Cech’s Praise & The Art of Shifting Focus
May 19, 2007
Could you imagine your skull seriously damaged, Peter Cech has been there this year? I guess we get so caught up in the game that we forget how fragile we really are, especially as goalkeepers. The Premiership is a tough gig. I trained at Bury FC and with Sutton United amongst many top young Chelsea juniors, and it is definitely one of the toughest competitions in the world. Just today, Petr Cech has praised Edwin Van de Saar for his well deserved title as the best goalkeeper in the English Premiership, he learnt many valuable lessons from Van de Saar growing up, as did I.
In a period of dynamic transition within the world game many years ago, the back pass rule either made you as a goalkeeper or broke you apart. Savvy goalkeepers learnt the value of training to kick with both feet, and those that did learnt a valuable lesson in the growing requirement for goalkeepers to be both defensive and attacking in nature. Cech credits his early development much to Edwin Van de Saar, as a goalkeeper who transitioned well in an increasingly attacking game.
Therefore, as tonight showdown looms ominous for many Chelsea and Man United fan, with a new era of football and a shining new Wembley Stadium, I feel it is necessary for all of us as goalkeepers to transition our mindset to letting go, and being strong in attack and defence. Goalkeepers should be learning constantly as Petr Cech did, from an opponent who he respects and whom as a young goalkeeper growing up, learnt the necessity of kicking in a constantly shifting role as a competitive goalkeeper.
"I saw him when he was still playing for Ajax in the Champions League final. At that time he was a great example when the new role came that the goalkeeper cannot pick up back passes.
"Everybody could see that he was playing well with both feet and they were using him a lot.
"He showed that in the future everyone should develop their kicking. When he played in that final I was 13, it was 1995, and for me he was a good example for one of the ways I should work."
Cech’s analysis is ominous as it shows that great goalkeepers look for trends, and shifting styles of play to enhance their game. What every goalkeeper and goalkeeper trainer should do is observe the transition and dynamics of today’s game. What is being done well…what isn’t? Instill and test the things that are working with repetition, and discard the things that are not up to scratch. Simplify the process of a better kick with practice.
Ante Seric (whom I played with at Sydney United) would train every night when he went off to the AIS, practicing his kicking with both feet. Yes, Ante would stay up late, when other guys would sneak out and party, practicing his kicking to perfection. Let me tell you that when Ante kicks with his left, watch out, and with his right, well, you’ll be one sorry goalkeeper. Therefore, take Petr Cech’s advice and train hard to maximize your kicking with both feet. Great goalkeepers know how to use both, just like Edwin van De Saar.