December 30, 2007
Looking back, it seems that the whole year has just flashed by at warp speed. Not only did I get back between the sticks for the first time in two years since my knee operation, but I also took the plunge and released The G-Code and our free 10 Weeks To Goalkeeping Success Report, when I thought that maybe no one would be interested in what I had to say…boy was I wrong!
Not only did we sell 100+ copies of The G-Code, we have 2768 people who have read our free report thus far, we cracked 19,280 unique visitors in August which is mind blowing for such a small niche soccer blog. We’ve added many new writers, whom have an excellent track record as competitive goalkeepers and world class trainers, plus managers of large football clubs.
With 2008, my resolution is to go all out, and with the redesign of “your” site we will be launching a full back end membership website, something that will be both challenging and highly rewarding. I expect a lot of feedback from all of our readers in regards to the new site design and the membership website. What you can expect is many videos, podcast interviews with football professionals, and possibly a forum so members can chat together and share ideas and tips.
Anyway, I asked some of our writing team to give me some feedback in regards to what they felt were the best posts from month to month over the year of 2007. Following are some of the best posts for this year (as voted by our writing team…thanks Ryan), hope you enjoy and learn. Let’s make 2008 a stand out year for Keeper Skool.
January – 5 Lessons Learned From Goalkeeping
April – Those Hard Yards- Game 1
September – With Goalkeeping, Experience Is Everything
October – Memo Ochoa – Memorize That Name
November – How Gianluigi Buffon Warms Up
December – Who’s To Blame When A Team Concedes
If there are other posts that you feel might be beneficial to the rest of our readers post them in the comment section of this post, and tell us why you felt it was so good.
All the best for the New Year everyone!
December 30, 2007
I was surfing around You Tube looking at training video’s and I came across this one from Scotland. It is a little dated, but not anything that you would notice. However it does give a few great drills for the youth goal keeper and some more advanced drills for the keepers that are working their way up. Take a look and see what you think, I know during my training sessions I utilize all of these drills and I focus my attention to the footwork. Especially in youth training, watch the footwork of these professional keepers.
December 29, 2007
In many soccer communities it is a common belief that soccer players in the U8- U12 age groups should not specialize in the goalkeeper position. Young players must be exposed to and given time to play in goal as well as all the other positions on the field.
Specialization at too early of an age anywhere on the soccer field may result in the development of a limited perspective on the game. Young players may fail to develop the skills & insights necessary to become a complete player. This has the potential to hamper them later in their careers, as the demands of the game increase in intensity and complexity.
As young players are introduced to the goalkeeping position, the training should be simple, specific, and developed with the focus on the very essentials of goalkeeping. Specific training should be aimed at teaching proper catching technique and movement in and around the front of the goal. All training must move from simple to complex. There is little need at this time to focus on the advanced technical work required of older keepers.
The upper end of the age level or the U11-U12 age group instruction should involve positioning. Goalkeeping coaches should stress the importance of protecting the near post, teaching how to cut down the angle, and developing the confidence and understanding of why keepers move across the goal mouth as the ball moves across the field.
The lower end of the age level or the U8 – U9 age group instruction should include activites that focus on coordination, balance and how and when to come off the line for free balls in the penalty area where keepers can handle the ball.
Developing these specific technical skills and understandings at the youngest ages ensures a strong foundational start which will allow these potential keepers to develop into the next levels of goalkeeping with success and confidence.
Peter Mastrogiovanni is the Goalkeeper Instructor for the Doug Miller Soccer Academy and holds a Master’s Degree in Education. He has over 21 years of goalkeeper experience as a Goalkeeper and Goalkeeper Instructor.
December 29, 2007
You’ve aligned your wall just right, positioned yourself in the sweet spot between the sticks, your opposition steps up to take the free kick. He/she strikes it with such cunning efficiency that it spins into the net with smashing force, leaving you standing, looking on dumbfounded. Been there before? Yes, every goalkeeper has. Strikers like David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo are such masters in the art of the free kick situation that they utilize limitations (knowingly or not) in the human visual system ruthlessly to their advantage.
