UEFA's programme to provide specific coach education courses for goalkeeper coaches is continuing this spring with a series of four courses focusing on the development and nurturing of the custodians between the posts, and how they should be coached to produce high-quality performances.
The national associations of Belgium, Moldova, Scotland and Serbia are hosting the courses, which are designed to further train goalkeeper coach educators, and to familiarise them with UEFA guidelines and the latest trends in this important specialist sector of the game. UEFA is providing specialist education in areas such as goalkeeping, football fitness and futsal coaching in accordance with a request by its 53 full member associations.
Last season, UEFA offered four pilot seminars for goalkeeper coach coaches – in Belgium, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden. The seminars were very successful, with some 160 goalkeeper coach educators attending the programme. Consequently, UEFA has decided to pursue this specific course offer during the 2012/2013 season, under the umbrella of the UEFA coaching programme.
This week, the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) has been hosting its seminar, and the national associations of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Israel, Montenegro, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia and Slovenia were invited to send three goalkeeper coach educators/goalkeeping specialists, who are in a position to disseminate information to coach education colleagues and implement the acquired knowledge in respective national coach education schemes.
UEFA's representatives leading the course were Packie Bonner, the former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper and now Football Association of Ireland (FAI) national goalkeeping coach, Frans Hoek, a vastly experienced goalkeeping coach from the Netherlands who is head tutor at the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), and Jim Stewart, course instructor from the Scottish Football Association (SFA). The tutors have joined the invited associations, UEFA football education and technical representatives and senior members of the Serbian FA this week at the FSS sports centre at Stara Pazova near Belgrade.
UEFA’s head of football education services Frank Ludolph opened the course by explaining the position of goalkeeper coaching within UEFA’s technical education work. He informed the participants that the seminars will be combined with the introduction of a UEFA-endorsed goalkeeper licence, with the licence criteria approved by the UEFA Jira Panel as part of the approval process.
Ludolph was joined by an appropriate choice – Ivan Ćurković – in welcoming the associations. Ćurković is vice-president of the FFS, a member of UEFA's Football Committee and a former goalkeeper for Yugoslavia and, among others, the great AS Saint-Étienne team from France which reached the European Champion Clubs' Cup final in 1976.
Serbia’s young goalkeepers and FFS goalkeeping coaches took part in practical demonstrations centering on specific skills, and Serbia highlighted its own national goalkeeper development programme.
As well as on-the-field work, the seminar examined the development of goalkeeping from the perspectives of the past, present and future, and the issue of developing a pathway for international goalkeepers. Discussion groups enabled the associations to exchange ideas and viewpoints, while they also learned from the course instructors about the UEFA guidelines, philosophy and methodology for goalkeepers.
"This first goalkeeper education seminar in Belgrade was without doubt a major success," said Packie Bonner. "Those who attended participated to a degree that proved that they are desperate for this UEFA project to succeed in its main aim of assisting associations to produce a comprehensive goalkeeper coach education."
"I was delighted to assist UEFA. The enthusiasm, passion and energy of the participants was fantastic. Good, well-educated, knowledgeable goalkeeper coaches can make the difference to the performance of the goalkeeper as a key team member, in this ever demanding changing professional game."
The next specific goalkeeper courses will take place in Belgium (1-4 April), Moldova (29 April-2 May) and Scotland (6-9 May).
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