeeper training is extremely boring!  Why?  It is boring because of the nature of our training being SO repetitious.  We see repetition after repetition in training.  But we need to have this boredom from repetitions because of the things I mentioned above about making mistakes.  All it takes is one mistake and we lose.  So our training must work on our technique on a daily basis to limit these mistakes and stay sharp and confident.  Training will revolve around repetition after repetition of simple things.  It is about conditioning our body and our muscle memory so we do things efficiently and clean…thus no mistakes and less goals conceded.  But like anything in life, the more you do things over and over, the more it can become boring.  I always ask the question though, how boring is it on a Saturday when you just kept a clean sheet against the top team in the league?  Now that repetition after repetition in training all week long does not seem so bad because you were sharp and confident going into the match.

 

A few years ago at one of our residential goalkeeper schools we had a great dose of reality to a lot of our players.  We are constantly discussing muscle memory in our sessions and the purpose behind all of our very simple exercises.  Our motto is “Train Like a Professional” and we emphasize that professionals train the exact sessions and exercises that we are doing on a daily basis.  Most new players to our sessions think we are crazy and that the pros train much more difficult exercises, it is not just move your feet and catch over and over again…

 

Well, as luck would have it that week, the Chicago Fire were training on the same fields we were holding our sessions.  After our session we allowed our goalkeepers to sit and watch the Fire goalkeepers train for about forty-five minutes.  About 10 minutes into the training session our staff began noticing all of our players whispering to each other and pointing at the Fire goalkeepers.  We called them all in to ask them what was going on…They quickly said, they are doing “exactly” the same exercises that we just did this morning.  All the exercises consisted of were moving your feet and catch…quickly move to get your feet set and deal with a simple shot.   It was at that moment they all truly saw for the first time that what we were saying was correct.  The pros do train the simple things!

 

The position of a goalkeeper is not a rocket science!  You will get out what you put into it and if you are consistently working to fine tune your technique so when you react you are reacting perfectly, you are on the right path to be a big-time goalkeeper"

 

 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 19:13

End Of Season Blog

End Of Season Blog

 
Well another season has come to an end, the 6th full year of Steve Hale Goalkeeping School, something which I’m very proud of!

 

For the first 5 years I always held it on a Monday night but due to my commitments with Swindon Town I had to move the session to a Wednesday evening and I must admit I was worried if that would affect the numbers of goalkeepers coming as I’m sure many teams probably train on this particular night. Sadly I did lose a few of my regulars due to this but pleasingly I picked up some new goalkeepers which has been nice working with a new batch.

 

Throughout the 9 months since September we have worked in all sorts of weather conditions, just a shame much of it hasn’t been sunshine! However the young goalkeepers have manfully battled on and worked hard throughout. I feel that by putting the session topic timetable in place this has given a better structure to our work both from a coaching point of view and for the young goalkeepers learning as there is a clear syllabus of work for the season for them so everyone knows where they stand.

 

Being a goalkeeper has always been a tough position to play and each year it seems to get harder and harder as the days of just stopping shots being good enough for coaches has long gone. The expectations on the modern goalkeeper are far greater and the emphasis now is that they have to be good ball players as well.

 

Working full time in an academy environment as I do but also coaching grass roots goalkeepers and having seen a few grass roots games recently, it’s interesting seeing what’s required of goalkeepers in both formats. In academy football the goalkeepers generally have to play out from the back so they need to be very good playing short and medium range passes and being able to receive the ball back and switch the play. The problem then comes later down the line in the older age groups when they are expected to be able to deliver 50-60 yard diagonal balls but they have been brought up most of the time playing short so some find it hard. The flip side is in grass roots football from most of what I have seen the goalkeeper gets it in his hands and just launches it down the pitch. I’ve also seen a number of goalkeepers not take their own goal kicks so that “The big kid at the back” can toe punt it down the pitch, one of my big pet hates!! When I have had triallist goalkeepers come into Swindon from grass roots football often they find it hard having to suddenly play a range of actual passes and switch play and be comfortable with the ball at their feet and manipulating it.

 

I feel there has to be some form of middle ground in both academy and grass roots football. Goalkeepers to develop need to be encouraged to play out from the back and go long and this needs to come from the coaches. However talking to many other goalkeeping coaches most of us have the same frustrations so I’m not sure it will change sadly.

 

Over the course of the season it’s been great seeing pictures in the Evening Advertiser sports section or write-ups with mentions for goalkeepers in match reports of goalkeepers that attend our sessions. I always try and photograph these and put them on my “Steve Hale Goalkeeping Facebook Page”, as I said it can be tough playing in goal so it’s important that they enjoy and make the most of the good moments in their games.

 

As reported a number of weeks ago it’s been great this season also to see Aaron Moody at Swindon gain a full time scholarship next season. Aaron attended my very first Steve Hale Goalkeeping School two day course I put on and I still have the pictures from this course. Years later having coached him through the system at Swindon he will embark on a two year scholarship. Along with Jared Thompson at Chelsea, Conor Thompson at Torquay Utd (whose just been offered a one year Pro deal) and young Oliver Whiteley at Swindon it’s always nice to see goalkeepers that have been with us go on to bigger and better things. Here’s hoping that in years to come i’ll be talking about another batch of goalkeepers making their way in the game.

