Alberto Ruiz – @albertojruiz
Current Position:Youtube Coach, Soccer Paradize Coach
Years Coaching Goalkeepers: 4
What is your background?
Newberry College GK ,Redshirt, 2010
NSCAA Goalkeeper Diploma Levels I&II
Lexington County FC (South Carolina) Goalkeeper Coach, 2010
Youtube and Private training, 2011-present
Soccer Paradize Goalkeeper Coach, 2013-present
What got you into coaching?
The great role models in my life have always been coaches.
What is your coaching philosophy? Practice, dedication and more practice makes the player.
Who has been a mentor to you through your coaching career? Is there a coach who impacted you to get into coaching?
Every coach was a different role model to me, but I believe my first impactful coach was Eddie. He was a teammate’s father, with no coaching background other than playing in Germany. My first “goalkeeper session” was a workbook full of goalkeeper tips and articles he found online.
Eddie saw something no one else did in me and seriously wanted me to improve. I could feel it at every practice, in his every expression of delight, and in all his cheering when I finally learned to dive. His intense love for the game spilled over to me.
I want to be like Coach Eddie. He was not a formal, paid coach, but he inspired me and cared for my success more than any of my paid coaches at the time. I hope I can have as much of an impact of the players I train as he had on me.
Do you feel that the role and importance of a goalkeeper coach has been fully realized in the coaching community?
Not at all. At younger ages, the goalkeepers in the USA are generally not technically sound. They need and deserve much more specific goalkeeper training than they are receiving.
The keeper position is a scarlet letter for the young. It is not seen as a prestigious position and many players do not have a good attitude towards it. “It’s not fun” and “I’m good at soccer, I should play field” are just a few a predominant mindsets regarding goalkeeping. The major importance, great fun and amount of intense training it requires are not realized of goalkeeping by the general public, yet.
Looking back, how have you seen your coaching develop from when you first started to now?
I’ve only just started and I have so much to learn. I know I have more evolving to do! There are still many avenues for me to improve my style as a coach and player, but the biggest change in myself that I have noticed is with the players I work with now. I pay much more attention to their personalities and how this affects their goalkeeping. For example, different personalities react differently to a one on one situation in the goal. Keepers with an aggressive personality may not have a problem taking on an attacker, but keepers that lack confidence may. It is important that I recognize the personalities of the keepers that I train, so that I can tailor to their needs and build on their weaknesses.
How do you design your training sessions?
I like to build up to complex drills by working my way through a goalkeeping area, bottom to top. I start with a good warm up, including stretching and calisthenics, and I follow that with agility drills designed to practice the footwork necessary for the skill I am going to teach.
After the keeper has memorized his footwork session, I add the handling variable. I service the ball in multiple ways by hand or foot in order to maximize the effectiveness of the training session.
The final part of the session focuses on both footwork and handling, with external variables to recreate a game situation as well as possible. I expect my keeper to use all the skills he has learned in the drills leading to these final exercises. Improper technique is discouraged, as it results in pushups or laps. This conditioning only helps the keepers in the long run.
How do you motivate your keepers behind your first string to ensure competition for the position?
I train them just as hard and with the first string keepers. Doing this, they are aware of the level they need to beat. Therefore, it is up to them to reach and pass it. I will always be there to train them.
What is your ultimate coaching goal?
To positively impact everyone I coach and to improve goalkeeping as a whole.
Any advice for young goalkeeper coaches just entering their careers?
Service. You should be adept at serving the ball with your hands and feet. You need to keep your keepers working every minute. Time at practice is precious, and the last thing you want to be repeating is, “Sorry, my fault, go again.”
If you weren’t a goalkeeper coach, what do you think you would be?
Somewhere I wouldn’t want to be.