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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................................

 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 05:32

Domenico Doardo Interview Blog

Domenico Doardo Interview Blog

This week I sat down and chatted with Domenico Doardo who joined Paolo Di Canio’s backroom team at Swindon Town FC as Goalkeeping coach in June 2011. Domenico has overseen the terrific form of goalkeeper Wes Foderingham in that time helping him become one of the top rated young goalkeepers outside of the premiership.

 

 

What is your background in your native country, Italy, who did you play for and coach before coming over to work with Paolo Di Canio and Swindon Town FC?

 

Torino – Serie A

Helles Verona – Serie A

Genoa – Serie B

Cremonese –Serie B

Italy under 21’s

Novara – First Division

Coaching – Benevento Academy

 

Who has been your favourite Italian Goalkeeper?

 

In the past Luca Marchegiani who played for Lazio and Torino for the bulk of his career and 9 times for Italy. Currently I like Christian Abbiati at Milan who has represented Italy 4 times and Gianluigi Buffon who has played a fantastic 123 times for Italy and an amazing 333 times for Juventus.

 

Would you say the style of goalkeeping in Italy is different to that in England and in what way?

 

I feel the techniques differ slightly; in particular we attack the ball more in our diving techniques. The way we train our goalkeepers I feel is also slightly different. For example I have found that whereas many goalkeeping coaches like to do lots of volleys when working handling, I prefer to do this in a more game related way with shots from the floor and movements in between each piece of handling.

 

What would be a typical week for you in terms of a training schedule for your goalkeepers?

 

Monday – Strength work

Tuesday – Diving saves

Wednesday – Distribution

Thursday – Crosses

Friday – Sharp/Reaction/Reflex

Saturday – Game

Sunday – Wes Foderingham – Recovery. Leigh Bedwell - Power work

 

If a Tuesday game, the Monday session would be a small mix of various goalkeeping components.

 

Over the years do you feel the game has changed much for a goalkeeper and if so what effect does that have on coaching goalkeepers?

 

Before the back-pass rule the main aim was making saves. Now as well as this the goalkeeper obviously has to be very good with his feet and now the modern goalkeeper actually starts a lot of the attacks, such as Victor Valdes at Barcelona. This has meant the style of the game has also changed and has become more physical and more of a high tempo game. With this in mind we have to work with the goalkeeper’s footwork skills and also their fitness levels as they have to be more athletic to meet the demands of the game.

 

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

 

The most important aspect for me is good positioning in your goal in relation to where the ball is for the shot or cross. This gives you the best chance of being an effective goalkeeper. Then obviously technique is very important for when you come to make the save or deal with the cross.

 

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

 

I would do a lot more balance; co-ordination and technique work with the younger goalkeepers. It’s important to build them up from a young age. It’s also important to make it even more fun for the younger goalkeepers as their concentration levels aren’t as big as the senior goalkeepers. With the senior goalkeepers it is then about tidying up small parts of their game and maintaining a good standard.

 

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?

 

I like to use different pieces of equipment for variety. This way I can still work on a specific aspect of goalkeeping but do it in a different way to keep it interesting for the goalkeepers.

 

What is the most satisfying aspect of coaching goalkeepers, either at junior or senior level?

 

With the junior goalkeepers it’s great to see such clear improvements in their game over a period. Then seeing them take that into their games.  With the senior goalkeeper it can be making a great save or having a good performance. It could also be one aspect of their game they have worked hard on that week and it has come off in the game on a Saturday.

 

 

 

 

I would just like to personally thank Domenico for taking the time out to answer my questions.

 

Watch this space for the next in the series of interviews coming up shortly................................
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 12:37

Andy Quy Interview Blog

Andy Quy Interview Blog

This week we talk to Andy Quy who began his career with Tottenham Hotspur on an YTS contract.  After failing to make the grade at Spurs Andy moved on to Derby County as a young professional and also spent time out on loan at Stalybridge Celtic. After another unsuccessful time at Grimsby Town he had short spells with Stevenage Borough and Kettering Town before finally finding regular football with Hereford United. However his career was cut short by injury and Andy retired and decided to take up coaching.

