Monthly Archives: May 2015
So further to my last post on the 2015 contenders, the final game of the 2014-2015 season has been played. We now have a clear winner, meaning that my wish for a 5 way tie did not come true, with only one keeper keeping the clean she’s that mattered.
The award went to 3 time winner and our England and Manchester City Number One, Joe Hart. That means he also goes into the record books as the only keeper to win this 4 times. That is some achievement. Well done Joe Hart. Very well deserved.
So with 1 match remaining, we see a four way battle for the Premier League Golden Glove Award 2015. With 13 clean sheets each, which one of these amazing keepers will come out on top:
- Joe Hart, Manchester City – has won this award 3 times before and showing again why he is a world class stopper and why he is England’s number one
- Simon Mignolet – he was dropped to the bench because of a dip in form, but we alway knew he was a quality keeper and has proved his critics wrong. Fighting his way back in to the side and now into contention for this award
- Lukasz Fabianski – left Arsenal to gain first team football, as he was playing second fiddle to Wojciech Szczesny (Last year’s joint winner with Petr Cech). Funnily enough Szczesny has also dropped to the bench, seeing Fabianski playing regulary for Swansea and showing Arsene what he is missing.
- Fraser Forster – I did question why Southampton brought in Forster as they did at the time have 2 great keepers in Kelvin Davis and Artur Boruc (now at Bournemouth, helping them to win promotion to perhaps fight for the glove next season), however Forster has shown me and other why he is now pushing Joe Hart for the England number one Jersey
Unfortunately Fraser now looks to be ruled out of first team action with injury until 2016. So it seems it will be a three way struggle.
Albeit let’s add one more to the mix… Thibaut Courtois. He has played a huge part in Chelsea’s Premier a League Winners campaign, keeping Petr Cech on the bench… Who would have thought that would happen, like Szczesny, last year’s joint winner, not even getting much time in the team to push for the award again (and Cech has won it 3 times before, like Hart!). However Coutois currently has 12 clean sheets and one more would see him join this club of 13… Unlucky for some, meaning a potential 5 winners.
Hmm… Wouldn’t that be something. Even though I am pushing for no clean sheets this weekend by the 13 club, wouldn’t it be great if we had 5 winners, rather than just the one. I think they do all deserve it. What a fantastic season for Goalkeepers!
So because Gareth Bale was the worlds most expensive football player, gives the fans the right to single him out for criticism for a failing Madrid side?
Why are goalkeepers singled out for criticism for a side losing because they made one mistake all match, leading to a 1-0 loss?
The same reason for both is that they are both seen as being in a position of responsibility and that some people forget that this is a team game. It is a team that can lose matches not just one player.
I have seen Goalkeepers from grass roots up to professional level, who have for most of the match, played superbly well, but for one moment of madness, at the end of the match to find that because of this the ‘player of the week’ or ‘man of the match’ gets given to an outfield player. What’s more at the end of the season even though they have improved immensely, because they were not star player or had conceded the losing goals in the weeks leading up to the awards, they get overlooked.
Not getting the recognition, because the defence in front of you parts like the Red Sea… Meaning you have more shots at you than a tin can alley. Hmm… Actually looking at it like this, I actually think Bale gets it easy… If you compare him to a grassroots goalkeeper… Even though Bale gets flak, he get paid millions for the privilege… Such a hard life.
What’s more we now learn that David de Gea is considering a move to Real Madrid. It took him a while to win over the fans and the press alike when he started at Manchester United, even when a number of the goals were through Defensive errors. He has now most definitely silenced those critics. So why would he really consider going through all that again, especially if he does make those little mistakes that the at mean he gets the ‘Bale Treatment’… Oh yes and get paid millions for the privilege… Such a hard life. 😉
Every week at the Academy, we always look to have a game of some sort at the end of the session. These games are very goalkeeper specific and often link well with the technical exercises they have been training in before.
Because games are fun, Keepers don’t always realise that these games are actually building on and helping improve their skills. Plus, further to Part 1 of this series, games are also a good way of ensuring the young keepers get that engagement with the ball, without getting bored. So games must be constantly moving, which is why we always ensure the game doesn’t go flat, with Julia and/or myself often encouraging quick service, fast flowing movement and for all to get involved… After all some football matches they will play in, will not always be slow!
So we try to come up with ideas of games to use. Again we need to think about what we are trying to achieve and if it is appropriate to that age group.
I had previously seen Football Tennis in use. Indeed, Andy Elleray suggests in his book, Scientific Approaches to Goalkeeping in Football, that Football Tennis is a great way of building strength in your legs and helps the keeper use their feet. This is correct and also great in teams as an aid for team work. Andy’s book is a great read and there is so much you can learn from it and what we realised is that even though this exercise would be great for the areas Andy suggests, we felt that the older keepers may benefit more. For, the younger keepers we do need to encourage to improve the basics first, before progressing them to these exercises.
So for the younger keepers, Football Tennis was put on hold, which was bad news for me as I had bought a tennis net! However, the good news is that this could be used for Volleyball… Although again, as Andy identifies using volleyball can promote strength in the hands/wrists, which again would help the older keeper… So I had a net, what could we do to help the younger keepers? The answers came from again looking at Andy’s book and from an exercise we did on high balls… We changed volleyball to a new Goalkeeper style:
- Volley the ball from the serving line;
- Opposing team catch the high ball with Ws catch;
- Team distribute the ball to other members; and
- Then over arm distribute the ball back.