 

At this time of the year it’s sad that we say goodbye to goalkeepers that have reached the end of the age groups we work with. I have to have a cut off point somewhere; I can’t have 19 year old goalkeepers working with 11 years olds for example!

 

We say goodbye to Arie Peursum from Cirencester Town who has been with us for the past year and has always worked hard in the sessions and got on well with the other goalkeepers and coaching staff. We wish Arie well in his future football.

 

We also sadly say goodbye to Alex Mathews, who again comes down from Cirencester Town. Alex has been with us for around 4 years now so he’s a “veteran” of Steve Hale Goalkeeping School! Again Alex has always been a pleasure to coach working hard, being very polite and getting on well with all. A big thanks also goes to his dad, Pete who does a fantastic job on my website each year. At least he won’t have to stand around in the cold and wet anymore in his “Indiana Jones hat”! :)

 

I must thank Chippy, Stuart Hutfield and Dan Callaghan for all their work. Chippy has been with me for a number of years now and does a great job for me and despite the banter I give him about his serving I really appreciate his loyalty and hard work each year. Dan was a young goalkeeper at Swindon who I coached and he was looking to gain experience in a coaching environment and I was happy to have Dan work with us and help him develop. He is a very level headed and mature lad who has been a pleasure to work with and again has done a great job over the last year. Stuart has only been with us for the last few months and again having passed some of his coaching badges has come onboard to develop further. Again Stuart is already proving a good asset and I thank him for his work so far and look forward to continuing his work with us.

 

It’s not easy trying to expand as you need coaches to be able to do this and unlike outfield football schools there are not so many goalkeeper coaches about. You then need to be able to work with them and trust them as they are representing your name as a business so I’m pleased with the people that have and are working/worked with me.

 

A big thanks also goes to all the parents who not only stump up their hard earned money each month but also stand there during the sessions no matter what the weather to support their children. I certainly appreciate what the parents do and I’m sure the children do as well.

 

As usual we now break up and the regular goalkeeping school is closed for June, July, and August and starts back in September.

 

Each year I like to put on a two day summer course, last year was the first time in 6 years I wasn’t able to, due to a busy summer. However, I am pleased that one will be going ahead on the 15th & 16th June at Beversbrook Sports Facility, Calne. Already I have good numbers signed up to this and it’s great that a number of goalkeepers are coming from all sorts of different areas for this. I have limited spaces available if anyone still wants to sign up but they will need to be quick!

 

These two day courses give us a good opportunity over the two days to get plenty of work done and work together as a team of goalkeepers and mix socially. Goalkeeping aside these are important aspects of growing up and developing as a person so it’s great that we can see how the goalkeepers do in that respect. I’m really looking forward to this year’s event!

 

There maybe news also in the coming months of expansion for Steve Hale Goalkeeping School, so watch this space..............

 

 

I hope all parents and goalkeepers have a great summer and look forward to seeing everyone again next season!
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 13:55

How We Can Help Blog

How We Can Help Blog

As well as playing in goal myself in the non league game for well over 20 years, I have also worked my way through various coaching badges. I have completed the FA Level One, FA Level Two and Uefa B licence outfield and then FA Level Two Goalkeeping and FA Goalkeeping B Licence. I have also completed the FA Level Two Basic Treatment of Injury course and kept my FA Emergency Aid and FA Safeguarding Children certificates up to date.

 

There is now another strand to the coaching pathway called the FA Youth award modules and I have just started these and I am currently in the middle of Module one. I need to complete Module one and Module two before September as my role at Swindon Town requires this and I also like to increase my knowledge whenever possible anyway.

 

I will openly admit that I was a little sceptical on these courses as they are more designed with outfield coaches in mind but I have got on with it nevertheless. Having completed half of the four day course there are still areas that I feel that are not really that relevant to me as a goalkeeping coach as most of the actual practises so far, are as I say geared towards outfield players. There have though been a few warm up games which I think I can use or adapt and hopefully in this coming weekends final two days there will be other practises I can adapt to use.

 

For me the presentations and discussions that have ensued in the classroom I have thoroughly enjoyed and has got my brain ticking over (some might seem surprised I actually have one!) and have been both useful and thought provoking to me as a coach. The Module one is geared towards the 5-11 age brackets, though there are still some generic principles that apply to all ages.

 

Throughout the course we talk a lot about the “Technical, Physical, Social and Psychological” areas of a young player and in the age range 5-11 most of the focus is more on the final three aspects I just mentioned. It is about creating the right environment for them to learn in, both in a safe and fun way.

 

From a social aspect it is about encouraging them to have fun and enjoyment, have a smile on their face and want to come back for more. If you enjoy something and want to do it there is a far greater chance that learning will take place.

 

From a psychological aspect it is about making sure the child feels included in the session, feels confident to give an opinion and even if not at a technically high level can see that working and trying hard brings rewards and praise.

 

The two areas that got me really thinking though are the “Physical and Technical” areas and thinking back to my own past experiences and what I experience with both my goalkeeping school, my work at Swindon Town and in my past role as a Teaching Assistant in a local primary school.

 

On this course there is a lot of talk about the “ABC’s” which stands for “Agility, Balance and Co-ordindation” and FUNdamentals which is letting the kids have fun but at the same time working on their basic movement patterns such as walking, running, skipping, jumping, turning etc.