 

He began working with Derby County's and Aston Villa's Academy before working with the first team at Lincoln City. In 2007 he joined premiership side Stoke City as goalkeeping coach and now coaches established premiership goalkeepers Thomas Sorensen and Asmir Begovic.

 

 

 

You are currently coaching two very good premiership goalkeepers and internationals, in Thomas Sorensen and Asmir Begovic. Do you have a standard schedule for them both each week or does it vary depending on who they will be playing against?

 

Each week I try to cover all aspects of goalkeeping within the week. That is then prioritised by aspects identified for each individual keepers needs, along with strengths and weaknesses of the opposition for the next game.

 

Over the years do you feel the game has changed much for a goalkeeper and if so what effect does that have on coaching the goalkeepers you work with?

 

The need for the goalkeeper to be an outfield player has become more and more apparent. The keeper has become more recognised for starting attacks and a way of keeping possession as well as stopping goals. 70% of the keeper’s game is distribution.

 

Is there a big difference in the type of footballs used in the modern game and has that had an effect on how a goalkeeper goes about his / her job?

 

The type of balls being used, continue to change, but I believe the balls currently out there are about as good as they get.

Goalkeepers have had to adjust to the pace and movement of modern balls over the years and this is another major area that goalkeeping has changed.

 

Goalkeepers have had to change their positioning and how they make saves. It is not as easy to catch balls and therefore more balls are parried and deflected. Also the way in which balls are kicked has changed in terms of technique.

 

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

 

I’d prioritise the different aspects of goalkeeping based on the age and experience of the players and their individual strengths and weakness. For young keepers all handling and diving techniques are a must, then to look at positioning and dealing with crosses. Alongside this all types of distribution must be worked on and to become comfortable with the ball at your feet. As players get older and more comfortable with handling techniques, crossing becomes a bigger part of the game and therefore time should be proportioned to this a lot more. Taking up good starting positions, lines of attack and catch/punch decisions are the 3 main areas to work on when doing this.

 

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

 

The pace and technical/tactical content would differ from the young ages upwards but ultimately your looking for the players of all ages to transfer what they learn with the goalkeeping coach into game situations and be effective in keeping the ball out of the goal.

 

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 of these pieces of equipment have their place and when used correctly can help enhance performance. More importantly coaching needs to be specific and game related.

 

What is the most satisfying aspect of coaching goalkeepers, either at junior or senior level?

 

For me at all levels the most satisfying thing is to see a player take what you have taught them in training and execute it correctly in a game.

 

 

 

 

I would just like to personally thank Andy for taking the time out to answer my questions.

 

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

 

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:55

Wayne Brown Interview Blog

Wayne Brown Interview Blog

 

This week I caught up with current Player / Goalkeeping Coach at Oxford Utd FC, Wayne Brown. Wayne has made just under 500 professional appearances and is still a current registered player at Oxford though he has also taken on the role of goalkeeping coach working with both the professional and scholar goalkeepers at the Kassam Stadium. Wayne is a vastly experienced goalkeeper who also spent a season playing professionally in South Africa and is now taking the first steps into goalkeeping coaching.

 

 

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

 

FA Goalkeeping B licence.

Coached the South African Under 19 & 21's keeper in South Africa. Also held a coaching role Spurs African development squad.

Currently holds 5 Academy goalkeeping schools in Oxford & Hampshire

Player/Goalkeeper coach at Oxford United FC

 

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

 

Too many to mention!

 

I would say Jon Ibarrola (Mamelodi Sundowns FC- South Africa), Neville Southall, Pat Mountain to name a few.

All have different styles. Jon was fully hard core on technique, spring & the modern game. Neville was just a work horse, every session was a beasting! Pat was very chilled & mixed his session which is always great for keepers. Don't think I did the same session twice with him. Really helped me.

