The difference in Keeper training – part 1

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. 

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Posted on Sat 09 May 2015, in Goalkeeper Coaching, Goalkeeper Development, The difference in Keeper training, Worcester Goalkeeper Academy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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