Rocket-like Ronaldo Free Kick Makes Mockery of Sunderland’s Craig Gordon
When Manchester United played Sunderland the other night, Ronaldo’s free kick was struck with such accuracy and speed, that it left Craig Gordon, firmly planted to the ground, unable to do anything but watch on in confusion. Following are some video highlights of the game between Manchester United and Sunderland (study Ronaldo’s goal and take some notes):
Phycisists Insights Into Why The Best Free Kick Takers Are So Efficient
This recent Times Online article discusses some of the reasons why goalkeepers are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to the free kick situation. One important suggestion in the article pointed to the mechanics behind David Beckham’s kicking style during a free kick:
“Beckham’s run-ups are longer and from an acute angle, which allows him to generate extra spin and control as he massages his instep around the ball, striking it well wide of the centre to send it spinning.
Why is Beckham so effective? Talent, practice and the Magnus force. That is the name for the effect by which spin reduces the air pressure on one side of the ball and increases it on another, making it swerve.
Physicists have estimated that over 30 metres, a ball can deviate upwards or sidewards from its normal straight course by as much as four metres. Dr Ken Bray, a sports scientist at the University of Bath, found that Beckham kicks the ball at 70mph and makes it spin ten times a second. By angling the spin direction, Beckham pulls the ball down as well as across, using top spin, like a tennis player, so the ball slows and dips. “
Compelling Study Shows Limited Human Visual System Limits Goalkeepers Ability To React To Free Kick Situations
Early last year I came across an article , that pointed to the limitations in our human visual system, and phenomenon such as Magnus Force (as stated in the article above). Utilizing precise technique, and the dynamics of the modern ball, players like Ronaldo play on the limitations in our own visual systems and perception.
Springer (2006, May 19). Eyeballs Vs Footballs: Limitations Of Human Visual System Hinders Goalkeepers From Predicting Free Kicks, published a fantastic article that studied 11 players from AC Milan, Olympique de Marseille, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke 04 (9 of whom were goalkeepers) who were asked to judge whether a simulated free kick would end up in the goal or not using a modern virtual reality system.
“The viewpoint was fixed in the centre of the goal. When there was no spin, balls arriving directly opposite the goal were consistently judged to be entering the goal.
When the ball was spinning clockwise, the resulting trajectories – from the point of view of the goalkeeper – unfolded on the right-hand side of the no-spin trajectory, resulting in a goal only if the striker shot from left of the central position in front of the goal.
For conditions where the ball was spinning counter-clockwise, the balls landed in the goal only when they – from the view of the striker – were kicked from the right-hand side of the no-spin trajectory. There was no difference between the judgements of the field players and goalkeepers.”
Notes To Take Away From The Above Studies
The above findings show that there are inherit deficiencies in the human visual system that make it difficult for goalkeepers to judge the arrival point of a ball being kicked in a shooting situation subject to an additional “accelerated” influence (AKA…Ronaldo or Becks kicking the crap out of the ball with blinding force). So there are a few things to take away from all of the above jargon. Free kick situations are profoundly effected by:
- Trajectory and power of the shot.
- Phenomenon called the Magnus force, where a ball spinning around an axis, gives rise to an acceleration that is perpendicular to the direction of the ball. This causes a lateral deviation in the ball’s trajectory.
- Deviation of the ball (up, down and sideways) when it is struck from a distance (such as a free kick situation) and deviates from it’s normal straight line path.
- New technology in the modern ball that are aerodynamically efficient compared to previous overly panelled and stitched footballs making the ball faster in it’s trajectory over a longer distance.
So, often times than not, although seemingly to the public eye, a goalkeeper looks like a stunned mullet when they’ve let one slip by into the net during a free kick situation. Scientifically, we see that there are limitations in our own visual systems that make it difficult at times for goalkeepers to interpret when to attack the ball effectively.
Don’t be glum about not getting to the ball on time for a save when it comes to the free kick situation, as they say, practice makes perfect, and I’m certain that over time a goalkeeper can edge out indespcrepencies (not totally of course) in their own visual perception via repetitive training and a close study into the physics of the ball and the way in which top flight stars manipluate these situations to their advanatage.
December 28, 2007
I came across this awesome video on youtube and it shows some exercises which are used to prepare goalkeepers for professional and national team stage.
The video is almost 10 minutes long and includes some excellent exercises which can be added to your training programme if you are wanting to maximise your goalkeeping potential.
Footwork is the main focus within the first few minutes and the excessive use doesn’t include apparatus which cost over the top prices!
Here is the video…
December 27, 2007
You may not think that over 100 paid customers is much, but for a small niche soccer blog like Keeper Skool, it means the whole world. Since it’s launch in April 2007, The G-Code has really picked up in wider goalkeeping circles as a powerful resource for the competitive goalkeeper to enhance their diet and fitness. It has been a natural, organic growth, rather than me trying to shove the methodologies down your throat. But now I have larger plans for the site and the book as well.
