Coaching & training goalkeepers

Team trainings are necessary in developing the tactical skills a goalkeeper needs. It also enables the goalie to become an integral part of the teams defence and makes the defence trust his directions. cialis pills But the team training is not fit to train the specialist technical skills a goalkeeper needs. It is therefore imperative for the development of the goalkeeper that he receives specialised training to improve these skills. These specialist trainings require a special kind of coach who can bring out the best in his pupils.

What is a Goalkeeping Coach?
There are a lot of answers to the above question. In short it can be said that a GK coach is someone who facilitates the development and improvement of a goalkeeper both physically/technically and mentally. This sounds like two different fields, but in practice these are interwoven at the base of everything a goalkeepr does.

Contrary to a team coach who has a 1-on-many job, the GK coach has a 1-on-1 relationship with the goalkeeper. Even when training a group, you work with just 1 individual at a time. Therefore a GK coach must establish a bond of trust and friendship with his pupils. The goalkeeper must trust the coach to have his best interests at heart, but also not be afraid to speak his mind when he has a different view on things.

This bond is established not by just feeding balls, but by the way feedback is given, the GK’s ideas and views are discussed and by talking about the GK’s feelings about the team, the training and the games. In some occasions it can happen that during an entire training not a single ball is played because all the goalie needs is a good pep-talk and a venting of his frustrations and feeling.

The goalkeepers mental state
A goalkeeper has a special place in the team, this comes with special privileges and cool gear, but it requires a special mental state.
The GK can never be a match winner in the way an attacker can, but he can play a decisive role in the mental state of the entire team. A brilliant save can give the team the boost they need to turn the match in their favour. Also the GK must be ready for action during the entire game, not just physically, but also mentally. It can happen that a GK doesn’t have to do anything for the entire game, but must make a match winning save in the last minute. This requires a lot from the GK’s mental ability.

A GK coach must train his pupils to develop split second decision making, to never give up and be confident in themselves. A relaxed and controlled mind ensures relaxed and controlled movements.

The goalkeepers physical state
The specialist skills a GK requires demand a different physical state than that of his teammates. A thorough stamina base is required to be able to fulfil the full 70 minutes of a game as a GK is hardly ever substituted, but next to that core strength, sprint strength and quick recovery is needed.

Core strength is essential for a good ready position and explosive reflexes. Sprint strength is required because the short distances a GK needs to cover. And quick recovery is needed to be ready within a split second after each save.
The technical execution of the specialist GK skills must be trained by repetition and direct feedback. Repetition trains muscle memory and reduces reaction time, essential for any Goalkeeper. The feedback must prevent errors becoming habit.
The more control the GK has over his body, the better the execution of skills and the more controlled the movements will be.

Achieving your goals
To achieve the above states the GK coach must design his training sessions to the GK’s specific needs. The aim is to reduce the weak points and further improve the good points. Often GK-coaches concentrate too much on improving weak points, while further perfecting a GK’s strong points can prove a more solid alternative to substitute the weaker technique. For example: low stick/glove dive vs. splits.

The technique trainings are a means to give the GK confidence in his abilities and the feeling that he can save every ball. Drills with rebounds or extra attackers train the decision making abilities of a GK. Ask the GK to think of all the pro’s and con’s of different techniques to save a situation and show them in a drill. This is a very good method to enhance problem solving abilities.
The key is to push the GK to beyond his limits in a positive way, thus increasing his enjoyment of the game and making him want to be an even better Goalkeeper.

Becoming a GK coach
If you want to be a GK coach be ready to invest a lot of time. Watch games of your pupils to find their weak/strong points, research other keepers to see different styles, keep up to date with developments and set goals not only for your pupils, but for yourself as well.

Be creative when thinking up drills, don’t be afraid to use unconventional training aids. Make the drills realistic, designed to replicate game situations and suited to the level of play of the GK. Be critical to the way you are coaching to improve your didactical and psychological skills and make sure your hockey skills are up to the task.

But the most important thing is: Enjoy! There is nothing more rewarding then seeing one of your pupils making a world class save and leaving the pitch with a big smile on his face because he saved the championship.

Review of ROBO Hotpants

Review of ROBO Hotpants

After I had worn the CLOUD hotpants for a while I found I wanted a bit more protection so I upgraded to the ROBO hotpants.

Obo Robo Hotpants
OBO ROBO Hotpants

When I took them out of the bag they immediately felt a lot more solid then the Cloud. Made from all Lycra, good pockets for the padding and good thick padding. Because the padding is thicker and the shorts have small panels in the thigh area just above the main panels movement is not as unhindered as the Cloud. It took about 5 minutes to get used to them, so nothing really worth mentioning.

The fit is even better than the Cloud thanks to the Lycra. It follows your body and stretches with movements so the shorts stay in the right place no matter how weird the moves you make. With the ROBO overpants over them the fit is even better.

The open crotch design makes for a good interaction with the abdo-guard and enough ventilation. Also the lack of padding on the hips makes the pants less hot than some other brands that do have extra padding on the hips. You will get hot and sweaty, but it’s not a real problem.

During the first use, they felt a bit more bulky than the cloud, which is not strange with the thicker padding, but thanks to the Lycra movement is great. There was no breaking in time needed at all.

Just as I did when I got the CLOUD hotpants, I intentionally let a few shots hit the pants to test them and the thick padding did the job excellently. I felt the ball hit the shorts like you feel a ball hit a legguard, no pain or anything.

