Developing Goalkeeping UK meets Leyton Orient goalkeeper Sam Sargeant in the first of a series of interviews providing advice and goalkeeping tips.
DGUK is a goalkeeper academy owned by Martin Brennan, a former first team goalkeeper coach at Fulham, Wycombe Wanderers and Leyton Orient, that offers professional and semi-professional goalkeepers the chance to prepare for the new season with pre pre-season training camps.
There are also camps for college and university goalkeepers who are trying to reach the Non-League game and weekly group sessions and 2-to-1 sessions throughout the week.
Brennan said: “My goalkeeping philosophy is to make sure each goalkeeper I work with I give them a technical and tactical aspect of learning the great position. This is done on the grass/astro and also in the classroom environment which will consist of video anaylsis along with presentations that the goalkeepers will present themselves.
“Goalkeeping is a way of life not just a position in sport and creating memories to take with you through your career and life is vital. Never forget the reason why you started playing in goal which may have been getting muddy or making that top corner save.
“The reason I say this in goalkeeping you have just as many emotional lows as you do highs and you have to keep reminding yourself when your having them lows the reason you started playing the position.
“Goalkeeping opinions is normal one of two feeling, the first one is “what a save that is” or the second one being “what was you thinking why didn’t you just save it”. So with that in mind we have to keep thinking back to the real reason why we started the position and keep our heads held high.”
Q&A with Sam Sargeant
How did your goalkeeping story start?
It’s a bit of a weird one as I started off as a left back for my Sunday League team Villa Court Rovers FC.
In our first league game, I think I was 6 at the time, we actually played two matches in one day back then and I was in defence for the first match – I got an assist and we won the game 1-0.
The second match they wanted me to play in goal as it was my turn. I wanted to impress th manager and try to be the hero of the day so I went in and we lost 5-0! But I enjoyed it that much I stayed in goal until the end of the season.
The team created a nickname for me, “Hippo”, because I loved diving around and getting dirty. I found it more interesting than running up and down as a left back.
At the end of that season I got scouted by Millwall, who invited me for a trial later down the line.
When did you start taking goalkeeping seriously?
I would say the minute I went in goal at six years old really. My dad would take me to the local park for about two hours at a time kicking a ball at me.
We used to go over to a ground called the Marathon Ground which was in Kidbrooke, London. Me and my dad would spend hours kicking the ball around.
I think he got a buzz out too and trying to score against me – that still happens to this day as out of season we go to a park together.
Signing for Millwall made me think about pushing on with it more, but I still never really understood what it was to become a pro goalkeeper. I loved being given praise if I had a good game, whether it was Millwall or Sunday League.
What was it like making your debut for League Two debut for Leyton Orient?
The coaching staff told me two days before the match that I would be playing which made me very excited as it was something I had worked towards for so many years.
Yeovil away was the match I was going to make my debut in and I was very excited. We had to stay in a hotel the night before as it’s a long trip and that’s where it really hit me.
You only get one go at making your debut in the League and before I went to bed I was starting to overthink things and working myself up. I really wanted to do well.
I was making mistakes in the warm-up and I remember coming in to the dressing room after and being extremely nervous, like I have never felt before. Being nervous is a good thing but saying it really hit me.
It’s a game that will live with me for the rest of my life, because we won, and I kept a clean sheet which got me in the team of the week in the papers.
The game started off very erratic due to nerves, but I slowly started to calm down and settled into the game by doing things that I would normally do.
I had a few crosses that I had to deal with and the last kick of the game was me taking a high ball.
The whistle went and I remember punching the air – it was a nice moment because my Mum, Dad and Uncle were all there watching me. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget.
I went over to give my Mum a cuddle. My family have always been there for me. When we got home there was so much joy and lots of excitement as to what may happen next for me and my family.
The coach journey home was so upbeat and I felt so happy with what I had achieved.
What is life like at the minute being a second choice goalkeeper in the National League?
It’s hard – I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world and having mental and physical challenges each day makes you want to play at the end of the week.
We are top of the league and in good form, but I want to be part of the form and when a team is doing well, it’s unlikely many changes are made to the starting XI.
I’m training well as always and the lads in the dressing room keep me going at times. It’s an incredible group of players, some of them have been together for many years through the youth teams.
I have a lot of support and the senior pros at the club can see the position I’m in. I believe I can fulfill my potential, but need to keep doing the right things thing. My chance will come.
The Goalkeeping Podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-goalkeeping-podcast/id1348402331?mt=2
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