 

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

.

Technique and a positive attitude are huge!

I love my keepers to try things in training. I'm still learning different techniques of goalkeeping even at 36...it's great!

 

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

 

Technique technique technique!

It’s huge with me, I really can't have poor hands. Even if you have great hands you should be constantly working on them.

 

Explosive power is big with our keepers. Deadlifts, squats, plyometrics.

 

Being excellent with the ball at your feet is a must these days. I encourage our keepers to play outfield too, best practise ever for them.

Finally, a positive keeper is great to watch. I’ve seen loads of good goalkeepers who struggled to make the grade because they were never on the front foot. They never had a good starting position, never had the go & get attitude etc. It causes huge self doubts in you & your team if they haven’t got this.

 

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

 

With the younger guys it’s the basics, repetition, making it fun for them.

 

The seniors are all about tweaking. It could be a tiny problem which just needs ironing out.

 

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?

 

We use many of the above & they are great. Not sure on the response ball though.

 

We used half core balls which are great for stability. We also use the bungee rope for power, crossing and footwork.

 

 

What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach?

 

As a coach I always think its great when young keepers put their new techniques they've learnt into games....and they come off!  I love that!

 

With the professionals I get a buzz when they have kept clean sheets or when the keeper has played & everyone says he had a quiet game today.

 

What they haven't noticed is the 4/5 crosses they have caught clean, that quick step to make a shot look easier than it was, the way they dealt with that dodgy back pass. Or just how exhausted they are after 90 minutes of talking, organising, being on the front foot & generally being the owner of their 18yd box. They come off the pitch knowing it’s a job well done without really being on the radar. That's a nice buzz!

 

I say to the younger keepers.........goalkeepers are the drummers of the band. Little bit mad, we have our own thoughts, own circles but everyone always has an eye on the keeper just in case something fantastic or ridiculous happens. Without us you can’t make proper music & you can't have a football match.

 

 

 

 

I would just like to personally thank Wayne for taking the time out to answer my questions.

 

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

 

Thursday, 25 October 2012 20:30

Leigh Bedwell Interview Blog

Leigh Bedwell Interview Blog

The latest interview sees me speak to a good young goalkeeper just starting out in his professional career. Leigh Bedwell joined Swindon at the age of 9 and I started to coach him at the age of 14 within the Centre of Excellence at the time. Leigh is a young goalkeeper who I often use as an example when talking to and coaching young goalkeepers because he has always had a fantastic desire to work, learn and improve his game.  Apart from his family there was nobody more pleased than me when he was awarded his first professional contract at Swindon Town and its great to see him involved in the first team squad every week. Leigh took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions:

 

 

First year as a professional after coming all the way through the youth system from 9 years of age, how are you finding it?

 

I’m really enjoying it, being a 'professional' is what I have always wanted and what so many young lads aspire to be. I feel really lucky to be in the position I am in. It’s a step up from youth football but I think I have adjusted to it well so far and feel that i’m learning and improving every day.

 

Since the age of 9 you have been coached by a few different coaches but what aspects of the sessions have you enjoyed and what have you least enjoyed about goalkeeping training/coaching?

 

I have been really lucky as all the goalkeeping coaches I have had have been brilliant to learn from, starting with Sal Bibbo, yourself, George Wood and currently with Domenico Doardo. I really enjoy the basics just constantly catching volleys and half volleys as it’s a goalkeepers bread and butter. I also enjoy the games for shot stopping such as goalie wars which are a bit of fun and a laugh but help you improve! When I was younger I didn’t enjoy practicing kicking as I was so inconsistent and got really frustrated at times but it’s something all young goalkeepers struggle with but everyone comes through it once you learn the technique properly, I really enjoy kicking now though!

 

What aspects of goalkeeping coaching do you feel are the most important at a young age?