Now, my goal is to make The G-Code the trusted world wide choice for goalkeeper trainers, academies and individual players when it comes to getting clued up on how to maximize goalkeeper fitness and diet. I thought initially that if I could get just a handful of people to read the e-book, it would do me proud, but 100 (excluding customers paying via other forms of payment) is a great accomplishment for myself and the rest of the Keeper Skool team, so now I want to take it to 1000 new sales in the next year….and I think we’ll do it too!
Our sales of The G-Code could not be accomplished without some dedication from partners such as Soccerlens, Our Football Media Network, Ziga Zoga, Kaliaaer and of course our exemplary readers. Currently in the works is a total re-design of the Keeper Skool blog which you will see early next year, and there will be a tonne of stuff going on that will surprise and gob smack you into greater goalkeeping performance!
So again, thanks to all of you who have contributed to the sites success and whom have already picked up a copy of The G-Code for yourselves. If you are looking at enhancing your goalkeeping performance through better fitness and diet (especially for the New Year), then pick up a copy of The G-Code here.
Thanks again, wishing you all the best for the festive season and greater goalkeeping performance for the New Year.
December 26, 2007
Almunia might well have cemented his number one position with Arsenal over Jens Lehmann, but it seems the Spaniard will not shun talks pointing to his appointment as England’s next custodian? It may be a little too overly premature, and more media hype than anything else (didn’t my sensationalist headline reel you in?), but if you look at Almunia’s recent solid performances, and Capello’s recent appointment, anything may be possible.
Almunia faces two very rough roads, where in Spain he has never been thought of as a possible number one candidate as goalkeeper over Casillas, Canizares and Reina. On the other hand, England has faced a so called “goalkeeping crisis” with poor performances from Robertson, James and recently Carson. So Almunia, along with many other international candidates plying their trade in England may have the possibility to throw their hands up for the pole position in goals if they can gain citizenship.
Back to Almunia v Lehmann over at Arsenal. I found this recent video of something called “Crossbar Challenge” (something like that Nike video with Ronahldinho hitting the ball at the crossbar, if you’ve ever seen it), and it featured many of Arsenal’s players, plus a cameo by Lehmann (who misses hitting the crossbar, but very close) and also Almunia, whom wins the competition outright with an awesome kick.
You can check out the video here:
Maybe a little kicking comp will help pan out the next best candidate for England’s number 1 jersey?
December 26, 2007
Paul Jewell recently made it known that he is very disappointed in his squad’s defending. After their draw with Newcastle, the Derby County boss said “The two goals Newcastle scored were from absolutely shambolic defending by us.”
As goalkeepers, one of the first things we learn is that it isn’t necessarily our fault when goals are scored. Jewell seems to be content to blame the team’s defending. After all, the ball has to get through ten other players before we have our chance, and when the shot is good enough, what is the goalkeeper to do?
However, I don’t believe that statement for a second. The fact is, goalkeepers should have control of and influence on the team up and down the pitch. Because of this, the only correct conclusion is that when goals are conceded, the goalkeeper is always at fault, to some extent.
There are several ways that great goalkeepers distinguish themselves from good goalkeepers, and these characteristics ultimately lead to less goals being conceded.
Communication is the big one. As a goalkeeper, we have to demand that our players listen to us. We do this by giving commands in a confident voice (never panicked or stuttering). This instills confidence in the players that the goalkeeper is able to control the game and knows what they are talking about.
Perfection is our goal. When directing players, make sure they know exactly what is expected of them and exactly where they need to be. “Good enough” is never acceptable. Only “perfect” is acceptable.
Praise players when something is done right. A goalkeeper coach once told me that I give too much praise (he called it “chatter”). However, when a goalkeeper tells a player that they’re doing well, they take criticism a lot better. Players are more willing to listen to a goalkeeper who is on their side and has their back in every possible way.
Positioning is another key in goal prevention. Use the positioning trick I wrote about earlier. A goalkeeper should always make themselves as big as possible. If the attacker doesn’t notice the goalkeeper, they are not positioned properly. The attacker needs to realize that there is another player whose only goal in the next moment is to deny them their goal-scoring glory. It will throw them off and make them more mistake-prone.
