Coaching the Junior Goalkeeper

Writing an article on coaching young children the art of football is a minefield of opinions in itself, but writing an article on coaching junior goalkeepers is verging on the insane! Goalkeeper coaches, and indeed general football coaches, have so many opinions and notions on how the most important position in football should be taught that it is extremely rare to find two people of the same mindset within the goalkeeper coaching fraternity.

For those of you reading this I must warn you that I have very strong opinions regarding goalkeeper training and more specifically goalkeeper coaches, that is borne purely out of my passion for the role of goalkeeper coach. By gaining the licenses and qualifications required to work in professional, grass roots and junior football you are making a clear statement….”I can coach”, my only issues with this are these courses teach you how to coach, not why, and this is a fundamental reason for my frustration. There are an incredible amount of well meaning persons involved with junior football, and their positive input should be actively encouraged as hopefully, one day, these individuals will outnumber the ignorant, win at all costs coaches whose idea of player development is another 10-0 win on a Sunday morning. This is aimed at the football coaching world in general as, in all honesty, the majority of coaches working exclusively with goalkeepers don’t share ths aggressive mentality, but one common them I’ve detected from observing many grass roots coaches is their fear to move away from what they’ve been taught on their license courses, and in fact you could play a game of “Spot the drill” from the folders and sessions plans that are developed for these courses.

I have developed a coaching style whereby the planned session is “fluid” and although it took a few years to fully develop this style, I am really proud of what each session achieves. This “fluid” style is as easily incorporated into sessions for my professional goalkeepers as it is for the junior goalkeepers whom I work with as the basic thesis of each drill is to develop the goalkeepers decision making ability whilst working their technical knowledge also. It is a stalwart theme in each session to focus on what can happen during a match situation so each drill is designed with the priority to replicate this, and use of obstacles such as hurdles or poles are kept to a minimum and are solely used to “inconvenience” the goalkeepers movement so that the focus can be on the end product – the save. There is a lot of emphasis placed on creating technically good junior goalkeepers, and this is the reason why I believe that the licences are developed towards this goal, and therefore why the potential coaches are educated this way which is no bad thing however if these coaches could be re-educated to look at goalkeeping in a different light, then maybe we could have a different style of goalkeepers coming through the english professional ranks?

There are still many, many goalkeeper coaches who remain loyal to the ethics of a physically demanding session is a good session, and also many, many coaches who will teach exactly as per the book but my viewpoint is to work WITH the goalkeepers natural ability and to harness and develop his instinctive skills. When working at the junior level you will see several different styles of the techniques and I’ll admit that when I first began coaching goalkeepers I was insistent on the “correct” technique being used as this was what was drilled into me on my educational courses, but with experience and the benefit or working full time with many different goalkeepers I changed my stance and began to develop my “fluid” style. If your junior goalkeeper is achieving the end result (the save) then don’t try to change their technique, even when it frustrates you for being so clearly “wrong”, but instead nurture it and step out of your comfort zone to assist with the relevant technical adjustments that your experience and vision will provide you as, believe me, you will never get it “wrong” via this method as eventually the goalkeeper will settle into his technique very quickly.

Likewise with the session itself, allow yourself to think outside the regulations and the perceptions of what a goalkeeper training session is, think of what happens during a game and what can you do to help improve the goalkeepers chances in that situation. How can you gradually build the sessions intensity so that you end with the match like situation? Sure, you can concentrate on improving the goalkeepers agility and explosive diving power by rigidly sticking with the “regulation” sessions but, truth be told, the goalkeepers biggest weapon against the attackers is his brain and the ability to make a split second decision correctly and that is why I focus on decision making so heavily in my sessions. Granted, it may not be textbook or an approved coaching technique in the coaching folders but it will have produced a vital result – a confident junior goalkeeper with the ability to make the save – however he chooses!

Understanding English Teaching Jobs

English teaching jobs are available in the United States and in other countries. They come in traditional class room format, online and teaching classes in other countries. Where you choose to teach depends on your background.

Teaching English in the United States at a traditional school generally requires a degree in education plus having passed a teachers certification program in the state where you want to teach. Some states accept another state’s certification. This is generally for teaching English as the primary language.

Not all certified or licensed English teachers teach in a traditional school. English teaching jobs may also be teaching English as a second language or ESL. This presupposes the students have another language as their first language. Sometimes these classes are called teaching English as a foreign language, or called by the acronym EFL.

