As a Goalkeeping Coach in Shropshire and Mid Wales running my own schools the biggest dilemma I face is the balance between enjoyment and learning.

The weekly classes need to be fun and varied and occasionally lighthearted however, if the young students take this as a sign of weakness a farcical session can ensue very quickly and the remaining students who want to learn feel marginalised and frustrated.

Alternatively, if the sessions are too strict and smiles are missing all concerned become down and wander why they bother coming each week !! Then I have to take the Parents view into consideration – there son/daughter may love the sessions but the Parent sees lots too much “messing around” and no visible improvement in their child’s ability as a ‘Keeper and wonder rightly where there hard earned is going and what it’s achieving or the child doesn’t enjoy the strictness of the sessions and tells their parent(s) they don’t enjoy it and don’t want to come anymore !

The J4K way for grassroots keepers is a blue print to overcome these issues – a warm up followed by the drills and subject matter you want to follow that week and finish with some fun games – it sets a line in the sand for when the fun starts and stops and real guidelines are set (don’t get me wrong there is still fun to be had in the drills!!) that the kids love as they have a routine to follow and Parents see that happy medium we all strive for

The sessions then have to be varied despite the same techniques being practised week after week. drills need work and if they’re not working stop them and do something different and if the session is quite intense cut the time down for it and have a long game of Goalie Wars or something similar!

At TNS Academy or Shrewsbury Town Centre of Excellence the intensity is very high and rightly so however, I still coach in a way that ensures the boys will enjoy the sessions as I am a firm believer that a happy ‘Keeper is a better ‘Keeper

Enjoy your Coaching and Goalkeeping