This is still work in progress, but it just shows you that there is a lot of information out there to help you coach, it is just up to you to interpret it and make it relevant to your age of keeper. It will also help us develop as a coach and ultimately help our keepers develop further.
I am still developing as a coach and books like Andy’s and those by other recognised Keepers and Goalkeeping Coaches, will inspire me further. Helping me also develop my coaching skills across all ages of keeper. Giving them the coaching they require to be better keepers. Hopefully this blog will inspire you too. 😉
Further to the previous post on 2015 Most Improved Goalkeeper, we also give an award for Star Goalkeeper. This award recognises the keeper at the Academy for:
- Attitude to coaching
- Commitment and Application of what they have learnt
- All round ability – including in FA development areas: Technical, Physical, Psychological and Social
One keeper in particular has really impressed the coaches, with their whole attitude to Goalkeeping, someone who throws themselves into any training we give them, always with a smile. That keeper is Matthew.
Even on Friday when playing a load of fun and games (as it was end of the term/season), Matthew still put into practice all he had been taught over the time he has been here. Going for every save, even when the balls were whipped in and speed… Some keepers, even seen at the highest level, just seem to stand there and watch, almost seeming to say “I’ll never get that”… Not Matthew, he still went for them, often getting a finger tip to the ball and sometimes just enough to send it away from goal or on to the post. With such a great attitude and commitment, you can see why he was our unanimous choice for this seasons award, for Star Goalkeeper.
Congratulations Matthew. Well deserved!
At the end of Friday night’s training we proudly presented all our keepers with a medal, as a thank you for attending the Academy and also as to them all in recognition of how much they have improved. One of these we felt deserved the year’s award for most improved…
Luke has been with us for a long time now and in that time we have seen him develop his Goalkeeping skills. He is a perfectionist and he has strived this season and previous seasons to improve his game.
Luke, like other keepers his age has had his knocks to his confidence, especially so when conceding in a match. However, I think he is starting to now understand, that it is a team game and keeping a clean sheet is not always down to him, it is also down to the team. Besides, with regards to the feedback from his matches, we understand that he is putting into practice what he has learnt, with some great plaudits for what he is doing… That is all we ask of our keepers; to put in the performance and not worry about the score. As for us, it is the performance that matters more at his age. For that reason and the fact that all the coaches have seen how much he has developed and improved over the years, is why he was the unanimous choice for this award.
Congratulations Luke Deakin. Well deserved!
I chatted last night over a pint, with one of my fellow coaches about the different styles of coaching that a Goalkeeper needs and that I feel I have now found my niche in coaching.
I have been helping as a coach at the Academy now for nearly 4 years now. When I started there I was thrown immediately in at the deep end and given a group of the keepers to coach.
This first session went well, as it was based on the general coaching understanding I had gained from the FA. However after while I had run out of ideas, and started repeating these basic drills and when you have to plan for 1.5 hours, I realised I needed more in my toolkit and more variety to be able to coach these keepers. That said sometimes repetition can be good and drilling in techniques can really help. Just look at some of the best keepers in the world, they will practice, practice, practice… There is not always such a thing as a naturally gifted footballer, even they need to practice and hone their skills in a structured fashion.
The best keepers though need to start somewhere and as juniors, they may not have appreciated too much repetition, as of course the younger kids can get bored of this.
My skills have improved over time, but not to the extent of our Head Coach, Julia, but then they would never be at her level, as she has many years of experience and teachings, from her days playing at the highest levels and through her role as a university lecturer. Her understanding of coaching, means she is comfortable coaching the youngest to the oldest keeper, with appropriate drills for each age, that ensure the student keeper is fully engaged.
We are a good team at the Academy, with myself and Julia at the helm. For even though I realise, that I can feel a little out of my depth coaching the adult keepers, Julia is always there to help. Besides I now know my niche area… I love coaching the basics and working with (and with my daughter now also helping) the younger keepers. So that is what I do, with Julia looking after the older keepers. It works perfectly…
So after nearly four years, with more coaching tools in my bag and working regularly with these young keepers, I have realised that there is a need to coach them differently, more so that keeps them engaged and not bored. As my other coach pointed out with the coaching he does with his football team, they need to have the ball with them more… I.e less talking, more doing.
All our coaches who have worked with the young keepers, all started the same way, feeling they needed to get their coaching points across by stopping the session and talking the keepers through them. However where this may be good for the older keepers, the coaches soon realise that a few short pointed statements or a quick demonstration, giving them more time to do what they love (goalkeeping) works far better.
This is not to say that you cannot use short pointed information for the older keepers, as this is also needed at times, however the older the keeper the more they would listen to the coaching information, as often they need to understand the specifics to help take their game even further…
Oh yes and one final thing we make the coaching fun, with a few games mixed in. Games that are keeper focussed but fun and what’s more less talking, more doing!
From the recent feedback from parents and keepers of what we are doing and from what they see in improvements on the pitch, I do feel that we are getting things right here at the Academy.