English teaching jobs are also conducted online. This may entail teaching students in an actual classroom in a local school via computer or they may be in another state. The students may also be adults who are learning English in an online class.

Teaching English consists of teaching the proper use of the English language. This would include correct grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure, word usage, punctuation, and spelling. All of these have many subgroups. The English class would begin by testing the level of the students and then beginning at the beginning.

For younger students this would begin with printing, then writing as with joined up letters to make words.

Of course teaching English includes various levels of testing. Homework assignments should reinforce what the students learned in the classroom.

In some traditional elementary schools there may not be a specific teacher for English. One teacher may teach several classes. They may be required to be familiar with geography, computers, math, discipline, and English. For English they would need to have knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, understanding the rules of composition and grammar. They would hold reading sessions with age appropriate books.

An English teacher at the next level of schooling such as a junior high school would generally conduct only classes teaching English. Teachers would be specialists or have single subject credentials. An English teacher at the junior high or high school level will have a good grounding in oral communication, literature and grammar.

All teachers including English teachers are required to continue their education by taking several courses offered during the year within their school district.

English teachers who teach via the internet are still required to have all the teaching credentials required to be certified as an English teacher. Some classrooms do not have a traditional teacher but are taught all of their English lessons on an in classroom computer. However a real English teacher would be available for conferences or parent teacher meetings.

Teaching English has evolved over the years. Methodology has changed but basic English rules have not. English still has the same rules.

How to Find a Job Teaching English in Japan

Teaching English and living in Japan is a great experience, the adventure of my life. I’ve been doing it for over 10 years. I would encourage anyone to come here to start a new career or just for a couple of years for the experience.

If you are still in the US or your home country, you have two options:

1. Find a job before you go over

2. Just buy a ticket and find something after you arrive.

I know many people do the latter. If you are really adventurous then go for it. But I recommend the former. There are many Eikaiwa, or English Conversation schools in Japan. They’re private companies where Japanese come to study English. The average starting salary is between 250,000 to 270,000 yen, about 2700 to 2900 dollars per month. I applied to AEON Corporation while still in the states. I interviewed in Chicago and later came here. I no longer work for Aeon, but I recommend them. I was with them for almost 9 years. That’s probably some kind of record. Most teachers are there for 1 or 2 years. They are probably the best of the big conversation schools left. A few years ago, the number 1 school, NOVA went bankrupt after a huge lawsuit. They had a bad reputation for years with teachers but also students. It was finally a class action suit from former students that broke them. That event really hurt the industry, but Aeon is still a safe bet. But be warned, they expect a lot. They have high standards of professionalism and they really drill that into you during training. You have to wear a suit and tie. They have branches nation wide, some schools have only adult students, many have adults and children. There are other schools as well, GEOS and Berlitz to name a few. Be wary of one called G.Communications. They are the ones that took over Nova. I wouldn’t trust them.

You can also become an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher). ALTs work in junior or senior high schools. The JET program run by the Japanese government is probably the biggest source of ALTs. Interac. one of many private companies that provide ALTs. I think Japan is ready for a mini-boom for teaching English to children. Starting in 2010, English will become a mandatory subject in elementary schools nationwide, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity there.

The best place to start is at Dave’s ESL Café. It has an abundance of information, not only on jobs, but teaching resources and ideas. It’s huge. Be sure to check out the teacher’s forum. Read the comments to see what teachers say about different companies, avoid the bad ones. For jobs, Gaijinpot and Ohayo sensei are good. All about teaching English in Japan is good too.

How about education? Most big schools require a college degree. It’s not necessary to have a teacher’s degree. It’s probably possible to get a job with only a High school diploma, but you will be rather limited. Another thing to consider is getting a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. These are relatively easy to get, only taking a few months. They are available online and most offer an additional practical teaching workshop at a specified location. I recommend that if you can. Most English schools don’t require such a TESL certificate, but it can give you a big advantage. It looks great on a resume.

If you are living in Japan now, then there are lots of options. It just depends on where you’re willing to go. Actually, in my case, the most important thing in finding a new job was word of mouth. I have a family here and I didn’t want to move to a new city. Jobs were limited and I never would have found my current job if it wasn’t for my friends. I’m really lucky. Never underestimate the power of networking and friends.

If you’ve been in Japan a while and have some experience, then a final option is starting your own business. That’s not my path, but many of my friends have done it.

Anyway, good luck in finding a job and start your adventure today. GANBATE!