 

I always vowed when I was younger not to be one of those old people that would say to me as a youngster.... ”In my day..........” HOWEVER I have become one of those people!

 

In my day as a kid you would be out down the park playing football or cricket with your mates, climbing walls, trees and generally getting up to all sorts of physical activities. These all helped at an early age with your movement, agility, balance and co-ordination skills without someone standing there coaching you how to do it, you simply learnt naturally.

 

My personal opinion is that not enough is done both in schools these days and at home by some parents to help young children with physical skills that will stand them in good stead not just for sporting purposes but life skills in general. While working in the school they knew I was a football coach so I sometimes got asked to take a P.E lesson which I was more than happy to do. What surprised me though was in a class of say 20-30 children the amount of children who struggled with simple things like throwing and catching, whether it was a football, netball, tennis ball or bean bag. Their basic abilities to climb a climbing frame or get over a beam in the sports hall also left me saddened. I think society obviously hasn’t helped as now there are so many distractions for children such as laptops, I pads, X-Boxes, numerous channels on the telly, that a lot will stay locked away in their bedroom rather than go down the park. I also appreciate and understand from a parent’s point of view it’s maybe sadly not as safe these days for children to go down the park on their own and parents work longer hours in their jobs therefore having less social time with their children.

 

However I still feel it’s important for the schools to do more and also the parents I feel can do more to help their children at a young age. Simple tasks in your own street, back garden or even in the front room such as throwing and catching different objects (ones that are safe of course), playing chase, allowing them to climb objects under your supervision perhaps will help in the long run and just short regular spells will help greatly.

 

When I look at it purely from a goalkeeping perspective there have been times where the children who are slightly bigger in build have gone in goal as they haven’t got the speed or energy to run around out on pitch. Now firstly the modern goalkeeper needs mobility, agility, balance, co-ordination and speed to be able to get quickly around his/her goal, to make saves, to come out to clear a through ball, to jump to claim a cross/high ball and dive around to make saves so if they can’t perform those skills effectively they will struggle in goal. Secondly if these children are put in goal how will they develop energy, speed, agility, balance and co-ordination if they are not challenged to do so?

 

From a technical point of view there was an interesting discussion on the course about whether children should be a specialised goalkeeper at a young age and there was discussion as to what age somebody should specialise as a goalkeeper. From experience with my own goalkeeping school the turnover of children who join and leave is always higher in my younger age group. There are two main reasons I feel for this, firstly because their concentration levels are obviously a lot lower but secondly because they don’t really know if they want to be a goalkeeper or a striker!

 

I don’t believe any child should be “made” to play in goal; they should try a few different positions out and see what they enjoy the most and where they feel comfortable to start with. Then if they really want to be a goalkeeper, let them play there and encourage them and be there to support them as I make no bones about it, it is a tough and sometimes lonely place to play!

 

At Swindon when they first come in at under 8’s I don’t even do any goalkeeping specific work with them I just let them train with the outfield coach and players only. It is only when they go to under 9’s I start to do goalkeeping specific work with them but it’s still important that they do lots of work with the outfield coach and players.

 

I sometimes get asked what I would look for in a goalkeeper at Swindon at such a young age from say 6 to 8/9 and the honest answer is not a lot! What I mean by that is you cannot expect too much at such a young age. It really is basic skills such as them not being afraid of the ball, whereas some will turn away from it, they need to be prepared to get in the way and stop the ball however they do it. I look to see if they have some basic hand to eye co-ordination so they can catch a ball even if it’s not in the perfect technical goalkeeping style. I also look to see if their basic movement skills are good so they can move quite quickly and get around their goal and area quickly. If they haven’t got that it doesn’t matter how well they catch the ball they will struggle to get to it in the first place. I also look to see if they really enjoy actually being in goal and throwing themselves about or whether it’s just because they don’t have to run about so much or their one of their family was a goalkeeper so they have just followed suit.

 

Going back to the discussion about when they should specialise in goal I don’t think there should be a set age as such, it’s down to the individual if they want to go in goal all the time or not. Who am I or who is anyone for that matter to say “you must or mustn’t” go in goal all the time? Let them make decisions and enjoy the game and work out for themselves what they want to do and where they want to play.

 

What I would say though is the sooner they can start working on their goalkeeping techniques the better it will stand them in the long run. Again basing it particularly on the work I do at Swindon those ages from around 9/10 up to 15/16 is a massively important time for nailing down their goalkeeping techniques. Then as they get towards the 15/16 bracket and potential scholarships, physical elements, tactical knowledge, decision making comes into play more. You would still continue honing their technical skills and still do so at senior level but really their goalkeeping techniques generally need to be in place for them to stand a good chance of progressing at that level. Similarly at grass roots level those ages are important for goalkeepers to learn and develop their goalkeeping techniques.

 

So next time you have 10-15 minutes spare and a bit of daylight, can you take your young son/daughter out in the garden/street or down the park and spend some time playing fun little games, getting them moving in different ways, different directions, speeds, jumping, catching and diving. Help them build their movement patterns for all sports and life in general.

 

If it’s dark, wet and cold and you have had a hard day at work that still doesn’t excuse you! Can you play little simple catch games with them in the living room or their bedroom for their co-ordination skills? (Disclaimer: You cannot sue me if Mums favourite vase gets broken!)

