Monthly Archives: February 2013

To K or not to K?

Through the continual development of my Goalkeeper Coaching, I have observed and been taught various coaching techniques and styles. Understanding that different coaching methods suit different abilities, ages or situations in game play. The one coaching technique that seems to have a varying degree of opinion is the scoop technique and the use of (or not) the ‘K-Position’.

There are different schools of thought when it comes to the ‘K-Position’, but each do have their own merits, albeit in differing situations.

The following diagram (figure 1), shows 3 figures doing 3 types of scoop catches.

The Scoop Save - Which of the 3 is the best?

figure 1

1. Shows the Goalkeeper reaching down to the floor with feet close together, using the hands to let the ball roll up them, scooping the ball, eventually pulling the ball into the chest.

2. Shows the start of a ‘K-Position’ but not actually allowing the bent knee to fully touch the floor. Again using the hands to let the ball roll up them, scooping the ball.

3. Shows the ‘K-Position’. This is similar to 2., but with the bent knee touching the floor.

The biggest advantage of ‘K-Position’ is that by putting the knee down creates a second barrier, so that as a Goalkeeper you have a safeguard behind your hands acting as another ‘barrier’ in front of goal, that the ball would hit, if the ball does get through the hands…

However the ‘K-Position’ has a big disadvantage too, just ask Rob Green…

image from

image from

As we saw in the 2010 World Cup, when England played the USA, Rob Green had to deal with what seemed a tame shot. He made the decision to use the ‘K-Position’, and saw the ball end up in the back of the net. For the biggest disadvantage of the ‘K-Position’ is that once committed to it, your movement as a Goalkeeper is limited, so if the ball hits a divot and changes direction you are already committed and will find it as difficult as Rob Green did to recover…

This doesn’t mean that the ‘K-Position’ is truly bad, if used when completely behind a ball (ensuring movement to get into a position to take behind the ball), it is can be very effective. So one school of thought is to use it when dealing with slower balls… Or as Figure 1 drawing 2, to coach the Goalkeeper to not let the knee fully touch the ground as then you are not fully committed and have a little more flexibility in movement.

The other school of thought though, is not to use it at all, and to just coach as Figure 1 drawing 1, ensuring that the feet are not too far apart, so that the legs can become the second barrier. That if needed, when dealing with a faster ball, to either do a collapsing save (dropping down straight on top of the ball) or to smother the ball (by scoping the ball up but dropping forward onto the ball).

Which ever school of thought, each can be used and each have their merits… of which I am slowly starting to learn more about, and also of what their drawbacks might be. It is our job as Goalkeeper coaches to therefore understand each and of which would best suit the Goalkeepers we train. We can then assist them to make the right decision… However, that said, with the many different scenarios that could present themselves to a Goalkeeper in an actual game, it can sometime be difficult for any Goalkeeper to ensure that they make exactly the right choice. For they can only make one, which will be in the split second they have to think about it and one that they feel is the right one to do at the time.

Understanding these different techniques and deciding when to use and not to use which one, is why the life as a Goalkeeper has its challenges. With the biggest challenge being the critics, especially those who aren’t conscious of the fact that Goalkeepers have so many choices to make. As Rob Green discovered, choosing the ‘K-Position’, seemed right at the time (as it would for most Goalkeepers), as this seemed such a straight forward catch… but as we all saw it was a decision that meant yet again another Goalkeeper was to be slated by our unforgiving press.  Just look at Joe Hart over the last 2 weeks, a hero for England against Brazil and then a Villain for Manchester City… or the ever slated David deGea, now lauded as one of the best Goalkeepers after his heroics for Manchester United to deny Real Madrid… and all because of the choices made… Who’d be a Goalkeeper… me definitely – it’s just too much fun! 😉

Goalkeeper Development Centre Spotlight: GAA Goalkeeping Coaching

GAA Goalkeeping Coaching

GAA Goalkeeping Coach was set up by Liam Swift in 2010 to provide quality Goalkeeping tuition and to specialise in excellence in goalkeeping. This position is sometimes neglected in the GAA community and Liam has set this up to help clubs/counties with this problem. The camps are held in Monaghan/Cavan and Louth and Liam is available throughout Ireland. Liam has also attended GAA Clubs in England and Scotland for GAA Goalkeeping Coaching.

GAA Goalkeeping Coaching Coach, Liam Swift

Liam offers specialist GAA Goalkeeping coaching for children and adults at all ages and experience levels. The camps are really just to give a young goalkeeper the chance to be coached professionally and in a safe and friendly environment.

