Friday, 30 November 2012

Friday 16th November: Worcester Goalkeeping Academy session 6

Friday 16th November: Worcester Goalkeeping Academy session 6
After missing last week at the academy due to being in Bristol for reading week, I was looking forward to getting back into the coaching. After doing the usual volleys at the start of the session, I got the chance to have a few shots at me from the other coaches, this was enjoyable as it had been a while since I’d had a practise like that, I was pleased with how I performed in the net and was definitely warmed up! The goalkeepers then came back out from the indoor session with Julia and I was put in a coaching group with Andy, Jimmy and Harry, with Andy and Jimmy leading. We started by getting the goalkeepers to do SAQS, involving ladders, cones and hoops before saving a volley at the end. Each coach went on the end of an SAQ to serve the ‘keepers when they were ready, this is a good warm up activity that gets the hands warm and the feet moving.
Jimmy and Andy split the group in 2 and said we would be working on distribution; I went with Jimmy’s group and worked on a range of throws. We started by doing it in a triangle with a goalkeeper on each point, all they had to do was roll or throw to the next goalkeepers, although not overly challenging it was a good way of seeing what the standard of their distribution was, overall I would say it was good, but there was definitely some work to be done on accuracy!
The final activity was a mixture of shot stopping and distribution that made it a bit more game realistic for the ‘keepers. They would have a shot at them in the goal and then had to throw it though 2 cones, they had a choice of 3 areas to throw it and the use of cones was there to help try and improve accuracy. The ‘keepers coped with this well and after a while we made it a bit more difficult by progressing the throws; instead of them choosing where to throw or roll it I shouted out a colour and they would have to get it through the 2 cones that were that colour this challenged their reactions as well as their accuracy.
After this we finished with a game of last man standing before. After the sessions a couple of the ‘keepers and all the coaches stayed behind to have some shots and tips from Bernie, who is an experienced goalkeeping coach. The activities we did for the 25 minutes were good fun and again I enjoyed being able to dive around a bit for myself and testing myself against a decent standard of shooting. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Worcester Goalkeeping Academy session 5- Friday 2nd November

Friday 2nd November: Worcester Goalkeeping Academy session 5:
Tonight was my last session with the set of goalkeepers I had been given for 3 weeks. It was going to mean that we put everything they had learnt so far into practise, by combining both footwork and handling into the main activities. As always we started with a warm-up on what was a very cold evening. The warm-up was a basic pulse raiser in which the ‘keepers had the ball in their hands at all time and jogged to the edge of the box before throwing the ball in the air and shouting “KEEPERS” before catching it above their heads. We did this a number of times with jogging, sidestepping, high knees and heel flicks. We then did some more dynamic stretching to ensure the muscles were warmed up well.

The first main activity we did with the goalkeepers was a test of their footwork, making them do a ladder with quick feet before side stepping in and out of cones and making a low save. The ‘keepers completed this task to a good standard once I had reminded them of a couple of little things they need to be doing like keeping their steps small and quick. To make this harder I progressed it by making them make 2 low saves, one from me and one from Jimmy who was helping me for the evening. This was a tough fitness task for the keepers but it showed the improvements they had made over the couple of weeks with their quick footwork across goal helping them to make saves.

The next main activity we did was with the goalkeepers starting led out in the middle of the goal, when the sever shouted ‘GO’ they had to get up and sidestep to both posts quickly before making a save at the far post, this meant the quick feet and handling came into action together. Me and Jimmy made them start from a range of positions in order to test their endurance for making double saves throughout a game. All the ‘keepers completed this task well and I was pleased to see an improvement with what I saw from them on week 1.

Jimmy then said we should do some SAQ’s with the ‘keepers as it continues with the footwork and endurance theme of the evening. This included them using ladders and hoops to get through and then take a volley to test their handling, again although there were some tired efforts the keepers completed this to a good standard. We finished with every ‘keeper from the academy doing the crossbar challenge. 

Worcester Goalkeeping Academy Session 4- Friday 26th October

Friday 26th October: Worcester Goalkeeping Academy Session 4
This was my 2nd session I had lead at the goalkeeping academy and this time I was on my own for the whole time, with no help from another coach. As with the last session my main aims were to improve footwork however this time I wanted to introduce some more challenging activities the test the goalkeepers a bit more. This time I had 4 goalkeepers, 2 were the same as I had last week but I also had 2 new goalkeepers that were slightly more experienced and were of a high standard.

I did the same warm up as I did last week as I wanted to keep it familiar to the goalkeepers and it’s also good to have the ball in their hands right from the start s it engages them more. We then moved straight into the 1st activity that was focused on a bit of footwork before the goalkeepers set themselves for a save from the server. The goalkeepers had to use tight footwork to get through some cones and then save a difficult shot from me, I wanted to start with this activity to see what the goalkeepers had learnt and remembered from last week’s session. Both Mike and Morgan remembered their footwork well and did the first activity very well with a vast improvement on what they showed at the start of last week. The two new goalkeepers also completed the activity to a high standard but there was one coaching point I picked up on with all four of them. When they were saving the shot they were stood on the goal line meaning there was no room for error and in a game it would be easier for the striker to score. I told them that once they had done the footwork they should take a couple of steps off of the line to help with the successful saving of the shot.