 

We all need to help the young children of today develop. It’s not just down to the coach, or the parent or the school; it’s down to all of us as a team to help them be the best they can be.

Thursday, 31 January 2013 19:31

Aron Hyde Interview Blog

Aron Hyde Interview Blog

Over the years many foreign coaches have come to England and sought employment. I came across one english coach just over a year ago who did the opposite.

 

I was planning a trip to Chicago so being obsessed with football I thought I would see if I could take in a game while on holiday, much to the delight of my wife! Having looked at the Chicago Fire MLS website I was intrigued to see that their goalkeeping coach, Aron Hyde was actually english and I came across him on the joys of facebook. After speaking with Aron and getting the lowdown on the club and area he kindly arranged tickets for us to see a game. It was a good experience and Aron even kindly went out of his way to drop us back to our hotel. I really enjoyed the way the Americans hyped the game up and there was plenty of pre-match entertainment.

 

This past week I caught up with Aron again to get his views on goalkeeping coaching and how things are in the States.

 

 

ARON HYDE BIO:

 

Aron Hyde has been integral in the rapid growth of the Fire’s young, starting goalkeeper Sean Johnson, as evidenced by the 21-year-old’s debut appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team this past January. In addition to training the Fire’s goalkeeping core, the Birmingham, England product assists with scouting and player development. Aron joined the Fire in 2010 after spending 2009 as an assistant coach with the University of Washington’s men’s team. Prior to joining the Huskies, Hyde worked as the Goalkeeping Coach for Seattle University’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, from 2006-09.

 

Hyde previously coached for Seattle-based Emerald City FC where he served as assistant goalkeeper coach and head team coach for two of the boy’s club teams. He has been involved as a Region IV Staff Coach, an NSCAA goalkeeping staff instructor and with the Washington state Olympic Development Program. Hyde’s vast playing experience includes spells with Walsall FC, Millwall FC, and Wycombe Wanderers in his native England. Stateside, he spent time at Judson College (NAIA). He currently possesses his UEFA A, USSF A and USSF Goalkeeping licenses

 

 

 

 

What is your coaching background and who do you currently coach?

 

I have been coaching now for around 15 years both in the UK and America. I’m currently the Senior Goalkeeper coach for the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer. I am involved in working with all Goalkeepers within the club from 1st team level all the way down through the Academy and youth ages.

 

Have you completed any coaching qualifications under the American FA and if so did you find their courses a lot different to the English courses?

 

I have completed courses from both organizations that offer qualifications within US Soccer. The US Soccer Federation runs the traditional A/B/C & GK Courses that are similar set up to the English FA. However the courses tend to stretch over a 12/15 day period where all assessments are done in that time, as geographically it always remains a challenge to go away then come back for assessments. However this I believe will be changing soon and will courses will begin to look at lot like the UEFA A/B etc courses, with time away from the courses to complete log books and such before completing final assessments. The second organization is the National Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). They offer diplomas and are more education based in terms of they are courses to help provide coaches with an educational/structural base with their coaching. There are assessments but instead of the pass/fail method they provide you with a grade from which you demonstrated while being on the course. Both serve a good purpose in the US as there are many levels of soccer from recreation to the professional game.

 

 

Can you give me some idea of what youth development is like in the States and in particular for young goalkeepers?

 

Youth development is a hot topic in soccer at the moment in the US. With the recent introduction of the academy system for which it is mandatory for all MLS Clubs to have, there is a push to see clubs start to bring through players into 1st teams from their own system. One idea that has been set up is the Home Grown Rule. This is where MLS teams are able to claim a player that they have developed in their own set up that is not draft eligible after they have gone to college. This rule has only being going for a couple of years so I expect it to really start to show on teams rosters in the next couple of years.


In terms of goalkeeping, the US has always been successful in producing high quality goalkeepers which many have made the jump to the English game. The US has always had great athletes, with so many games over here requiring hand-eye-coordination there is a natural progression into Goalkeeping. However the demands of the modern game and the ability for the goalkeeper to be comfortable with the ball at his feet, for me has seen the US fall away a little bit in recent times. Goalkeepers in recent times have been neglected as the lack of opportunities to play games at a professional level is very limited. However Major League Soccer just announced a partnership with the USL Pro (3rd Division) to allow MLS Reserve sides the chance to play more games which will only benefit goalkeepers in this country in the long run. They will be able to play more games without the pressure of 1st team football from which they can make mistakes learn from them so that when they reach the 1st team have more experience and are more established.

 

 

Are there any goalkeepers in America who you feel are good enough to come over to England and establish themselves in the Premiership in the same way as Tim Howard and Brad Friedel have done?

 

Well right now the 2 young up and coming goalkeepers in the US are Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid. Both are young and have had up and down starts to their career. However if they can learn from their mistakes they both have all the tools to compete with the likes of Brad Guzan who will most likely take the reins over from Tim Howard when he is no long the Number 1 for the national team.

 

What goalkeeping coaches have impressed you over the years and why?

