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safehands | the art of goalkeeping Bregenz Oktober 2014

New record attendance at goalkeeper coach seminar in Bregenz
Already for the 10th time the goalkeeper coach seminar of safehands / the art of goalkeeping took place, for the fifth time in a row in the Austrian soccer academy Voralberg-Mehrerau in Bregenz. However, there have never been so many participants as this time. More than 90 registrations showed that word has spread about the quality of this event in Germany and Austria. And also this time the participants did not have to regret their coming.
As a speaker, the organizers were once again able to win David Thiel (professional goalkeeper coach at Bayer Leverkusen), an extremely competent speaker. He spoke on the topic of "Age group-specific goalkeeper training for young people. The way to becoming a professional goalkeeper". Despite his young age, the youngest goalkeeper coach in the Bundesliga, who is just 30 years old, already has a wealth of experience at both youth and professional level. And this expertise was evident in every one of his statements and answers on the subject.

Pillars of the goalkeeping game

The event began with a theoretical introduction to the topic. David Thiel used an overview table to show which skills goalkeepers in the professional field must master today. He differentiated the requirements for today's goalkeepers in the areas of goal defense, space defense and player opening / game continuation. According to his statement, the area of player opening / game continuation comprises the largest share of a goalkeeper's game with approx. 70 % of all goalkeeper actions. Space defense (17%) and goal defense (13%), on the other hand, account for a much smaller share of modern goalkeeping. He then presented in detail which aspects of the goalkeeping game can be assigned to the three generic terms.

Game performances of a future goalkeeper

According to David Thiel, if young goalkeepers are to be well trained and prepared for the future, a goalkeeper coach must address the question of how the goalkeeping game will develop in the future and what game performance will be required of a goalkeeper at an early stage. In his opinion, those responsible must be able to recognize new development trends in the goalkeeping game at least three years in advance.

He then went on to explain what challenges David Thiel sees in the goalkeeping game of the future. Despite the above-mentioned percentages on the distribution of the goalkeeper's tasks in a match, he said, goalkeeping remains the most important focus in the training of goalkeepers. In addition, the goal is to further perfect the techniques and tactics of goal defense. The 2014 World Cup showed that all goalkeepers were technically far better trained than in previous times.

Another finding for him is that space defense is becoming increasingly important in goalkeeping. With more and more teams defending high, the goalkeeper has to fill that vacuum between the back line and the goal, he said. "The space is getting bigger," he noted. This additional task requires good anticipation skills as well as soccer skills in the goalkeeper, he added.

Due to increasingly better techniques of the field players and faster balls, there are more and more demanding crosses, especially in standard situations. Goalkeepers need to be prepared for this in training.

Above all, however, the quality of the player's opening actions will be of importance in the future. Increasingly, the goalkeeper is taking on the role of playmaker, as the opposing team's pressing often prevents the outfield players from opening up the game safely, and the goalkeeper is therefore increasingly sought out as an option. In order to be able to carry out these actions in a controlled manner, the goalkeeper needs good ball-playing skills and a good overview of the game.

In conclusion, David Thiel explained his theses with the help of vivid video scenes. He presented short video clips of game situations that supported his theoretical approaches and showed suitable solutions for goalkeepers in the respective game situation.

Elements of goalkeeper training at Bayer Leverkusen

He concluded his presentation by discussing the guidelines for goalkeeper training at Bayer Leverkusen. The most important area is technical training. Other key areas of training are tactics training (positional play, space defense, game continuation), implementation in game situations to improve anticipation and perception, as well as athleticism and psyche training (concentration, error management, self-confidence, courage). Using various graphics, David Thiel showed which building blocks should be trained with priority in the corresponding age group at U 12/13, U 14/15 and U 17/19.

Before theory to practice

However, David Thiel focused the event on the practical part. With young goalkeepers from different age groups from the Bregenz Football Academy, he used various exercises to show how the aspects of goalkeeping addressed in the theoretical part can be implemented and trained with the help of suitable exercises.

The event was concluded with a panel discussion with David Thiel and the also present Thomas Schlieck (coordinator goalkeeping at RB Leipzig) and Helge Payer (former Rapid Wien and ex-national goalkeeper of Austria, today ORF expert and operator of a goalkeeping school).

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