The 2nd activity I set up was a very important footwork drill set in a square where each cone had a number, when instructed to, the goalkeepers had to use good footwork to make their way to the specified cone before getting back to the middle and saving a shot. The key points I made from this activity were that the goalkeepers had to keep their heads up as much as possible with eyes on the ball rather than the floor. I also made sure that when they got back to the middle they were set with the ‘W’ shape in their hands, this would make sure that they would have an easier catch and there was less chance they would drop the ball. I noticed that Mike kept on dropping the ball and falling backwards when trying to make the save so I took him to the side and showed him how he could improve. I told him that he would have a much better chance of making a save if when he set himself he had his hands out in front of him and leant forwards a bit. When Mike went back into the square I saw a vast improvement, although he was not necessarily catching every ball he was pushing it away rather than falling backwards and watching the ball roll in.

The final a drill was one that Andy introduced to me last week that works on both fitness and handling. It is basically a triangle that goalkeepers have to sidestep around before making a low diving save on each face of the triangle. Although not many coaching points came of this it was good to put into practice what we had been learning about over the last couple of sessions and I was pleased to see that all four of the goalkeepers completed the triangle and their footwork had improved a lot over the 2 sessions we had had so far. We then finished with a game of ‘Last Keeper Standing’ but instead of running straight into the goal they had to complete a ladder of footwork, again just building slightly and reminding them what we had learnt.
I really enjoyed this session and it was good to see an improvement in Mike and Morgan especially. I look forwards to next week’s session, which is my last with this set of goalkeepers.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Worcester Goalkeeping Academy Session 3

Friday 19th October: Worcester Goalkeeping Academy Session 3
Tonight was the first session that I led, I had some help from one of the other coaches, Andy, and he came in with some ideas, but it was my session plan that the goalkeepers undertook. I planned a session that was specifically based around footwork however until I got there I didn’t know how many goalkeepers I would have with me or what their standard was like.
I started with a basic warm up to get them moving with the ball in their hands, they simply had to jog around a coned area and when I shouted out a number they would have to do something, for example when I shouted ‘1’ they had to throw the ball up in the air and catch it above their heads, when I shouted ‘2’ they had to place the ball on the floor and pick it up again and so on. To finish the warm up we did some basic dynamic stretches such as opening and closing the gate. We then moved into the first main activity, this was a simple footwork activity that could easily be progressed. The goalkeeper would stand in between their near post and a cone that was on the angle of the post. I would act as server and they would have to react to what I called, if I shouted ‘cone’ then they would have to sidestep towards the cone before sidestepping back into the middle, set themselves and catch the ball from the server. We split into 2 groups to complete this activity with Andy serving one group and myself the other. The main coaching point that I bought up from this exercise was the emphasis on always facing the ball and knowing your surroundings. I showed the ‘keepers what I meant by sidestepping to and from the cone and post and receiving the ball in between I made sure that they knew their heads should always be up with their eyes on the ball because if they look down in a real game they will miss the shot.
The 2nd activity was a progression to this where I set up a few cones to the side of the goal, the goalkeepers had to use small steps to work their way through the cones before sidestepping across the goal to save a shot at the far post. Again they key point was keeping their heads up and looking at whether their footwork was quick enough to get them from one side of the goal to the other in time. In general the goalkeepers were very good at this so me and Andy decided that it would be beneficial for the goalkeepers to save a 2nd shot, meaning they would have to get up and set themselves for the 2nd shot. This went very well but I noticed a problem with Mike’s technique when catching the ball, so I took him to the side to explain and demonstrate what was wrong. He was leaning back when catching the ball, often causing him to fall backwards and sometime drop the ball. I explained to Mike that it was important for him to set himself by leaning forwards slightly and getting his hands up and ready for the ball, this would stop him falling backwards and dropping it. When Mike re-joined the activity you could see an improvement although sometimes he slipped back into his old routine.
These activities had finished a lot quicker than I expected so I asked Andy whether he had any ideas as to what we could do he advised a triangle structure that would mean one goalkeeper working and the other 3 serving the ball. This was a hard physical activity for the goalkeepers but they very much enjoyed and I am going to use it again next week. After this we joined with another group to play a game of ‘Last Keeper Standing’ this is a simple and competitive game that the boys always seem to enjoy. They basically have a shot taken at them if they save it they stay in but if they concede they are out. It is a good activity to end a session on.
I have learn tonight that I need to prepare more activities in my session so that I am prepared if we finish quickly I will bare this in mind when planning for next week.