 

There have been a few coaches over the years that have really opened up my eyes to the demands of the goalkeeper coach:

 

1.   Dan Gaspar – Currently working with Carlos Quieroz in Iran, Dan has coached at Benfica/Porto and Sporting Lisbon as well as at the 2010 World Cup with Portgual. Dan is a personal friend of mine and has always been very innovative with his approach to goalkeeping which has shown in the quality of goalkeepers he’s worked with.

 

2.   Eric Steele – As most people will know Eric is currently at Manchester United. I have had the opportunity to met Eric when United we on pre season tour a few years back. I have kept in touch with Eric since and he has been a great help to my own personal development as a coach especially being a young coach. Eric is very much at the front of modern goalkeeping and he always has new innovative ways which get me thinking about the position.

 

3.   Andy Quy – Andy is 1st team Goalkeeper coach at Stoke City and i have had the pleasure of getting to know Andy over the last couple years. Andy for me is one of the top up and coming coaches in England and you only have to look at what an excellent job he has done with Asmir Begovic to see the qualities he has as a coach.

 

 

What is your coaching philosophy or what is important to you when coaching goalkeepers?

 

I keep to the following principles with my coaching:

 

Educator – Must teach the position

Highlight the demands of the position

Technical – Skill set required

Tactical – Understanding Goalkeepers role within the team, states & stages of the game

Psychological – Attitude & state of mind to play the position

Physical – Capacity to meet the demands of the position

Lifestyle – Dedication to playing the position

Ability to identify breakdowns and correct them

Role model

Demonstrating your passion for the position – Give them motivation

Ability to demonstrate

Highlight strength’s & weaknesses

Instill confidence

 

How would you prioritise the various different aspects of goalkeeping coaching?

 

I think it is impossible to prioritise the various aspects of coaching, as especially the professional level if you don’t have some degree of all of them then you will not be successful. However with my main focus currently being with senior professionals I would have to say that the psychological side of the game would be towards the top. If my goalkeepers did not have the technical/tactical and physical qualities then they would not be at that level in the first place. I’m a big believer in the fact that Goalkeepers will forget what you’ve done with them, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. However the method is as long as you’re sending out a confident goalkeeper there’s every chance they will be successful.

 

How would your coaching differ across the younger age ranges up to senior goalkeepers?

 

I think it’s a natural progression within goalkeeper coaching across the ages. The younger they are there is more emphasis on the enjoyment and developing a passion for the position whilst giving them a technical base that they can move forward on.

 

Then as they get older highlighting attention to detail and getting that winning mentality, this is important if they are to make the jump to the professional level. Then finally at the professional level it’s being committed to the lifestyle of a professional on a day in day out basis.

 

Nowadays there are many different pieces of equipment that can be used when coaching goalkeepers such as ladders, poles, rebound nets, response balls (balls with lumps on that bounce differently to create reaction saves), what do you think about using this type of equipment?

 

As a coach I’m very open to exploring different types of equipment that can add different twists to training. I simply use a common sense approach as if it doesn’t make any sense then it is not for me.

 

What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach?

 

Seeing kids enjoying playing football. I think with the way the modern game is going and the money that is now involved in the game, the innocence has somewhat gone out of it. That for me is the most important thing as if you’re not enjoying it then it defeats the purpose really!!!

 

 

 

 

 

I would just like to personally thank Aron for taking the time out to talk about his philosophy
 
Watch this space for the next in the series of interviews coming up shortly................................

 

Friday, 18 January 2013 13:32

Alex Penny Interview Blog

Alex Penny Interview Blog

 

This week I caught up with Alex Penny, an experienced goalkeeping coach who has worked at a number of professional clubs and alongside a vast array of top quality coaches.

 

 

What is your coaching background and who do you currently coach? 

 

I am an UEFA A licence coach with over 15 years coaching experience at various different levels.

 

I have worked right the way through from grassroots to 1st team. I started out as a community coach at Bristol City before moving onto the academy.

 

Following this I had over 3 years with Derby County working with players such as Lee Camp before moving to Wolves and the 1st team working alongside Bobby Mimms. I also worked for the Wolves Womens team at this time.

 

I was then recommended to Birmingham City and had over 2 years working with their development under 16 to 18s goalkeepers.

 

My next role saw me return to Bristol City where my wife was academy physiotherapist, as academy goalkeeping coach for the 6 to 18 age range.

 

I have also worked with Dominica national players during the world cup qualifiers and Southampton FC.

 

I am currently the professional phase coach for Cheltenham Town FC where I have been very lucky to have an excellent team to turn to from Mark Yates the 1st team manager to Russell Milton, Antoine Thompson, Jamie Victory and James Murphy at the academy.

 

Unfortunately my coaching is limited in this role as I have to manage a very large programme. I still like to stand in if the goalkeeper coach is away. (You never leave the union!)

 

What goalkeeping coaches have impressed you over the years and why?  

 

As a young player I was fortunate to be coached by Bob Wilson (former Arsenal goalkeeper and one of the first recognised goalkeeping coaches) which enhanced my playing ability greatly. I would also like to mention my old youth team coach at my local football team Roger Hughes, he instilled some great values and thanks to that group he created I still have good friends to this day.

 

As a coach I have been lucky to work with some top coaches. Some of the best non goalkeeper coaches who helped me develop and really understood the importance of the position were John Ward, Dennis Mortimer, Dean Holtham, Steve Round, Dave Jones, Will Royall and John Clayton but goalkeeper coaches I would say Bobby Mimms, Chris Woods, Eric Steele, Alan Hodgkinson, Tony Pennock and Martin Thomas.

