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Goalkeeper course in Belgium

Belgium hosted the latest UEFA goalkeeper coach education and coaching course, part of UEFA's drive to pursue specialist coach education at the request of Europe's FAs.

Frans Hoek, head tutor at the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), oversees a session at the course for goalkeeper coaches in Belgium
Frans Hoek, head tutor at the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), oversees a session at the course for goalkeeper coaches in Belgium ©URBSFA-KBVB

UEFA is giving specific coach education courses for goalkeeper coaches – and a series of four courses focusing on the development and nurturing of goalkeepers has continued with Belgium playing host to 13 fellow national associations in Brussels.

Belgium, Moldova, Scotland and Serbia are hosting the courses this spring, events run by UEFA's football education services, which are designed to further train goalkeeper coach educators and to familiarise them with UEFA guidelines and the latest trends in this important specialist sector of the game. UEFA is providing specialist education in areas such as goalkeeping, football fitness and futsal coaching in accordance with a request by its 53 full member associations.

The 2011/12 season saw UEFA stage four pilot seminars for goalkeeper coach coaches – in Belgium, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland and Sweden, with around 160 goalkeeper coach educators attending the programme. As a result of this pilot scheme's success, UEFA is continuing this specific course offering during the 2012/13 campaign, under the umbrella of the UEFA coaching programme.

The Royal Belgian Football Association (URBSFA-KBVB) welcomed the national associations of full UEFA members Andorra, Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Portugal, San Marino, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey, plus provisional UEFA member association Gibraltar. The associations were invited to send three goalkeeper coach educators/goalkeeping specialists, who can subsequently disseminate information to coach education colleagues and implement the acquired knowledge in respective national coach education schemes.

UEFA's main course instructors were Packie Bonner, Football Association of Ireland (FAI) national goalkeeping coach; Frans Hoek, head tutor at the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB); and Jim Stewart, course instructor from the Scottish Football Association (SFA). The instructors were joined by Belgian FA representatives Steven Martens (general secretary), Paul Allaerts (technical director), Robert Huygens (executive committee member) and Bart Huylebroeck (regional committee secretary). Kris Van Der Haegen, Bob Browaeys, Patrick Creemers, Marc Van Geersom and Filip De Wilde were also present from the URBSFA-KBVB in coach education, coaching and goalkeeper coaching capacities. UEFA's Jira Panel was represented by the former technical director of the Belgian FA, Michel Sablon.

The goalkeeper seminars are dovetailing with the introduction of a UEFA-endorsed goalkeeper licence, with the licence criteria recommended by the Jira Panel. The course in Belgium focused on a wide spectrum of elements related to the crucial position of goalkeeper. Topics included the work undertaken between goalkeepers and goalkeeping coaches as part of a goalkeeper's improvement process; developing a pathway for international goalkeepers; and practical elements such as dealing with crosses and how a goalkeeper contributes to starting his team's attacks. Discussion groups enabled the associations to exchange ideas and viewpoints, while they also learned from the course instructors about the UEFA guidelines, philosophy and methodology for goalkeepers.

Participants have embraced the goalkeeper coach education courses as a means of sharing experiences, enhancing goalkeeper coaching in their own countries and supplying goalkeeper coaches with the requisite education to do their own jobs in accordance with the credo that good goalkeeper coaches will, in turn, help produce good goalkeepers. It was also appreciated that this scheme would continue to further raise goalkeepers' status.

The next specific goalkeeper courses will take place in Moldova (29 April–2 May) and Scotland (6–9 May).