October 30, 2007
We spoke about Rogerio Ceni of Sao Paulo a while back, and this guy truly amazes me. Not just because of a keen self awareness of his goalkeeping ability, but because he “thinks outside of the square”. Ceni has to date scored 77 goals, and the below video (thanks to the guys at The Offside) was his 6th goal this season. Goalkeepers whom just “keep” goals are slowly becoming an extinct breed, but goal keepers like Ceni form the new mold of goalkeeping hybrid (sounds like I’m selling a Toyota Prius)!
Now what I mean, when I say “think outside your square”, is that the goalkeeper should never be restrained by their 18 yard box. To an extent, that big ugly 18 yard box is at best a visual deterrent, that is constraining you to move forward and aid attack…Ceni knows this, and utilizes his other goalkeeping abilities potently. So the question is, what do you have to fear?
If you fail, you fail. The conundrum is where a goalkeeper never learns from their mistakes. Taking risks (calculated of course) is a sign of great goalkeeping, as with great risks come great rewards…think back to Yashin, whom modernized the goalkeepers role on the field. Rogerio Ceni is a phenomenal case study into the role of the new age goalkeeper. Goalkeeping school is in session…so take some notes.
October 29, 2007
Juande Ramos, is asking for heads to roll, kind of like the French Revolution type of head rolling, and Paul Robinson, is being pin pointed as a potential target. Sources say that the new White Hart Lane boss is looking to Spanish Andres Palop as his new custodian. I believe firmly that the decision (real or not, depending on the source) is a wise business strategy, as Paul Robinson’s display of late have been terrible….oh, you didn’t know about that already?
Facing the inevitable axe from your pole position as a goalkeeper can be extremely daunting, but the situation aligns itself with being able to put together a strategy to overcome weaknesses:
Don’t Just Hide Behind Strengths: Analyze your ability overall. Look at the top 5 situations where you have conceded goals throughout the season. Was it from a corner situation? Maybe your team has conceded penalties consistently, and you have found you have let through goals mostly from this situation. Whatever the flaw may be (and we have many of them), the aim is to not just play to your strengths, but to iron out weaknesses to become a “complete” goalkeeper.
Show Your Attacking Flair: Great goalkeepers are strong in every aspect of their game, which leads to consistency throughout the season. You can’t hide behind a great defense, and you can’t just rely on one style of play. Many critics do not understand that attacking styles of play will entail an open goal, but goalkeepers also need to know that they have to adapt to attacking play. Their seems to be this “box mentality” with many goalkeepers (yup, including this one). It is no use to fear the inevitable transitions in play, you must learn to adapt.
Paul Robinson is a great goalkeeper, regardless of what any arm chair critic thinks. But, the ability to be constantly scrutinised and shine through any verbal vomit that people may throw at you is a sign of professionalism. If Robinson is facing relegation, and to boot, any of you reading this, do not take it a a sign of defeat. Take what you have learned from the mistakes you have made, and let yourself and your goalkeeping ability grow.
October 24, 2007
First I read about Artur Boruc of Celtic spitting chips at his club and team mates (with applaud from some Celtic fans), and then I hear about Jens Lehmann poke a forked toungue over at Arsene Wenger and his other rival at club level Manuel Almunia (Gunners fans must ask if this guy is for real?) Is it necessary? It seems when you start pointing fingers, or talking about how you’ve received the hard end of the stick, you’re really shifting the focus away from the problem..your attitude. But there are two sides to this story.
Artur Boruc: You can’t deny the Pole anything…he is world class, and brings in brilliant performances week in and week out. But with incidents such as the hiccup with fellow Celtic team mate Lee Naylor the other month do you blame him? How would you feel when your own team mates are against you? I know I’d be gutted…and this is with Boruc creating awesome goalkeeping performances on a consistent basis. This is what he said:
“I don’t have to like anybody – and I don’t. I don’t like them, I don’t like the club and I don’t like the players – end of story.
Now to a certain extent I agree with Boruc. At the highest echelons of professional football, you don’t need to believe in anyone but you…first and foremost. I’ve been in situations where no matter how hard I tried to communicate with team mates, there would always be some egg head with a chip on their shoulder. You can either take it to heart, or a grain of salt. I wouldn’t go so far as to blame the club, or all your players for stupid indifference, but who knows what kind of situation Boruc is in?
Jens Lehmann: Poor old Jens is showing an ego that towers over the highest peaks of the Himalayas. Now, the other thing is that Jens just can’t leave his motor mouth in idle. It is a sign of a once very good goalkeeper slipping. When the blame is everyone other than you…who is really to blame? Wouldn’t the answer to that question be…well, you? He kind of sounds like the worst bit of a Greek tragedy…
“I think – and this is aimed at my dear manager – one shouldn’t humiliate players for too long. “
Now I “used” to appreciate Lehmann as a goalkeeper, but when you start jabbing at a brilliant mind such as Wenger, then it obviously speaks volumes of your own flaws. Whether decisions made at a high level are wrong or right…the best thing to do (especially at a very high professional level of football) is for you to keep quite, learn and adapt to the situation, especially for the goalkeeper. There can only be one goalkeeper on the field, and this is the cosmic joke…sometimes you won’t be in favour. Patience is a virtue, they say.
October 24, 2007
Trying to find an online soccer retailer that goes a little bit further than just your average swipe ‘em and forget ‘em type of mentality could pan out to be a hard search. Fortunately, there is one online soccer retailer who provides a great range of soccer gear and good service to boot. SoccerPro is an online store with a super array of soccer gear, at good prices with after sales service facilities that will keep you coming back for more. Let’s take a look inside SoccerPro.
Soccer hasn’t catapulted to the main stream sports world as many had hoped when David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy but there is still a lot of optimism that surrounds soccer in the United States. Much
like the emergence of Tiger Woods in Golf, we may not see the true effect of Beckham’s arrival for years to come. Beckham’s arrival to the states brought with it record sales of David Beckham jerseys of both the home and away version of the LA Galaxy.
Of course, it pales in comparison with what the sale of Manchester United Jerseys that are sold each year. Be sure to check out SoccerPro.com for both of these jerseys for that soccer fan in your family this holiday season. Another great aspect of the SoccerPro.com is of course their great supply of all the latest in goalkeeper equipment. I was trying to find an original Gianluigi Buffon jersey for quite some time to no avail (they sell like hot cakes) and low and behold SoccerPro.com had them in stock and ready to ship at a whim!
Other very cool features of the overall SoccerPro.com shopping experience include:
Online gift certificates of up to $200 value, which are a very cool gift idea.
Kids Corner for all the latest in kids soccer shoes, kids soccer jerseys etc…
1800 number that provides very good service.
Hot Sellers List so that you can check out all the best selling items on SoccerPro.com.
SoccerProse blog that has some very cool training tips as well.
There are a tonne of other stuff for soccer players of all ages, shapes and sizes!
So, check out SoccerPro.com for all the latest in soccer gear from around the world.
(Note: This is a sponsored review)
Have a soccer, fitness or diet related product you would like Keeper Skool to review? Click here to learn more…
October 22, 2007
Anti Niemi certainly knows the answer to the above question. Having seen the replays, I must admit it was a great performance (subsequently, You Tube decided to remove the video) and if you had watched the game between Fulham and Bolton, Niemi earned his wages…and then some commission to boot, so you should have taken some notes! But the surprising thing here, is that Niemi has been facing the goalkeeping doldrums much like his fellow Premier League counterparts and decided to turn it around with a blistering goalkeeping display, and this with only 10 men on the field…how did he do it?
Changing The Mental Focus: So, as a goalkeeper facing the looming possibility that you just may well get the boot if you pull in another poor display, you have two choices. Number one entails that you curl up in a little ball and suck your thumb on the bench…or, take choice number two. With your second choice you can decide to suck it in, and get cracking on keeping your lifeline intact.
The Fulham boss was quoted as saying:
“You are supposed to be my number one, so go out there and show me what you are capable of”
Followed after by:
“Niemi earned his money and it`s about time. He let in seven goals in three games and was at fault.”
Becoming results oriented and thinking about the task at hand allows for a goalkeeper to “focus”. Knowing that you are under considerable pressure should not be the centre of your “focus”. Taking in positive aspects of your goalkeeping game and commanding your thoughts toward the basics is key to success. Keeping it simple, without going too overboard will allow any goalkeeper to maintain a consistency in their game, and get the results to boot.
Become The Other Man: Goalkeeping has really become an attacking art form. Every play, counter and contra must result in quick and speedy plays to outfield players. Niemi showed that in times where the team is a man down, the goalkeeper must become that “other” man. If it means stepping out of your comfort zone, then so be it, that is your role.
Knowing how to aid your defense and command it to cover up holes is the mark of good goalkeeping. Being able to throw in spectacular saves to the mix is what makes a “man of the match” goalkeeper. Although Niemi at times has been a little slack in coming off his goal line, he showed that great positioning and reflex, with good command goes a long way.
October 18, 2007
My South American connection, Paco (a very accomplished college goalkeeper in the States), threw a great message to me the other day to have a look at young Mexican international Memo Ochoa. Now, at only 23 years of age, this super goalkeeper has played at an elite level in Mexico, represented his nation, won a title with his club America at home and internationally…and there is still so much to watch from this exciting young goalkeeper. I’ll let the following video do most of the talking:
The kid is kind of funny looking, but he saves a ball better than some of the “best” in the business. A few things:
- Extremely Good Communication: Ochoa seems in perfect synch with his defensive line. Being able to manoeuvre your players for your own advantage, like Ochoa does, helps fortify any attempt on your goal. Ochoa knows how to use hand signals and verbal communication very powerfully and forcefully, which gives his back line extreme confidence, and it shows.