Liam’s Qualifications include:

  • UEFA C / Level 2 GoalKeeping Licence
  • GAA Foundation
  • GAA Level 1
  • First Aid
  • Garda Vetted

GAA Goalkeeping Coaching Coach, Liam Swift coaching one of his student Goalkeepers

The approach at GAA Goalkeeping Coaching is fundamentally player centred. They believe that to improve as a keeper you must work to maximise the ability and potential of each keeper. Liam’s role as a Goalkeeping Coach is to facilitate and enhance that growth as much as possible, focusing on individual technique, physical and psychological needs. Appreciating that players are all very different and building on their key strengths and working on areas of weakness ultimately benefits the whole team and helps develop confidence, trust, respect and loyalty with the players.

To find out more please got to web site:

Alert GK Academy Flyer

Worcester Goalkeeper Academy Coach Profile: Nathan Keast

Nathan Keast, Goalkeeper Coach at the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy.

Nathan Keast, Goalkeeper Coach at the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy


Qualified as a Level 1 Football and Goalkeeping coach. With additional qualifications in other sporting disciplines.

Currently in the final year at the University of Worcester reading Sports Coaching Science.


Nathan says that ever since he came to the University of Worcester, he has wanted to develop his coaching skills in order to become a more rounded teacher.

He has managed to get a wide base of coaching qualifications from football to tennis and lacrosse to rugby which not only gives him transferable coaching skills, but allows him to offer something extra to the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy.

Through working within the Academy his confidence has grown and from working with the other qualified coaches has helped him tremendously, continuing his development, to become a more knowledgeable coach.

Train the Trainer: Worcester Goalkeeper Academy Coach, Nathan Keast  learning some different training techniques


“When working with children, fun is fundamental. Make all activities fun and enjoyable to instill confidence and willingness in the child to play. Making sure to coach correct technique in order for future success.”

Goalkeeper Development Poll

A number of blog posts on this blog and the coaching techniques used at the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy, focus on Goalkeeper Development, however even though all four of the ‘FA four corner model’ development types are coached on, I have never really asked the question to my followers of what they think. All types are important in their own way, but there must be one that my followers think is more prominent, the one that perhaps us coaches should focus more on…. So what do you think, time for a poll:

Of which of the following Goalkeeper Development types do you think is the most important in developing Goalkeepers?

If possible please can you leave your comments as to why.

If you need further information on each of these types please refer to previous posts:

Thank you

Si 😉

Goalkeeper Development Centre Spotlight: Worcester Goalkeeper Academy

Worcester Goalkeeper Academy

“The Academy’s goal is to develop Goalkeepers and Goalkeeping standards through specialist Goalkeeper coaching that is committed to the continual improvement of Goalkeeper specific skills and abilities, using our large pool of qualified coaches, resources, knowledge and experience”.

Goalkeepers and Goalkeeper Coaches in training at the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy

The Worcester Goalkeeper Academy was formed over 3 years ago as it was identified that even though the county had many Football Clubs and Football Coaching Centres training young footballers the skills and techniques of football, there was very little coaching offerings for Goalkeepers.

Since it first opened it’s doors, it has grown and developed. Growing in numbers of not only Goalkeepers but also Goalkeeper Coaches, as the Academy is now recognised as a Centre for the development of Goalkeepers and Goalkeeper Coaches.

It now coaches all ages of Goalkeepers, and not just the younger Goalkeepers, as they have also had senior team players attend the  Academy looking to get some extra coaching as they either look to develop themselves further or assist them with breaking into the first team as the number 1 Goalkeeper.

Bernard Day, Senior Goalkeeper Coach, coaching one of Worcester Goalkeeper Academy's young aspiring Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers participate in weekly goalkeeper specific fitness sessions; lots of technique coaching through drills and keeper games and will also have opportunities to discuss and analyse their own performances for improvement. Coaching sessions may not always focus on specific Goalkeeper skills but will be designed to enable opportunities for development of the fundamental skills (following the FA ‘Four-Corner Model’):

  • Technical, including Movement, Agility, Balance and Control;
  • Physical and Fitness;
  • Psychological and Confidence; and
  • Social.

Coaching Staff

With Goalkeeper numbers increasing it is fortunate that the Academy also attracts increasing numbers of coaching staff. Compared to other Coaching Centres, the Academy has a good ratio of Coaches to Goalkeepers, which allows the Goalkeepers to obtain much more focused Goalkeeper Coaching, assisting further in their increased development.

Coaches have achieved level 1 to level 3 FA coaching qualifications, are CRB checked and hold First Aid and Safeguarding Certificates.

Russell Pinfield, Goalkeeper Coach at the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy working with one of their young Goalkeepers

Of these coaches there is a mixture of coaches from grassroots coaches, former Academy players, to coaches from Senior Football Clubs (including Premiership, Championship and International level experience). With such a good mixture of coaches, means that there is experience of working with beginners through to the elite keepers, meaning that coaching can be tailored to suit and assist with each level of development. In addition, as stated previously, with such senior levels of experience means that the Centre can not only develop Goalkeepers but the coaches too, increasing coaching quality.

To find out more please got to web site:

Worcester Goalkeeper Academy

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