 

Bobby was a huge influence on my coaching and I cannot begin to say how great he was. He has played and worked at the highest level and you only need to see how good the goalkeepers have become that have worked with him.

 

When I was at Derby I saw at close hand how good Eric Steele (current Man Utd Goalkeeping Coach) was as he was brining on Mart Poom, Russell Hoult, Lee Camp and Lee Grant. I loved his energy and enthusiasm for the job.

 

Chris Woods who is the goalkeeper coach at Everton was very studious and always interested in different working practices.

 

Alan Hodgkinson really motivated me to become a better coach and you could see why he was at Man Utd for so long.

 

Also finally Martin Thomas, who took me for my goalkeeping B licence and all I can say is what a true professional he was I learnt so much in a short space of time and he is a credit to football.

 

What current goalkeepers impress you and why?

 

Having worked with Matt Murray at Wolves I believe he would be the current England number one but due to injury he had to retire. I still feel I need to mention him as if any young keeper wants to see a dominant, powerful, area commanding shot stopper then watch him on youtube.

 

There are a number of very good goalkeepers out there right across the leagues. I have always been impressed with Chris Weale at Shrewsbury, his work ethic is incredible and he is a top professional. Scott Brown at Cheltenham to serve a club for 10 years and still producing some great displays shows true love for the game, he hasn’t change from his early days at Wolves.

 

Lee Camp at Nottingham Forest is now a full international and has delivered consistent performances for a long time its no coincidence that teams he has played for are always knocking on the door for promotion.

 

Hugo Lloris was excellent for France and I feel has a big future in the game if he develops his qualities to the English game.

 

Ali Al Habsi is proving an excellent shot stopper and a real top performer in the premier league.

 

Michael Vorm reminds me of Pepe Reina, they are both excellent technicians and have good all round ability.

 

What is your coaching philosophy or what is important to you when coaching goalkeepers?

 

I like to create a positive, fun, creative learning environment which is open and honest. I try and develop sound fundamentals even if they are a top international goalkeeper who knows what works for them. I always demand 20 mins of quality basics.

 

How would you prioritise the various different aspects of goalkeeping coaching?

 

Age range dictates priority as they all develop at different levels.

I work to an evolving scheme of work which covers all aspects.

I always implement solid fundamentals and reinforce the positives. I like the FA four corners model as it breaks each aspect down and gives the coach a clearer vision of a players make up. I am a big fan of the FA youth modules and recommend all coaches to do the courses.

 

Nowadays there are many different pieces of equipment that can be used when coaching goalkeepers such as ladders, poles, rebound nets, response balls (balls with lumps on that bounce differently to create reaction saves), what do you think about using this type of equipment?

 

All methods need to be explored and used to your liking. I like the idea of fresh and new sessions that take keepers out of their comfort zones so I am all for it.

 

I get a lot of equipment from Zapkam sports and it has always enhanced the sessions.

 

I find that goalkeepers who do a lot of different activities especially at a young age develop into better players. So changing equipment to support development is great.

 

What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach?

 

The buzz of coaching and helping to teach young players.

 

 

 

 
I would just like to personally thank Alex for taking the time out to talk about his philosophy
 
Watch this space for the next in the series of interviews coming up shortly................................

 

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 10:44

My Blog Update

My Blog Update

It’s been nearly four months since I updated my own blog as I’ve been concentrating on a series of interview blogs with other goalkeeping coaches or goalkeepers so I thought it was about time I had a “waffle” on.

 

Make yourself a cup of tea, find a comfy seat......and i’ll begin!

 

The interviews I have carried out I have certainly enjoyed and hopefully anyone reading them will have been able to take something from them. I still intend to try and get some more done and am still waiting responses back on a few so watch this space for more hopefully.

 

 

One of my interviewees, former Swindon Town goalkeeper Dave Lucas has since doing the interview actually moved on to more of a coaching than playing role. Dave was purely a contracted playing goalkeeper at Championship club Birmingham City at the time but recently he has left Birmingham to go to League two high flyers Fleetwood Town as “player goalkeeping coach”. Dave will concentrate on coaching the clubs two senior goalkeepers while still providing playing back up as and when required. While Dave was at Swindon I got to know him and he kindly came to my two day summer course in 2010 to hand out trophies, sign autographs, pose for pictures and answer questions, as you can see on my gallery page. While at Swindon Dave had also started to look at doing his coaching badges and he came up to the Academy and got involved in a session alongside me and you could tell straight away he had a great personality with the kids and they took to him well. Also during his time at the club Dave was excellent with the young scholar and young pro goalkeepers such as the likes of Jamie Stephens, Calm Antell, Mark Scott, Leigh Bedwell and Conor Thompson. He made them feel welcome and often offered advice and support to them about aspects of their game. Both with Dave’s personality and his vast experience I’m sure he will go on to be an excellent goalkeeping coach over the years ahead and work his way up in the game.