 

As boring as it sounds I think it’s the basics! Just catching a ball and footwork, young goalkeepers need to concentrate on the simple things and the 'worldy' saves take care of themselves and just happen naturally! Also as I said above I struggled with kicking when I was younger so I think it’s important for keepers to start striking the ball with a correct technique at an early age, once they get the technique right the distance will improve as their muscles develop.

 

In the future (hopefully a long time off yet!) if you were to go down the path of goalkeeping coaching what would your philosophy be?

 

The basic job description for a goalkeeper is to stop the ball crossing the white line so I would encourage a goalkeeper to do all he/she can to stop the ball and then help him/her along the way with vital techniques to improve. All they need is the hunger and desire to stop the ball.

 

Name a few goalkeepers in the current or recent era that you look up to and enjoy watching play and why?

 

The obvious one is Joe Hart I think any English goalkeeper would say that he's a great talent and an inspiration to us all.  I’ll also add Shay Given to that currently not playing in the Premier League regularly but he’s been one of the best in the Premier for as long as I can remember. His consistency is impressive to play at the top level for so long and so well, is amazing.  I’d also like to mention Brad Friedel and Mark Schwarzer also playing at the top level for so long, not always the most orthodox but they get the job done which is the most important thing.

 

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 this type of equipment, good or you prefer to keep things simple?

 

I think modern equipment is good if it’s used in the right way.  At Swindon we often use rebound walls and nets the day before a game to switch on our reactions and make sure we’re sharp and ready for action. Ladders are also important as I think footwork is massive, you don't see or hear on Match of the Day the commentator mentioning the goalkeepers footwork but when a goalkeeper makes a great save more often than not he has had to use quick feet to help him make the save! I have not used response balls yet but would be keen to give them ago, maybe the shape of them would make it difficult to catch but they could help!

 

What would be the best piece of advice you could give to a young goalkeeper who aspires to be a professional goalkeeper?

 

Being a goalkeeper is the hardest position in the world, but if you work hard in training and listen and take on board exactly what your coach says you will learn and improve. Every goalkeeper makes mistakes, if you make a mistake it doesn't matter as long as you learn from it then you become a better goalkeeper. Don't let the highs get you too high or the lows get you to low.

 

 

 
I would just like to personally thank Leigh for taking the time out to answer my questions.

 

Watch this space for the next in the series of interviews coming up shortly................................
Sunday, 14 October 2012 22:06

Dave Lucas Interview Blog

Dave Lucas Interview Blog

Following on from my first interview with AFC Bournemouth Goalkeeping coach Neil Moss, this week I caught up with former Swindon Town goalkeeper Dave Lucas who I got to know during his time with Swindon. Dave has made over 300 professional appearances and although still a current professional at Championship side Birmingham City he is also now starting to get more involved with the coaching side of the game. From experience I saw at close hand how encouraging Dave was with the younger goalkeepers at Swindon so I think he will prove to be an excellent coach!

 

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

 

I am currently a member of the first team squad at Birmingham City, alongside which i am head of academy goalkeeping at

Preston North End. I consider myself on the first few rungs of the coaching ladder with loads to learn and am looking forward to the challenge.

 

Last season I was player/1st team GK coach at Rochdale F.C, great experience but not sure I would take on a dual role again.

 

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

 

Over the years i have been lucky to have had the pleasure of working with some truly great GK coaches. Mike Kelly and Peter Bonetti whilst involved in the England set-up, both had unique personalities and had such depths of knowledge. Working with Mike in the summer of 1996 is an experience I will never forget, and he influenced my GK mentality and technique more than anybody before or since.

 

At club level, Billy Mercer, Jim Blythe, Roy Tunks, John Lukic, Andy Beasley, Pete Williams, George Wood, Eric Nixon, Kelham O'Hanlon and currently John Vaughan have all passed on invaluable advice over the years.

 

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

 

As far as coaching philosophy goes I firmly believe that positivity is the key. Whether that be footwork, starting position, decision making, communication or whatever, give me a positive keeper every time.

