Dalton CRA, 400 Main Street, Dalton, MA. 01226
Waconah Regional High School, 150 Windsor Road, Dalton, MA. 01226
Nessacus Regional Middle School, 35 Fox Road, Dalton, MA. 01226
The Fieldhouse at Canaan 13132 NY-22, Canaan, NY 12029
Location: Fieldhouse Canaan, NY
Dates: Saturdays January 7-March 25 No session Saturday February 25
u10-u12 9-10 AM Co-Ed (2007 -2005 birth year)
u13-u18 10-11 AM Co-Ed (2004-1999 birth year)
Cost $175. Individual sessions $17
He had wanted to play JV football in eighth grade, but it was not allowed until ninth grade. A friend suggested that he play soccer instead to stay in shape.
On the way to his first practice, Alan mentioned that he knew nothing about soccer having never played or even watched a game. He was advised to go out for goalkeeper since he did not have to know anything.
Alan quickly learned that goalkeeping required more skills than any of the other positions. Unfortunately, goalkeeper coaches were almost non-existent in his day. Alan became a goalkeeper at age fourteen having never been a field player. Now, most goalkeepers begin as field players at an early age and switch to goalkeeping, for varying reasons, as they become older.
Today, many young soccer players now have access to experienced coaches, whether through school, youth clubs or travel teams. Although some excellent goalkeeping coaching is available, keeper training is often treated as an afterthought and not adequately integrated into team training.
Alan had played for ten years, including junior and senior high school, college and two years of semi-pro. After an extensive career in engineering and business, during which time he maintained his passion for soccer, Alan began volunteering as a HS and youth soccer goalkeeping coach in 2006 at McCann Technical High School in North Adams, MA.
McCann’s boys’ soccer program was in its first year, which included an inexperienced coach. Alan joined them halfway into their schedule.
Since there was only half a season remaining, and both goalkeepers were inexperienced, Alan focused initially on helping them to learn to cut the angles and handle breakaways. And then focused on proper footwork, which is essential to good goalkeeping.
Goalkeeper training is a long term process, but improvements can be evident immediately. Alan’s interest in goalkeeper training was solidified by the daily improvement in both goalkeepers. .
McCann rallied in the second half of the season to win their league by one game and went on to win the Massachusetts Vocational High School championship.
Two years later, with a different set of inexperienced goalkeepers, McCann again won the Massachusetts Vocational High School championship.
Alan has often fantasized about how good he might have been if he had the advantage of today’s coaching. The reality is that Alan believes that he is a much better coach for having been self-taught.
In the process of obtaining his NSCAA Level 1 & 2 goalkeeping certificates, Alan realized that training young goalkeepers requires that coaches also continually improve their skills.
The process of learning from mistakes is critical to becoming a good goalkeeper. Training is about testing ones limits and experiencing progress in small, accumulative steps.
The J4K program operates as a year-round group training system, utilizing the skills of all the participating goalkeepers to help each other develop. By meeting weekly, the J4K program reinforces the skills needed to be successful goalkeepers. J4K of West MA will provide a technically demanding learning experience for young goalkeepers that will also build self-confidence with an enjoyable environment.
Although J4K’s primary focus will be on group training, Alan is aware that each goalkeeper requires individual training within the group. Each of the goalkeepers will aid each other to improve.
Too many coaches, whether they have goalkeeping expertise or not, do not devote sufficient time to train and integrate goalkeepers into their teams.
J4K of West MA, in partnership with Just 4 Keepers International, was founded to provide the level of goalkeeper training that is lacking in western Massachusetts.