Training Tips From 18 Years as a PRO KEEPER

Matt playing at Wembley


Being a Professional Goalkeeper for 18 years i had the pleasure to train & work with some great Goalkeepers and managers. One of the first tips i can remember was from my youth team coach Kevin Hodges at Torquay Utd, Kevin went on to be 1st team manager and played me at Wembley in a Play-Off Final Vs Colchester Utd
TIP 1: Always listen to advice from EVERYONE even if you DO NOT like a certain coach, a coach might tell you 100 things, most of which you might not agree with, but if just one bit of advice helps you improve it is worth listening to the other 99, i still ad-hear to this advice as i move into my Coaching & Business career.
Kevin was a huge influence on my career, he instilled a training mentality in me that stayed with me through out my career
TIP 2: Train as you play, if you DO NOT train at 100% effort and commitment there is no point going training at all. You need to train at match pace every time you step onto the training ground, otherwise when you enter the pitch on match day you will be caught out by the pace of play !
While at Torquay these simple principles helped me to a dream transfer to Crystal Palace when Terry Venables paid £400,000 and gave me a 4 year contract, with a highlight of a Semi-Final appearance at Anfield in the Semi-Final of the League Cup. I will admit after such a dream move my training standards dropped and i only managed around 20 first team appearances at Selhurst Park, whilst spending most of my time on the Bench
TIP 3: NEVER let your standards drop, even when you move to a bigger club and think you have now ‘arrived’ this is the time you need to work even harder, as there is always a Goalkeeper behind you working as hard as you did to get there

Crystal Palace Days

After such a big move at the age of only 19 it was pretty daunting arriving at the Palace training ground, with Terry Venables though it was soon enjoyable, he made sure that his players were relaxed and enjoyed training.
TIP 4: Make sure you enjoy your training and DO NOT put undue pressure on yourself. Players train and perform at there best when they enjoy and look forward to training
Terry always used to ensure we did not complicate a simple game, i sincerely agreed with him then and i do so EVEN more so now, with a lot of players in my opinion being over coached, EVERY Goalkeeper is different and will have different techniques, at the end of the day keeping the ball out of the net is the man Job of a Goalkkeper
TIP 5: Keep it simple, DO NOT over think what you are doing, the more you think the less time you will have to react during games, if you put the hard work in during your training sessions it should all just happen naturally on a match day