- Great Distribution: Ochoa seems to throw the ball out with great accuracy, which is vital in quick offensive plays, and a powerful tool for any goalkeeper to utilize when aiding their attack from counter plays.
- Excellent Positioning & Spatial Awareness: In many of the above snippets we see extremely confident positioning, and a strong awareness of his surrounding area. Ochoa can utilize his positioning to conserve energy when he needs it most. You don’t always have to dive for the ball! Sometimes great footwork and great positioning is all that is needed, to make a “great” save.
There are other brilliant aspects tp his game, like agility and great hand-eye co-ordination with his saves. Overall, Ochoa is a great goalkeeper to learn from, kind of like the South American Casillas! Muchas Gracias to Paco for introducing our readers to the powerful goalkeeping styles of the South Americans…believe me there is more to come!
October 17, 2007
Valencia and German shot stopper Timo Hildebrand thinks that playing the waiting game is a good goalkeeping strategy, while he replaces Jens Lehmann ahead of a clash with the Czech Republic. There are a few pretty strong comments here that Hildebrand suggested, which resonate with the virtue of patience in goalkeeping. Playing the waiting game, for a goalkeeper at least, can be utilized effectively as a strategy for growth, following are some of the comments that Hildebrand had suggested.
“The goalkeeping hierarchy has been set and our coach has told us which roles we have to play…”
Sometimes pushing against (think US Women’s International Hope Solo) the powers that be, can be detrimental, no matter how right you think you are. It is a great thing to want the number one spot, but the road to number one (in goalkeeping terms), is one super long road to travel. In the team dynamic, sometimes playing the waiting game will aid you in evaluating the weaknesses of your opponent…write them down and exploit them.
If you are third string keeper (for example) in a highly competitive team, set the goal, as to when you envision yourself being number one (be realistic of course). After every training session write down your strengths and weaknesses as opposed to your opposition, and develop a plan to iron out the weaker aspects of your goalkeeping, and take advantage of the pitfalls of your opposition, it may be mental or physical.
In the above scenarios, be sure to talk to your coach as to where they see you in the team dynamic, and what areas you need to improve on to get yourself ready for the next step up. But, for the love of all that is Holy, don’t let ego, or poor attitude ruin your chances and reputation amongst team mates and coaching staff. Work hard, and the rest will come. Hildebrand offers some very good advice that you should all heed.
“We mustn’t fight each other but work together for the good of the team.”
“Jens will retire from international football at some point and I reckon I will then get my chance to play in the national team.”
Both the above are great comments, and should be taken into perspective with your own game. Fighting does you no good, both with your team mates and coaching staff, nor mentally for that matter. I think the ruckus we had seen between Lehmann and Khan were mostly because Lehmann, being the younger Keeper (compared to Khan at least) has hit an age where he will only have a few good years in him before he retires, and wanted game time so he could say that he made an impact for the German national squad.
The mistake on Lehmann’s part was that he took it to the media, and smashed heads with a national goalkeeping hero. Take into consideration that sometimes things do not go the way you want them with this little art we call goalkeeping. Utilize your time waiting effectively, via mapping out a strategy for success, that exploits the weaknesses of your competitors vying for the same spot.
October 12, 2007
The bit-slinging continues between German goalkeeping legend Oliver Khan and Arsenal’s Jens Lehmann, which reminds me of a soppy episode of Days of Our Lives (Mum watches it ok…not me)! It speaks volumes about how not to treat your fellow goalkeeping team mate. When ego gets in the way, things get messy and both Lehmann and Khan have represented themselves and their country poorly.
Camraderie Is Everything: In a competitive environment, nothing is more potent for the success of an individual goalkeeper, than to have someone there who is in the same situation competing with you, and supporting you at the same time (it’s not always a reality). Having a fellow goalkeeper drive you to succeed is a great thing. Look at this recent article of the praise Martin Poom has for Paul Robinson, even though they are competing for the same position. Being callous toward your fellow goalkeeper, does no favours for yourself or the rest of the team.
Both Goalkeepers Have a Role: It is usually the case where a junior goalkeeper comes up against a senior goalkeeper, and is itching for their position where situations and relationships can become strained. In the grand scheme of things, you have to understand your role. Playing at the highest competitive level for any goalkeeper entails fortitude and patience. Going gun g-ho on your fellow goalkeeper can only damage your development and role in the team dynamic.