Courage, confidence, and luck all play their part also. The courage to stand up the forward in a one-on-one situation. The confidence to collect all crosses in the danger area. The courage and confidence to make that one big save that will swing the momentum of the game and have the biggest impact on the final result (saving the penalty, the upper corner shot, or the last gasp effort). And of course, a goalkeeper has to have a certain amount of luck to ensure that they are at their best form at the right moments and are able to make that save.
Of course, if it is clear that the other team outplayed every player in front of the goalkeeper — outclassed them with their skill and managed to wriggle free of their tight marking and perfect positioning, produced the most magnificent finish the goalkeeper has ever faced — then hats off to them. They deserved it.
Barring this last scenario, every goal is preventable.
Liviu Bird is a young and avid sports writer and competitive goalkeeper playing for the Alaska Northstars State Select Team.
December 23, 2007
It’s always a great feeling as a goalkeeper when your card is up. When you have to prove your worth in front of your peers and show that you’re not just another bench warmer with a million dollar pay check lounging around sipping Gatorade from a tall glass on the sidelines (I don’t know where I come up with this material). Manuel Almunia has firmly cemented his spot as preferred number one ahead of Jens Lehmann and rightly so, with a stellar Arsenal performance against Tottenham the other night.
Now there were a few key things said by Wenger that really resonate with what being a persistent and patient goalkeeper entails:
“Manuel is a player who had no CV when he came here but he is creating one now,” he said. “When you do that in a big club, that is difficult, but he has worked hard and he is making his name now through his performances.
“I am not in the situation where I have any bad feelings towards Jens Lehmann. He is 200 per cent professional but we have three goalkeepers of top class and the two who do not play can feel that my decisions are not justified.” (Source: AFP).
Being able to stick to your guns over the long haul is something called pushing through “The Dip” (thanks Seth Godin), the difference between those that succeed, and those that fall off by the wayside (especially relevant in goalkeeping), is that those whom persist during the hard times (like trying to establish yourself in a large club or organization for that matter) win in the end. You can use the above thinking in your goalkeeping, where you must compete against more established or senior players.
The following video is a pre-match warm up video between Almunia and Lehmann at the beginning of the year:
Did you notice any slip ups in Lehmann’s game?
It will be extremely tough for Lehmann to re-establish himself in the number one position at Arsenal again, unless he practices some voodoo, or Almunia has a slip up at training (freaky things like this are known to happen). If Lehmann was more accepting of the fact that his words and attitude got him in a whole lot of mess, then maybe he would be given another chance after the initial blunders earlier this season?
December 21, 2007
Fans of Spanish football will have undoubtedly heard the news that new Valencia boss Ronald Koeman has decided that goalkeeper Santiago Canizares and captain midfielder David Albelda have been asked to leave the club.
Valencia were champions of Spain in 2004, but their recent downfall has seen them in 7th in La Liga and eliminated from European competition after finishing bottom of their UEFA Champions League group.
Koeman has been brought in to stop the bloodshed; he was hired on Halloween to replace Quique Sanchez Flores. Unfortunately, Valencia has since continued their nose dive.
Koeman believes that “younger players can change things” for the club, and because of that has apparently decided that everybody older than thirty is useless in professional football.
Albelda (30) and Canizares (38) are not the only ones on the chopping block. Miguel Angel Angulo (30) has also been binned, and rumors are that there are more on their way.
Unfortunately, Canizares has decided that this may be his last action in professional football. He appears to be convinced that he was meant to end his career with Valencia, and since they have seen fit to get rid of him, he might as well retire now.
I have to agree with Albelda’s comment that “the club’s leadership has no class.”
I don’t follow Spanish football very closely, and FC Barcelona are the only Spanish team that I can say that I actually like and enjoy watching. However, because of these recent events, I can wish nothing but bad fortune on Valencia. The decision to get rid of two fan favorites who led the club to the La Liga title in 2002, then once again in 2004, when Valencia also won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
As a goalkeeper, having had so much success at a club, the last thing Canizares probably expected was to get canned so unceremoniously by a new manager who has been at the club for nowhere near as long as he has. The lack of respect shown by the Dutchman just reminds me once again how unfair the world of football can be.
My heartfelt congratulations go out to Santiago Canizares and David Albelda for having such a successful run with a club. I’m sure wherever they go, they will be accepted easily. My hearty disgust goes out to Ronald Koeman and the rest of Valencia CF for further ensuring that their downward spiral through the league continues. I hope.
Liviu Bird is a young and avid sports writer and competitive goalkeeper playing for the Alaska Northstars State Select Team.