How Wales is trying to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward
25 October 2016

How Wales is trying to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward

Wales keeper coach Tony Roberts tells the story



As everybody in Wales debates how we find the next Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey, here's what we're doing to develop the next Wayne Hennessey.

Wales national team goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts is in the process of helping the FAW Trust develop the goalkeeping coaches of the future, the men and women who will be responsible for nurturing our next shot-stopping star.

But there's a lot more than shot-stopping for modern goalkeepers to think about and that's why the role of goalkeeping coach is becoming ever more sophisticated and integral to the way teams play.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR ONE OF OUR SPECIALIST KEEPER COACHING COURSES

In a detailed Q&A the former Wales goalkeeper, who is now a vital part of Chris Coleman's staff, tells us why developing the next crop of keepers is vital in our journey as a football nation.



How is the new role going?

I’m loving it.

I enjoy working with Wardy, Wayne and Owain Fon Williams and the entire coaching staff, so I'd say it's going OK.



How will you inspire the goalkeeping coaches of the future?

I played for Wales at first-team level and I played at a lot of the age groups.

I’m planning to pass on my experience to the younger coaches coming up.

I think it’s important that wherever in Wales kids are, they get an opportunity to get good coaching.

To become a good coach, you’ve got to go on one of the courses that the Trust are putting on and that helps them in their development.



What would you say to a club volunteer who wants to give goalkeeping coaching a go?

It’s all about learning. If you come on one of our courses you’ll learn how to set up a session, how to educate the goalkeeper in his role on the pitch.

You’ll learn to teach them about the different situations like shot-stopping to dealing with crosses and distribution, which is now a massive part of the game.

It’s no longer only about keeping the ball out of the net. Keepers need to receive the ball and play out over short and long distances.

The younger goalkeepers can establish these foundations, the better the future will look.



What does a coach need to know to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward?

At younger ages, keepers need to learn the technical skills but as they get older they work harder on the tactical skills.

Young keepers now need to know the finer details about how their teams are playing. They need to know about the formations they’re going to be coming up against.

With more and more teams playing out from the back, the top level keepers of the future will need to know how to play under pressure.

They need to know things like, whether they will be pressurised by one striker or two. All of their learning will be replicating scenarios that could happen in the match.

As a coach, the days of taking the keepers into the corner just to do some handling skills are long gone.

As a goalkeeper coach I will be working with the defence too, sometimes with a unit of six or seven players at one time.

As a coach you need to understand what the players can get out of your sessions and replicate scenarios that will occur on the pitch.

That’s what the courses are all about.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR ONE OF OUR SPECIALIST KEEPER COACHING COURSES



You played at the highest level. How important was specialist goalkeeper training to you?

I wish there were courses like this or enough goalkeeping coaches around when I first started.

The first goalkeeping coach I had was Phil Parkes but that was when I was 17 or 18. Up until then, the best I got was a coach smashing a few balls at me after the session.

I did some top corner saves but I never had the chance to think about what sessions were actually for.
Now goalkeeping coach is a specialist role and the understanding that they have of the goalkeeper’s role in the game is better than we’ve ever had before.

It can be stressful at times because you’re not just looking after the keepers now, you’re working with centre halves, full backs and midfield players, even centre forwards, and teaching them about where they need to be in certain situations.

With the courses we’re putting on, we’re trying to get this message over in a simple way so that the goalkeeping coaches of the future can go out and coach.



Is it easy to coach a keeper as talented as Wayne Hennessey?

At international level, all the goalkeepers have the technical skills to make saves and claim the ball. It’s now about giving them the tactical understanding and information so that long before they’ve received the ball they know exactly where it’s going.

Before the ball comes, our goalkeepers have evaluated what’s on, they know whether pressure is coming or not and whether they need to take a touch to get the ball away.

They are confident in receiving the ball and playing the right pass every time and instruct the defenders to wait or go wide or whatever needs to be done.

It’s a lot to take on board but over the last 10 years the quality of goalkeeping coaches has risen rapidly but in Wales, our aim is to make it even better.

That’s how we’re going to develop the next Wayne or Wardy.



Do you need experience of playing goalkeeper to coach goalkeepers?

Not really. It helps because one minute of experience is worth three hours of going through a book because of things like the weather or the opposition coming at you but I’d never say you can’t learn.

What’s the most rewarding part of being a goalkeeping coach?

Clean sheets are great but having an input into the way the whole team wants to play is very rewarding.



If you concede a goal but your goalkeeper is constantly dropping to receive the ball and helping he teammates get out and counter attack, that’s brilliant.

They will always make saves and catch crosses but now it’s about watching your goalkeeper making the best decisions, whether that’s playing out from the back or even affecting the whole game.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR ONE OF OUR SPECIALIST KEEPER COACHING COURSES

How Wales is trying to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward
How Wales is trying to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward
How Wales is trying to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward
How Wales is trying to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward
How Wales is trying to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward
How Wales is trying to develop the next Wayne Hennessey or Danny Ward