Learn From Great Teachers: Khan (in my view) is one of the best goalkeepers of his time, I think that Lehmann, even at the ripe old age of 38 could learn some great things from Khan. As a younger goalkeeper waiting for their position within a highly competitive team, it is a great thing to learn from more senior team members. In the press it seems that Lehmann usually has the first shot at Khan.
At the best of times, being overly vocal about one’s role in the team (whether fair or not in your own eyes) only shows immaturity, and an unwillingness to develop. As competitive goalkeepers, we have to learn how to silence the noise around us, and focus on the task at hand, not the decision made by management on whom to play (that’s not your role). If you feel that over time you have not been given a fair chance, then talk it over with your manager, resolve it, if not, move on.
So, both Khan and Lehmann have not proved anything to themselves by taking slug shots at each other, nor have they shown any professionalism to other young goalkeepers whom may look up to them. Goalkeeper’s whom know how to support each other grow, while those that take cheap shots at each other usually get burnt out by all the negative attention they have attracted to themselves.
October 11, 2007
This new decision by FIFA to have goalmouth referee’s should be interesting. If having a crowded 18 yard area was not hard enough, the new rules set out by soccer’s governing body and being utilized in the Club World Cup in Japan may make life a little more difficult for blundering goalkeepers in elite competition.
The president of Japanese Football suggested that the pace of the game is entering warp speed, and that having only a ref and two linesman is not sufficient enough? Apart from utilizing more officials in the goal area, FIFA are also working with Adidas to place a microchip in their ball that is aligned with goal line technology. Are we killing the game…ripping away the controversy and excitement by making it overly scientific? Or are we weeding out cheats and teams that get a free ride, thus making the game more efficient?
Overall I think that having these measures has its advantages, but everyone like a “Hand of God” or a Roy Carroll, David James and Paul Robinson blunder. The aforementioned flaws bring character to the game, gives supporters something to talk about for years to come. In the rush to be become more efficient, are FIFA missing the point when it comes to the introduction of new technologies into the game? Are we becoming so efficient with football, so clinical, that we are dipping the game into a sterile test tube?
What is next, bionic goalkeeping gloves? The mind doth boggle. Speaking of goaline goalkeeping blunders, everyone needs to check out this video, which was first shown at The Offiside:
After seeing this mess, maybe goulmouth referee’s and technology will weed out…well, poor goalkeeping!
October 8, 2007
Just caught glance of this post about Mark Bosnich over at The Offside. The following video gives a great insight into a former champion goalkeeper’s view on how to raise oneself out of adversity and try to re-claim one’s position in the top flight of the English Premiership.
Transforming Your Attitude: Hitting a low with cocaine abuse, Bosnich has shown that with some resilience, you can overcome the adversity you face when you hit a stumbling block in life. Success, is really about attitude…150%. Bosnich could have curled up and hid away from his problems, but he took a step back, reassessed his situation and came back to his game when he felt his head was right, which is admirable.
Don’t Know What You Got Until It’s Gone: When Bosnich left the game he did not miss it, but having just got back onto the park he has got the fire back again. Sometimes when you are away from the game for too long (especially when you are injured, or just turning away from the game frustrated), you never really realize how integral a part of your life football is, especially when you have been doing it for so long.
Who’s Got Your Back?: Great too see that Ed de Gooey had faith in Bosnich, when his initial reaction to seeing Bosnich back on the training field was one of shock. Great to have a support network, when coming back from a low, especially (more than any other player on the field) for the competitive goalkeeper. Having great trainers, friends and family support helps maintain you in a healthy mental state which is vital for great goalkeeping.
Fitness Really Is First: Knowing the hurdles that Bosnich faced, it was great to see that his focus is still on fitness. Health is everything, probably one of the main reasons why I tell our G-Code customers that technique is one small facet of your training, but fitness is everything.
You’re Not Too Far Gone: Bosnich cites Van de Saar, James and Friedel as great examples that ageing goalkeepers are in vogue, and that Bosnich still has time to work his way back into top flight football. In his own words “Age is no barrier”, and again his main focus is fitness and clean living which is a solid view to have.
Stay On Your Toes: Be consistent and stay at your peak at all times, with a focus on maintaining your fitness via a solid periodized plan that focuses on pre season, in season and end season training regimes.
Prove It Too Yourself: Bosnich says he wants to prove it to himself and his family. Being able to show that you have come back from nothing to your family and closest friends is important for growth. It shows maturity in Bosnich, and I applaud him for that.
Luck Is Labours Reward: Bosnich felt he was lucky to have come to England at a young age and to be gifted the opportunities he had (although he subsequently blew it). Now his focus is again on getting super fit. If you work hard enough, and are gifted a chance, stay focused on maintaining peak physical condition and the rest comes easy.
The video is also a great insight into the training methodology of Ed de Gooey at QPR, and it is good to see the hard work and effort that top flight goalkeepers put into their development, so take some notes.