Junior Keepers Benefit From Quality Coaching

By Chief Reporter Tom Scott

JUNIOR Football goalkeepers are set to reap the benefit of specialist sessions from the longest-running coaching structure in Scotland, writes Tom Scott.

This week not only marks the return of a new domestic campaign, but also the 23rd season involving the Shot Stoppers Goalkeeping Coaching Academy.

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Photo: Group Three Coach Chris Todd, middle, with LIAM CAMPBELL ( left) who won the Scottish Youth Under-19 Cup whilst attending Shot Stoppers and playing for Drumchapel United. After signing with Clydebank Juniors, LIAM is now at Yoker Athletic. On the right is another ex-Drumchapel United goalkeeper, Daniel McLaughlin.

Among those eagerly anticipating another term is new Ashfield Juniors’ signing Stephen Mather, who has previously won junior promotion within the ranks at Glasgow Perthshire, and is a former Player of the Year with St Anthony.

By a strange twist of fate,  Ashfield’s other goalkeeper, Martin Storey, worked throughout the winter months with Shot Stoppers’ coaches in top-class sessions at New Petershill Park en route to winning the Scottish Under-21 Youth Cup as a Campsie Black Watch player during their thrilling 3-2 final victory against old rivals Knightswood Juveniles.

Stephen spoke minutes after last Saturday’s opening fixture – and a dramatic 3-2 victory – against his former ‘Shire team-mates at Keppoch Park, where he expected and received a very hot reception!

He said:  “I am glad it’s over to be honest. A fantastic result and scoring late on – Chris Moulangou in the 92nd minute – is a great way to win a football match.

“As far as specialist goalkeeping sessions at junior football level is concerned, there is not enough of them. From my experience, all of the Academy Group Coaches are more than capable of going into any West Region junior club and delivering a quality session. In the past, I have been given permission by junior managers I worked with to miss out on a training night with them, and undertake a goalkeeping stint elsewhere.” 

Over the years, the Academy has been involved with a number of well-known names such as Benburb, Blantyre Vics, Cambuslang Rangers, Dunipace, Maryhill Juniors, Petershill, Pollok, Rutherglen Glencairn and Kirkintilloch Rob Roy. Hardly surprising, given their expertise with the position, they have not only contributed to some of those clubs winning league titles, but also success at Sectional League Cup Finals with Cambuslang, Glencairn, Petershill, and Pollok –  a very impressive C.V.

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Photo: Since joining the Academy following stints in West Region junior football, GRAHAM BLACK,  who works with Group Three coach Chris Todd at Shot Stoppers, has won back-to-back Scottish Amateur Football League championships with Bridgewater A.F.C.

More managers are starting to realise they have to set aside at least one training night where their goalies can be guided and put through proper, specialist sessions away from outfield players.

This summer, for the first time, amateur clubs like Colville Park, Red Star A.F.C., and Weir Recreation, have made contact with this unique coaching structure.

Rob Roy manager Stewart Maxwell knows the value of work for junior goalkeepers as a direct result of his playing days at Cambuslang Rangers, Petershill and Rabs’ old Adamslie Park, where Shot Stoppers not only arrived with a pre-planned programme, but also encouraged students from their Academy to join in and boost the overall work ethic.

 Said Stewart: “It is something I am keen to encourage again especially with the club’s ambitions centred around moving back into Kirkintilloch and being part of a major community set-up with our new ground.”

Recently, Shot Stoppers staff have also been able to offer one-time Queens Park and St Mirren signing, Weir Recreation’s Scott McDougall, invaluable help during his club’s pre-season stint. Scott, who was put through his paces alongside Academy trio Bailey McGuire, Cameron Gordon and Callum Reid, revealed: “I really enjoyed their sessions. Makes a huge difference. It is years since I had proper goalkeeping work – in fact, I have never had any since I signed for Weir! 

“I feel I have a lot to give and achieve. The quality of the sessions has given me a lot more confidence than I had before. The young goalkeepers from Shot Stoppers were excellent for their age, and I didn’t feel I had to hold anything back working alongside them. “

Academy Group One Head Coach Stephen Bryceland said:  “It is always a great experience for goalkeepers from our Academy to work alongside over 18 or over 21s at a higher level in football.

“We look for the type of feedback Stewart (Maxwell) and Scott (McDougall) have given because it clearly shows the quality that exists here with organised, proper coaching.”

Shot Stoppers has a respected and recognised structure that not only focuses on developing talent – right from boy’s club to over-21 level – but also teaches vital life skills and, more importantly, discipline. There is also a pathway from learning the basic technique of goalkeeping through to top top-level professional training and match preparation, which a number of junior goalies are delighted to be part of.

Junior Football managers/ coaches, those at Amateur level – and indeed Boys’ Club football – can now obtain more information on the excellent work carried out by the coaching staff at:  www.shotstoppersgoalkeeping.co.uk or DM us on Twitter at @shot_stoppersgk

 

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