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New Gloves, New Year… 1 Win, 1 Clean Sheet

Well what a start to a season and end to a year that was, with no wins for my daughter’s team. With results at the start in double figures to nil, to seeing things change towards the end of the year. There seemed to be a wind of change…

This change in fortune was down to 3 things: The players understanding their positions and their impact on the game; leading to them improving and believing in themselves; and from the opposition finally agreeing to field the same number of players as our team, rather than steam rollering us with their usual 2 extra players (as we are still short on players). This last point is crucial, as before with these extra players and often with subs meant that our players would get both over-run and exhausted. Often they would put in an immense performance first half and then (as we would observe) in the second half run out of steam, which meant that the pitch would then open up to the opposition and my daughter would be very busy in goal. It did give her lots of practice and drew a mixture of praise and sympathy from the parents on the sidelines.

All the players wanted was 1 win this season and in addition my daughter wanted a new set of Goalkeeper gloves. Well they must have been exceedingly good girls, as that all round great guy, Santa must have listened to them… as not only did my daughter get her new gloves, but the players finally got the win they have deserved (against a team with just 1 extra player), in their first game of 2013!

My Goalkeeper daughter in action for her grassroots football team

My daughter’s new gloves worked a treat and she seemed to be catching the ball as if she had glue on them. Previously she would prefer to parry and punch, but this time she went to catch all that was shot at her! Her performance was superb, as was the team’s, winning 1-0!  They were so elated after the match, you would think they had won the league. What a great boost to their confidence. We had been telling them for ages that they were good players, that their performance in each of their last matches was better than the scoreline suggested. I do hope they now belive us!

On the goalkeeping front (yes I hadn’t forgotten, that this is a Goalkeeping blog 😉 ), only a couple of minor goalkeeping errors in this match, relating to being distracted and not being alert to the situation, but only 2, after all Goalkeepers make the odd error… and besides with her performance, handling, diving, positioning, movement, goal kicks, etc, these are 2 minor issues we can easily overlook.

What a great start to 2013, long may it continue. I am hopeful of more great results, so let’s hope we can now build on this and keep improving. Even if we don’t win again, at least we have won 1. Then again at grassroots level we are about development, so if they put in a worthy performance and improve (outfield and goalkeeper), but don’t win, in my eye’s that is a far better result. 😉

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Why the new FA youth development plan is good news for Goalkeeper development

The new FA rules for player development have had mixed reviews but are they really that bad and could they actually be beneficial. Here’s my opinion on why I think it’s good for young goalkeepers (and outfield too) – let me know what you think and if you agree with me…

The new development plan as stated on www.FA.com:

Introducing 5v5 for U7s and U8s, with progression to 7v7 and then 9v9, allows the children to play on appropriate size pitches and with appropriate size goals.

The smaller pitch and number of players allows greater number of touches of the ball and involvement in the game, helping develop greater technical skills at a lower age.

The move will also bring a more child friendly approach to competition, breaking up the eight-month long adult based season into smaller periods of competition which encourage increased learning.

So my reasoning why this is good for youth goalkeeper development:

1/ Appropriate Size Goals

How many of our young Goalkeepers have seen themselves move up an age group and into goals that are just too big. That they then get demoralised seeing numerous more goals go past them because now the opposition has a greater target to shoot at… Yes, this is a greater challenge for a goalkeeper to overcome technically, but a harder challenge still for many Goalkeepers psychologically. So to putting them in appropriate size goals will benefit their confidence, rather than destroy it.

This also benefits the outfield player too, as they now must improve their technical abilities to try to get past a Goalkeeper in an appropriate size goal, rather than not necessarily improve their techniques (as seen with the previous format), as they have such a large target, meaning that outfield players would tend to just shoot at will, without actually having to be that accurate!

2/ Smaller Game Formats and evenly matched teams

By limiting team sizes at a smaller age on appropriately sized pitches will mean each player will get more time with the ball. That includes the goalkeeper as combining this with teams being equally matched should lead to more end-to-end action and therefore more shots on goal. Instead of the current game format, where either the action is limited because there are too many bodies on the pitch, or that the one team is far stronger than the other team with more action at only one end of the field. This current format can be quite tedious for players, especially Goalkeepers who get bored from lack of action.

3/ Everyone gets a chance/Appropriate coaching

Consider this:

  • What if there is a player not selected because the coach feels they are not as good as another player;
  • That this player is a slower developer than others;
  • That this player could with the right development, one day be better than that other player;
  • But because they do not get given the game/development time of the other player they never reach that potential or simply get frustrated and walk away from the game.

– That would be sad wouldn’t it…?

So really as my final point, this goes hand in hand with my previous two points, that coaching should now focus not only on the technique, but also giving everyone a chance to play football! Meaning that we should hopefully keep our kids interested and develop them correctly, allowing confidence and ability to build!

These are just some of the big reasons why I think the new FA Youth Development Plan will be great for not just future Goalkeepers but all future footballer  players. Let’s get behind it and get developing the potential stars of the future!

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