Luke Shearing
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Friday, 2 November 2012

Worcester Goalkeeping Academy Session 2

Friday 12th October: Worcester Goalkeeping Academy Session 2
This session started with me being introduced to Ashley an experienced and well qualified goalkeeping coach who I would be working with this evening. It was good to see how Ashley works as he was clearly a very good coach. We talked about what sort of things we should work on during the session and decided on footwork and handling as they are clearly key aspects of a goalkeeper’s game. We set up the 1st drill and then the goalkeepers arrived to start the session.
Ashley led a brief warm-up before asking me to do some dynamic stretching with the ‘keepers. I duly did this and took them through some basic dynamic stretching such as open the gate and close the gate. After I had finished doing this we went back over to Ashley and started the 1st drill. I went in a pair with Freddy as we had an odd number, the same as last week. We did a basic footwork drill which involved me shouting out a number and Freddie side footing his was to the cone whilst always looking forwards at me, the server. Once Freddie had touched the cone he would have to set himself back in the middle ready for me to volley the ball straight at him. This was a good experience for me has I was able to help Freddie with a number of aspects of his footwork, particularly making sure he kept his body facing forwards. After this we continued to do some work on footwork with handling and I helped Mike with his handling because he was not using the W shape in his hands, often causing him to spill the ball. Once we went through the 'W' technique for catching the ball properly I saw a large improvement of Mikes handling, I just had to keep reminding him about it so he got into the rhythm of doing it every time.
We finished with small game where the goalkeepers would have to turn away from goal wait for the shout from Ashley saying ‘turn’ then a shot would come at them from one of 3 angles meaning they had to react to it. They would then have to try and catch it. If they spilled it one of the other 2 goalkeepers could try and tap it in, ‘sniffers’. If the goalkeeper didn’t let a goal in after 3 shots he had kept a clean sheet and got 1 point. If the ‘sniffers’ tapped the ball in at any point they would also get 1 point. This was a good competitive end to our little session.
As with last week all of the small groups got together at the end to do a crossbar challenge and once again I failed to hit it. At the end Julia came up to me and explained they were short on numbers for the next 3 weeks with coaches. She asked me whether I could lead a session on my own with my own set of goalkeepers, I of course said yes as this will give me valuable experience for coaching on my own. I look forwards to next week, better get planning!

Luke Shearing

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Worcester Goalkeeping Academy: Session 1

Friday 5th October: Worcester Goalkeeping Academy session 1

Tonight I had my first session as a coach at the Worcester Goalkeeping Academy. I used it as a taster session for myself to see whether it would be the sort of thing I am interested in doing. It definitely is! When I got there I spoke to Julia (who runs the academy) briefly and she explained to me what it was all about and how they run their sessions. She explained to me that she would be taking the kids (aged 7-14) to a class room where they would go over various techniques they should be using and how they could improve their own techniques. While they were doing us the coaches would set up various drills that their groups would complete when the kids came back out. I was partnered with Wayne who had his own group to coach for the evening, I would be shadowing and helping Wayne to find out about the sort of thing they do in the sessions. Whilst the kids were in the classroom all of the coaches got together and had a bit of shooting at each other to warm up, this was a very good experience for me and I enjoyed having some shots at me and taking some at the other keepers.

The kids then came back out and we were all set up and ready for the session, Wayne told me that we would be focusing on distribution for this session. After a quick warm up with the kids we went straight into the 1st drill which was very basic distribution, we had a group of 3 kids aged around 10 and it was interesting to see their levels of distribution which all and all was very good. I was partnered with Freddie and we were rolling, throwing, drop kicking and goal kicking the ball to each other over increasing distances. I was very impressed with the level of Freddie’s distribution in particular and I helped him a bit with his goal kick techniques telling him to focus on kicking the bottom of the ball and to get underneath the ball to increase height and accuracy. We then moved onto a drill which saw each of the keepers save one shot before having to throw the ball to a coloured cone, the colour of which one they have to throw to was shouted as they saved. This was a good drill as it tested their accuracy when throwing over arm under time pressure. The final game we played as a group was distribution golf. Each ‘keeper had to kick the ball off of a cone aiming for the ‘hole’, then their next shot would be an over arm throw and they would finish, if close enough, with an under arm roll into the hole. This was good because it tested the whole range of distribution that we had practised throughout the whole session.

The session as a whole ended with all 20 (ish) goalkeepers, from the whole academy, having a go at the crossbar challenge, the younger you were the closer you were allowed to have a go from. Each keeper had 2 goes, but there were no hits. Then all the coaches had a go and everybody missed, including me. This was a good way of finishing a good session as it added a competitive element to the evening.

I’m already looking forward to next week.

Luke Shearing

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All Goalkeepers Are Crazy

Welcome to my new blog: 'All Goalkeepers Are Crazy'.

This blog will mainly be about my experiences of being a goalkeeper and about the coaching sessions I do with young goalkeepers on a Friday evening. The first proper post will be up shortly, I hope you enjoy it.

Luke Shearing