From the beginning of times, human beings evolved as species by imitation. It’s the essence of knowledge. The survival. From birth, we observe everything our parents do to learn the basics in life. The same happens in education, since we use educational models to observe and learn by imitation. This is why To Observe is one of the most important qualities in the teaching-learning process.
A learning space is not a physical place, but a time when we create an educational process. As goalkeeping coaches, we have the duty to create limitless learning spaces to get the optimal development of our goalkeepers. We can learn from everything. Maybe the introduction of new technologies (information providers) is meaning a loss of the phase of observation and discovery itself of the solution on the part of the individual in this process.
Today we can find a large number of matches from different competitions almost everyday of the week. Several official platforms of match storage and lots of angles and cutting-edge cameras in the stadiums that allow us to watch one same action from different perspectives. This gives us a great number of similar actions to work with.
One of the biggest problems when developing young goalkeepers is the decreasing number of football “experiences” they get in their training process. It is true that children increasingly play less or watch less football matches, also everything is Real Madrid – FC Barcelona for the media, and the monitoring of the ball by the camera. These experiences are key in order for the goalkeepers to develop pre-indices and motor patterns. The goalkeeper coaches need to teach via football as a means and, consequently, a new space of learning is born.
How to teach to watch football?
It’s easy to be tempted to pursue the ball with our gaze, due to the fact that today the television signal in our homes works precisely like that. We must try and cut ourselves off from the ball to focus on the goalkeeper and his/her relationship with the game. Where, when and how he/she intervenes in the game. How he/she communicates… Quite difficult if we take into account that the goalkeeper is the player with less camera minutes.
Photo: image of the organization of Cillersen and Ter Stegen’s wall in a foul. Two players positioning in the wall and they in the centre of the goal.
First, we must identify the type of action is going on. We have to distinguish if we are watching the offensive phase or the defensive phase and, more specifically, if it is a restarting, a close-range shot, a back pass… This is important to place the goalkeeper in a specific point of our mind map.
Once we know the action we want to analyse, we have a series of useful tools. The replays and the different types of cameras will help us to provide a context for an action. The most common ones today are:
- TV signal: this is the broadcast signal of the matches we watch on our TVs. It consists on a camera placed on one of the sides of the field and its target is to follow the ball.
- Further-back camera: these are cameras placed in the further-back seats behind the goals. We can have an aerial perspective from the grandstand behind the goals. It can be more open or closer depending on the type of action and the producer, but it allows us to see a specific technical action easily and the number of players taking part in it. In some international competitions and at professional level, the coaching staff has a grandstand tactical camera which captures from the first to the last team player. The camera provides an open signal of everything happening on the field from the grandstand perspective.
- Goal camera: this camera is placed inside of the two goals. It can be both types: placed ground level or on the top corner of the goal. It allows us to see actions from the closest point to the goalkeeper. Today TV gives us a regular motion take and another ultra-slow motion one. A greater number of frames let us analyse even live in the most precise possible way. Since it’s so close to the goalkeeper and in so extreme angles, we can analyse the goalkeeper performance. A biomechanical analysis, the specific technical gesture execution, as well as each and every of its phases.
- 360º camera: today only used in certain stadiums such as Real Madrid’s and FC Barcelona’s. It allows a complete view of 360º from all angles, as if we were inside the playing field.
How to work with such quantity of material efficiently?
When working with so much information every week, it’s important to make a good use of it. Our goal is to send the message properly, so we must introduce the information neatly. The optimal point we should get is a synergy with our goalkeepers in which the information flows smoothly. In my experience, I must say that to get an optimal point or a “flow point” with our goalkeepers can have very positive results. Fortunately, I have always had goalkeepers that love talking about football without the need that it is an imposed task or a regular video session. We simply talk about what’s happening, either live, ex post, what we think it could happen in a match, on the phone or face to face. This makes we put inside the same point of view different types of actions and find out how the goalkeeper can or must respond if that same action takes place during a training session or match, and so we can better understand it. Even we can solve a non-trained action that, because of the random nature of football, could happen in a match.
Creating a database with all the plays we are interested in and that happen weekly in the league, will allow us to group them all, so they will be easy to access when necessary. It’s important to collect both favourable actions and those that are not, in order to observe different performances in front a similar action.
Another possible option (and maybe more targeted to young goalkeepers) is to present previous featured plays before the training session, either in general or about something specific we had already worked with them, and they can be from the league, professional leagues or from the first team of our club. If your team is in the professional or semi-professional league, it may help the fact that our goalkeepers can watch the matches live or even they can take part as ball boys/girls behind the goal or talking with the first goalkeeper of the team during the week, for instance.
In order to make a video presentation to our young goalkeepers, we will cut a specific play off as follows: