Monthly Archives: June 2015

The difference in Keeper training – part 4

I recently got involved in a discussion with Twitter follower, @GKTed, with regards to this England Keepers training video on reaction saves:

This shows a great exercise with handling, going into low diving saves one after the other. However again, if we are to use this video to inspire us to coach keepers, we need to ensure the exercise is right for their age and ability. 

Unfortunately at times this video shows the keepers diving, landing with their elbows under their body, which is something at the Academy, we (and Bernie also used to) watch out for, to correct, as keepers landing like this could lead to broken ribs… Which I have seen happen.

As pointed out by @GKTed, these are keepers at the peak of their fitness and with their agility, such injuries would be less. Furthermore, in such circumstances of multiple reactions, you could end up with situations like this, however we must remember to coach the younger keepers always with the best technique in mind, so that they do protect themselves from injury. Better fitness and agility to cope with issues from faster reactions will come with time.

Goalkeeper Warm Up

As part of of session plans, we always ensure that every week at the Academy we have a proper warm up session. However, we find that dynamic stretching exercises seem to work better (particularly with the young keepers) than the static exercises. With this in mind I started looking for inspiration on how we could vary this warm up for different weeks. Then I found this video clip, which helped me design a warm up exercise, in line with the theme for the night, ‘types of catches – back to basics’.

Have a watch and see what exercises you could dream up.

The difference in Keeper training – part 3

Further to part 1 and part 2 in this series, I now want to add to this, by discussing the importance in coaching correctly to the different age groups, two of the most basic categories, catching and set position. 

My great friend, the late Bernatd Day was an inspiration to me, in the needs of and how to coach these different age groups. The following is based on his wise teachings.

Bernie would always push for young keepers to catch the ball. Ok yes in goalkeeping, a goalkeeper will use any part of the body to make a save, after all a save’s a save… However and further to part 2 of this series, we can teach other techniques later in the young keepers development. For now though at the young age, his teaching was correct, in that these young keepers need to be drilled in the requirements to always try and catch the ball. Keeping the ball safe, first and foremost.

His second teaching, one which the FA and also our Head of the Academy, Julia West encourage is getting the set position right. That is with hands out in front of the body and not as I saw one coach, drilling all ages of keepers, with their hands down by the side of the body… Hands down is like you see in adult football. Young keepers do like to copy the likes of Joe Hart, David de Gea, Thibault Courtois, etc. However, even though they want to mimic their idols, this is not the best way to start coaching young keepers. Bernie’s philosophy was to start with your hands up, as it was easier to drop you hands than raise them. Furthermore, with the hands raised, they are closer to catching a fast ball heading for the upper body and more importantly the face… Ok with your hands down, the face may the  block the ball and be considered ‘a save’… Hmm, but blood from a nose bleed or concussion is certainly not the best outcome from a save. So hands up is the safest option.

When they develop as Bernie says, their hands will drop. Besides an older keeper is more agile, with better reaction and therefore the hands could be lower, they would get them up there far quicker than a younger keeper. Still, that said in a faster match sometimes it can be just as good for an older keeper to go back to basics…

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