With the ROBO there isn’t a lot of padding on the side/hip area, just one pad on the hip bone, so when diving the landing can be quite hard. Also during sliding this can be somewhat of a miss. The pads did stay in the right place during the sliding and diving, so that’s a good thing. I currently use a football (soccer) goalie’s padded compression short as a baselayer and this does the job in cushioning the impact of a dive or slide.

I’ve had this one for a couple of years now and there is hardly any wear or tear. I have had to repair the seams around the pockets and the lock-stitching around the edges reasonably often, but as it’s a stretchy fabric there is not much you can do about that.

The outside Lycra around the hip padding shows signs of a hole forming due to sliding. When this wears through it will be a lot harder to repair than the Cloud is, but I doubt you will need to repair it. It will probably not cause a tear because Lycra doesn’t tear easily and by the time it does become a problem all the stretch will be gone from the pants so they will need to be replaced anyway.

I wash the pants every 2 or 3 months which is easy enough to do. Just take out the padding and put the shell in the machine. You can clean the padding with a mild soap and some lukewarm water. (Or just put it in the machine with the pants as I always do, but it’s not the “official” way to do it 😉 ) After everything has dried take your time to put back the padding because it can be a bit of a struggle. Which is a good thing because it means the padding will stay where it’s supposed to.

The above mentioned loss of stretch is the only downside of the use of Lycra. It will loose it’s stretch in time causing a lesser fit. Another point is the hip flexor muscle protection panel. This is a bit thin and has 2 separate hard foam panels on top of it. It makes movement very easy and this way you can take the panel out of the pants, but it also causes fatigue in the softer foam causing it to break. Luckily mine hasn’t broken yet, but I know a couple of other goalies where it has.

Overall I am very happy I bought the ROBO hotpants and when the time comes that it needs to be replaced I will not hesitate and buy another ROBO. I know there are cheaper girdles on the market that offer the same level of protection, but the fit, comfort and ventilation of the ROBO is superior to it’s competitors.

Review of CLOUD Hotpants

When looking for a decent pair of goalkeeping shorts the options are limited. Luckily OBO has a couple and I decided to try out the Cloud ones.

Cloud Hotpants
Cloud Hotpants

From the box (or bag, which they come in) they looked pretty good. Not bulky, padding in the parts that matter the most and they are very light. The Velcro wrap around design and the belt make for good adjustability and ensure a perfect fit. Also the way you wrap the legs of the pants around your legs make for a good fit as soon as you have done up the Velcro. Unlike some other brands where they close the other way around and you need to fiddle to get them in the right place.

A small area of concern was the mesh cloth on the inside of the pants. As I know that this can easily tear I was wondering whether if it would stand up to “normal abuse”. (I will come back to this point later on) Also the padding on the front seemed a bit on the thin side, but I would just have to see how it would face up to shots. (Again, will get back to that)

After I put them on for the first time, they immediately felt good. Hardly any restriction of movement (if any) and the open crotch design makes for a good interaction with the abdo-guard and enough ventilation. It felt very natural and needed no breaking-in time.

During the first training session I intentionally used the pants to take a few shots, where I would normally use my gloves, just to see how they held up. I don’t play at top level (that’s why I gave the Cloud a chance instead of the much more expensive Robo) but still, there a few hard-hitters in my team (senior men’s league). When the first hard hit headed for the pants I braced for impact and I’m glad I did, because although the real sting was taken out of the shot I really felt it. (“So that’s why they’re much cheaper than the Robo…”)

As said before, I intentionally let the some shots hit the pants just to try them out, which is not what you would normally do. In a normal game situation you will just get hit by the occasional deflection or short distance flick or low power hit and in those situations the Cloud stands up to the job really well. And in ladies games (no offence intended) they will probably be good enough for nearly all shots.

There isn’t a lot of padding on the side/hip area, just one pad on the hip bone, so when diving the landing can be quite hard. Also during sliding this can be somewhat of a miss. The pads did stay in the right place during the sliding and diving, so that’s a good thing.

Some years have past since I bought the Cloud hotpants and they look like a patchwork due to all the repairs that I had to make.

After about half a year the seams around the hip pad pockets started coming loose and the mesh cloth on the inside of the pants started to tear in places. The stitching was fixed easily enough and the mesh can be replaced without too much trouble. (If you save the bag the pants came in, you can use this as a replacement for the mesh.)

After about a year the corners of the leg padding pockets started to show holes on the outside due to the edge of the padding rubbing against it. Also the outside of the pants around the slide area was showing some wear even though I wear the Robo overpants over them. I do tend to slide a lot, probably more than average, so that’s probably why.

Luckily all the padding comes out really easy and the design of the pants is very simple. This means repairs can be made without a lot of hassle and if you do this in time you can extend the lifetime of the pants significantly.

Would I buy them again? To be honest: No. There are a lot of positive things: the weight, fit, movability and that they are easy to repair. But for me the negative points weigh much heavier. They wear quite fast and the padding is mediocre. But above that: for the price of the Cloud you can nowadays buy shorts that are a lot better. When I bought the pants there weren’t that many “clones” around, so I had less options to choose from. Now that almost all other brands have “stolen” the hotpant design there is choice is much more extensive.

In all fairness, my Cloud hotpants are about 3-4 years old and I don’t know if any improvements have been made to the design since then. If there are then the Cloud might give better competition to the other hotpants than the one I have.