 

 

At the start of this season when I had to move the night that my goalkeeping school operates due to my increased commitments at Swindon Town I must admit I was worried that things would take a dip and I might have to close it. Monday worked out to be a good night as not many teams train on a Monday so I had access to a wide range of goalkeepers. Having to change to a Wednesday I knew would cause some problems as a lot of grass roots teams do train on a Wednesday evening and straight away I was sad to lose some of my regular goalkeepers generally for this reason alone. Although I have lost some regulars I have been pleased to have picked up some new goalkeepers over the course of the season and I am still topping over 30 goalkeepers across my two age groups as we start back after the Christmas break.

 

There is no question that specific goalkeeping coaching is needed in the modern game and many grass roots clubs simply haven’t got the people involved in their club with the necessary qualifications and/or experience to be able to seriously help their clubs young goalkeepers. A goalkeeper, like an outfield player who week in week out practises in a team environment on his/her passing, receiving, heading, shooting, tackling skills etc needs regular work on all his/her goalkeeping techniques for them to develop.

 

As much as I love my role at Swindon Town and working with the more advanced goalkeepers I still get a buzz out of working with grass roots goalkeepers and seeing them develop and improve whether they are 6 or 15 years of age. It’s great when I see a member of my goalkeeping school mentioned in the grass roots supplement in the Evening Advertiser having performed well in a game at the weekend. Mind you this week I had a shock having picked up the paper as it was both my coaches James Whitlock (Chippy) and Dan Callaghan who got a mention! Chippy, or the “veteran” as it called him saved a penalty for his adult Saturday side he still turns out for and more surprisingly Dan Callaghan who was having a go out on the pitch for his local side bagged himself a goal!

 

 

At Swindon I’m halfway through my year’s contract and time has really flown by! Our Academy recently took some stick in one or two media outlets which I thought was extremely harsh if I’m honest. The staff carry out excellent jobs with the resources available to us compared to other clubs and we are constantly striving to improve both the way we do things and obviously the young players we work with.  As a category three academy setup our regular games programme entails playing the likes of Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town, Oxford Utd, Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle, Hereford Utd etc. However and with no disrespect meant to those clubs to improve in anything you do in life not just playing football, you need to be challenged. Our Academy Manager Jeremy Newton has worked tirelessly and built up some great contacts enabling both our younger age groups and our full time scholars the chance to play against top premiership sides. Our scholars have already this season played Liverpool, Everton, Fulham, Aston Villa and Reading and had a game with Man Utd called off due to weather. The differences between our academy setup and what we spend and these academies are huge but to play against them provides big challenges for our players which is far more important than the actual result itself in any of these games. From a goalkeeping perspective our goalkeepers, in particular our scholar goalkeeper has to deal with players that have a greater array of talents who can do more with the ball. The pace, power and accuracy of the finishing that he has faced so far in these games has been greater than that of a normal games programme game so this has meant he has had to improve to deal with it. If you take the Liverpool game alone when we played them in the FA Youth cup, they had players in their team on the pitch from all over Europe that they had paid transfer fees alone to the value of 5 times more than we spend on our entire academy in one season! Getting beat 5-0 of course wasn’t nice but what a great lesson for our lads and goalkeeper in particular. He will have learnt more from that game than from when we beat non league sides Sholing and Cirencester Town comfortably in the previous rounds.

 

 

On the subject of learning a recent incident for a former member of my goalkeeping school really highlighted to me how the modern game has changed and how goalkeepers have had to adapt because of this. Jack Goodenough who was one of my pupils in the early days of setting up my goalkeeping school is now 18 years of age and playing for local side Shrivenham in the Hellenic Premier division of senior football. They are currently having a tough season and are bottom, but fighting to avoid relegation. They took on Binfield who are third and fighting for the title so the game was always going to be a tough ask for Shrivenham. Despite this they were doing well at 0-0 until just after half time when the Binfield striker broke through on goal from the angle of the penalty area. Jack came flying out and went down at his feet and from the clip I saw barely touched him. However over the striker went, arms flying everywhere and the referee awarded a penalty and sent Jack off and Shrivenham then went on to lose 5-0.

 

If you look at some of the top goalkeepers of recent times, particularly Peter Schmeichel and now such as Joe Hart and Iker Casillas you will notice they have modified how they deal with one v one situations. No longer do they come flying out at a player’s feet, they come out and stay big for longer and almost spread like a “starfish” in an attempt to block the ball rather than try and claim it. Going back to Jack’s situation in the game for Shrivenham, I am not saying he should just give up and let the striker score easily but in hindsight he may have approached his course of action differently. Unless he was easily going to get to the ball first by spreading, I feel he would have been better suited to have advanced, making himself big and just tried to get between the goal and the striker and try and get a block on the ball. Players go down easily these days looking for penalties, free kicks and to get opponents sent off and referees although they have a hard task are quick to book or send off goalkeepers in particular in these situations. If perhaps Jack had tried this approach, he may have made a blocking save but worst case scenario otherwise would have been his side 1-0 down but with both 11 players on the pitch and importantly still a recognised goalkeeper between the posts. Shrivenham would have had a far better chance getting back into the game then, than with only 10 men and an outfield player in goal. Jack is a young goalkeeper still learning the game so hopefully Jack will have learnt from this situation, but it does highlight to me how goalkeepers have to change how they deal with one v ones these days.