 

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

 

For me, the basic priorities of goalkeeping have and will always be the hands and feet. The quicker/stronger the GKs feet, the easier he will find it to get into position to make saves, come for high/through balls and of course will help with the GKs distribution.  Good hands is taken for granted but cannot be overstated, when working with younger GKs I like to stress the basics of good hands linking in to the "set" position and how the hands and feet work in tandem.

 

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

 

As I said above working with youngsters for me is all about nailing down the basics and encouraging their enjoyment for playing in goal. I like to keep the sessions I do with schoolboys really light-hearted and fun. When working with the scholars at PNE I still believe the basics of hands and feet are the platform to work from, along with emphasising the role of the keeper within the team. The need for a strong and positive mentality is something I try to impress upon the lads.

 

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?

 

Keeping training fun and interesting is a challenge for all coaches, if different pieces of equipment can help that then i'm all for it. Jumping over three hurdles, doing a forward roll and making a save isn't something that has happened too regularly in any matches I have played in so I don't like to over do it though.

 

Rebound boards are a favourite of mine to use as it adds a bit of variation to some of my drills. The response balls are something that I am very keen to try out its just I haven't got around to them just yet.

 

What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach?

 

The most satisfaction I get as a coach is always at the end of a session, knowing that the lads have enjoyed themselves and taken a few pointers on board to use in their up coming matches.

 

 

 

I would just like to personally thank Dave for taking the time out to answer my questions.

 

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

 

 

Monday, 01 October 2012 10:25

Neil Moss Interview Blog

Neil Moss Interview Blog

Over the next few weeks I intend interviewing a number of goalkeeping coaches and goalkeepers and get their views and experiences on goalkeeping coaching and goalkeeping.

 

Today we start with Neil Moss. Neil has played over 200 professional games, the majority with AFC Bournemouth also having short spells with Gillingham and Southampton.

 

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

 

AFC Bournemouth 1st team goalkeeping coach for 4 years.

AFC Bournemouth Academy goalkeeping coach 6 years, whilst still playing.

Owner of Between the Sticks goalkeeper school based in the Bournemouth area. We have 80-90 goalkeepers per week, all ages and abilities and i've been doing this for 7 years.   www.betweenthesticks.co.uk

 

What goalkeepers have impressed you over the years and why?

 

Any goalkeeper that has been consistent in their approach and game-play. Brad Friedel, Shay Given, Petr Cech, Van der sar. For me a goalkeeper must have played in the premier league to have fully tested themselves.

 

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

 

Technique. A goalkeeper must deal with the same shot in the same way every time he/she trains or plays.

 

Observe a goalkeepers strengths/weaknesses before you start to coach. Just because a goalkeeper does something different to your ideals doesn’t make it wrong.

 

Repetition, a goalkeeper coach’s job is to repeat as many times as possible every scenario a goalkeeper may face in a match.

 

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

 

Playing out from the back is now more important than ever. Over a third of my time is taken up with “outfield sessions” so the goalkeepers improve their passing and ball control.

 

I will cover crossing at least twice a week in different ways. The goalkeepers do plyometrics twice a week with the fitness coach and also do gym work twice (game permitting)

 

The rest of my time is taken up by simulating saves and positions in relation to ball exercises.

 

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

 

Younger goalkeepers should be told all the basics of goalkeeping and taught technique in how to handle the primary saves.

 

Basic ball control skills should be taught as part of every session.

 

Older goalkeepers should be given more scope to adapt techniques to their own style; different goalkeepers will take up different positions depending on their size, speed and confidence.

 

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?

 

I use all the above equipment except the response ball. I think it’s a good idea but feel the bumps make it difficult to handle.

 

I’m a big fan of goalkeepers training with the exact ball they play with. There’s enough different ways to provide erratic ball flight and bounce with a standard ball.

 

The other equipment I use on a regular basis.

 

What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach?

 

At between the sticks being able to see very easily the kids we have coached compared to the newcomers.

 

 

 

I would just like to personally thank Neil for taking the time out to answer my questions.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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