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SPRING 201027this is what you and the goalkeeper strives for. You as a coach always look to develop and improve the goalkeepers' skills by enhancing both strengths and weaknesses on a daily and weekly basis in training. Having specific individual tailored programmes for goalkeepers is something I will think about and examine in relation to my keepers every time we work together, I then try and spend time on that skill which I feel can be expanded further for his education."Recruiting players in the Premier League is a tough market especially for one of the smaller less affluent clubs such as Portsmouth. The academy is a huge focus for Coles and he prides himself on being able to bring players through this process whether it be for Pompey themselves or for lower league clubs. With a player roster including James and Niemi and with Coles able to offer his expert tuition, Portsmouth offers a young goalkeeper the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business and also break into the side if they show the right desire and personality towards the profession. Coles has a very good relationship with David James and likes to use him as an example to his academy players in both talent and application. He often brings the academy along to watch the 1st team train and James has been able to spend time with them and offer up some unique first hand advice. James understands the importance of the academy and shocked Coles on the victory bus after their popular FA Cup final victory in 2008:"We were on the parade bus when David shouted over too me "Colesy" have a look over there, is that Tom Fry our under-14 academy keeper in the celebrations."Imagine how that young man felt knowing David James was calling to him and waving. Working with David is a pleasure really; he has certainly improved my own personal skills as a coach and opened my eyes into the many attributes that he acquired over his many years as a top goalkeeper. This for me can only go on to benefit the many Academy keepers that I work with." Coles has seen a change in his weekly pre-match training preparation with more focus on the movements and characteristics of the oppositions forwards and attacking play that the goalkeeper is likely to face. He uses tailored DVD footage so that practices can be designed on the opposition in preparation for the game ahead."The last two days in the build up to the game are focussed on re-creating what the attackers do, how they shoot, where crosses come from and this goes down to the finer detail of the penalty taker and what side he favours." Coles adds, "David is a very big statistics man and likes to analyse both the opposition as well as his own game right down to the last detail. If there is something that he notices as weaknesses in the opposition and he can exploit that area, he will practice to do so for both his and the teams advantage. This may be something simple as distributing into certain areas of the field on to a weaker full back to keeping his own back four higher if crosses are put in from all angles giving him room to come and deal more often. Attention to detail is so important as we are always walking a tight rope between success and failure."YOU ARE THE REFby Keith Hackett and Paul TrevillionYOU ARE THE REF appears every Sunday in The Observer See page 29 for answersDuring the warm-up, opponents come to you and complain about the home goalkeeper's bizarrely over-sized gloves - claiming it gives him an unfair advantage. What do you do?1You've given an indirect free-kick just outside the area. The ball flies across and a striker leaps at it, appearing to flick it into the net. You give the goal. But as both sides line up for the restart, you overhear the striker laughing and confessing to a team-mate that he didn't touch the ball. What do you do?2It's a televised FA Cup fourth-round tie: a top-four club playing away at a non-league minnow. Before kick-off the away side's captain comes to you and says his team are refusing to play because they've seen dog muck on the pitch. They say it's unhygienic, even if the bulk of it is cleared. He wants the game called off. What do you do?3CORNER COACHING CORNER COACHING CORNER COACHING CORNER

28SPRING 2010Moments before kick off and the toss of a coin leads to a change of ends. The next time your heroes cross the halfway line to prepare for 90 minutes of combat, watch carefully.Do opposing strikers shake hands? Do full backs make a beeline for each other to wish 'Good Luck'? If not, then take note and witness a brief insight into the alliance that exists between the blokes with the Number '1' on their backs.Mike Pollitt is a fully paid up member of the Goalkeepers' Union. After 22 years as a pro, he understands why respect for your opposite number shines brightest amongst the 'keeping fraternity." We're part of our own Crazy Gang, I suppose. We're like drummers in a band, people think we're different; that we're daft in some way," said the keeper who at 38, knows a thing or two about what makes 'keepers tick. "And on the whole, they're right. We're a vital cog in the machine at a club, but everything we do is different. So the position attracts a different type of person."Mike knows that the vast majority of goals scored by his team have nothing to do with him. But like most keepers, conceding a goal leads to inevitable thoughts about whether he could or should have done better."You get to learn a lot about yourself and your teammates when you're in goal. And sometimes, you'll have plenty of time to think about it", said Mike as he ploughs through revision notes ahead of his latest exams for coaching qualifications.So, are goalkeepers wired up differently?Philosopher and professional goalkeeper, Albert Camus - one of the most celebrated thinkers of the 20th Century - solved some of life's greatest questions whilst keeping net, prompting his famous quote:"All that I know most surely about morality and obligations I owe to football." Camus' words are perhaps more celebrated than the doctrines of other goalkeeping philosophers - "If you stand still there is only one way to go, and that's backwards." (Peter Shilton) or "If you don't believe you can win, there is no point in getting out of bed at the end of the day." (Neville Southall).It's All In The HeadBut Mike - who carries the not-so-imaginative nickname of 'Polly' - admits that it's not only the fans who struggle to understand the dark art of goalkeeping. In 's 'View from the Bench' series, Wigan Athletic's Mike Pollitt suggests every team has "a Special One" - and it's nothing to do with Jose Mourinho!BenchView from theImage by Bernard Platt / courtesy of Wigan Athletic FC