 

 

Having mentioned Dave Lucas earlier, I just want to also give a quick mention to another former Swindon Town goalkeeper, Phil Smith who has just signed another month long deal at Portsmouth. Phil, who like Dave has also attended one of my two day summer courses (2011) to hand out trophies, sign autographs, pose for pictures and answer questions was released from Swindon at the end of last season despite being a good and loyal servant to the club. Now many people will have this thought that all footballers are rich and famous and made for life and that maybe the case at the higher end of the game. It isn’t the case lower down however and Phil has a young family to support and has looked at other types of jobs away from football to support his family and is still doing so. However the chance to train then sign at Portsmouth even though short term at the moment due to their financial troubles was a way back into the game for Phil. I am pleased that having completed one month with the South Coast side they have extended his deal for another month and I hope things can keep progressing for Phil as he was a model professional during his time with Swindon.

 

 

Hopefully you have reached this final paragraph still awake! As I said previously I am still hoping to get a couple more guest blog interviews done so keep your eyes peeled for those.

 

Until the next time..................................

Thursday, 03 January 2013 17:51

Tony Roberts Interview Blog

Tony Roberts Interview Blog

I recently spoke to Tony Roberts who is now one of the goalkeeping coaches at Premiership side Arsenal having had a good professional playing career. Tony played over 800 games with 150+ of them coming with Queens Park Rangers and over 550+ with Dagenham & Redbridge through from when they were a non league side into the football league. He was also capped for Wales and he talks a bit about himself and what his goalkeeping coaching philosophies are.

 

First, a little about myself. I am currently 43 years young and have been involved in professional football since I left Holyhead in North Wales at the ripe age of 16. My career started when I signed for Queens Park Rangers in December of 1986.  I made my way through the ranks from, the youth team right through to becoming the clubs number one goalkeeper, playing over 150 times, many of those coming in the Premier League. As a result, I was recognised internationally, representing Wales at all levels from U18’s to the senior national team. During this time I was involved in both European and World Cup qualifying campaigns; a tremendous honour and experience.

 

Unfortunately, injury forced me to retire at the age of 28; however, with the help of a surgeon I consulted during a brief stint playing in America, I was able to resurrect my professional playing career, assisted by a specially designed splint which protected my finger. This fantastic aid allowed me to rack up another 550+ appearances for Dagenham and Redbridge, going from the national Conference to League One via a Wembley win in 2010. I finally hung up my gloves (permanently, this time!) in 2011 to pursue my career in coaching.

 

After qualifying as an F.A Goalkeeping Coach, I have enjoyed almost ten years’ experience in coaching at every level from grass roots right through to the professional game.  As the 1st Team Goalkeeping Coach at Queens Park Rangers, I was in charge of the development of all goalkeepers for over seven years.  I then moved on to Arsenal, where I started out coaching the young up and coming goalkeepers, managing their development on their journey from youth football to the senior game. This brings me to my current position, where I occupy the role of Assistant 1st Team Goalkeeper Coach.

 

Here, I work with the senior goalkeepers; obviously a fantastic honour at the very top level of the game. As well as this I oversee and help manage the progress and development of all of the goalkeepers from 17-21 years of age. 

 

Over the years, I have worked with some great international goalkeepers, as well as some of the game’s best coaches. Names that spring to mind include Neville Southall (Everton and Wales), David Seaman (Arsenal and England), Jan Stejskal (QPR and Czechoslovakia), Bob Wilson (Arsenal and Scotland) and Mike Kelly (QPR and Ireland).  I was also lucky enough (or not so in some cases!), to have played against some true greats such as Peter Schmeichel, David James, and Tim Flowers to name just three.  Hopefully you can see that I have worked with and faced some of the best in the game.  This has greatly assisted my own personal learning and development, and I now I feel I have the necessary knowledge to pass on to the next generation of goalkeepers.

 

 

My Philosophy.

 

I believe that goalkeeper performance is made up of elements relating to four fundamental areas; technical, tactical, physical and mental.

 

Each of these components is vital in providing the foundation for peak performance between the sticks.

 

My coaching philosophy involves various methods, both on and off the pitch. These are designed and delivered in a way that maximises performance and knowledge acquisition. A huge part of development is about creating an environment conducive to improving; one in which we work hard, but most importantly enjoy it!

 

It is the above principles which have shaped the way in which I work and the results that I achieve. Just ask some of boys!

 

Below is a brief taster of some of the areas that are covered under the four key components listed above:

 

Technical

 

Shot stopping

Angle recognition

Attacking the ball and recovery lines

 

Dealing with Crosses    

Situational starting positions 

My specific timing techniques

 

Support & Communication

Situational starting positions

Specific techniques (diving at feet, spread and block, etc) 

The goalkeeper’s vocabulary

 

Distribution:

1st touch/control and passing varieties

Throwing techniques

 

Tactical  

 

Organisational skills in specific situations

Know your role!

 

Physical

 

Specific goalkeeper related fitness drills

Developing core strength, speed, agility, co-ordination and power

 

Mental

 

Seeing the pictures early!

Mental toughness

Dealing with adversity

Lifestyle and preparation

 

 

“Know, learn and understand your role in the team.”

 

 

 

I would just like to personally thank Tony for taking the time out to talk about his philosophy

 

Watch this space for the next in the series of interviews coming up shortly................................

 

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