Name: Ross Ballantyne

Current Position: 1st team gk coach at Albion Rovers ,Head of youth goalkeeping development Queens Park Fc, Owner/ director of coaching Savehands Goalkeeping Academy.

Years Coaching Goalkeepers: 8 years working every week with goalkeepers. 1st started out 16 years ago.

What is your background?
I am from Glasgow Scotland, I am the owner off one of the biggest private goalkeeping academies in Scotland, 1st teams goalkeeper coach at spfl league 2 and involved as head of goalkeeping development at one of the best pro youth set ups in Scotland with Scotland’s oldest club Queens Park. I am also the founder of the goalkeeping conference which was the Uk’s 1st ever event of it’s kind. 

What got you into coaching?
I always had a love for the coaching side of the game. Something I wanted to do especially since I hit a stage if development that a couldn’t make it professionally as a goalkeeper this was then followed by a knee injury.

What is your coaching philosophy?
My philosophy changes from goalkeeper to goalkeeper depending on age and ability/development.

With young/academy goalkeepers a like to work of a specific theme and work towards improving that specified theme and technic.

With older and professional goalkeepers a work more on tactical game related drills, speed across the goal and reaction saves.

It doesn’t matter what age or ability a work with a always include distribution into all session. This could be as simple of pass the ball using both feet  10-12yards to a partner.

Who has been a mentor to your through your coaching career?  Is there a coach who impacted you to get into coaching?

A wouldn’t say a have had a mentor as such. My dad was my 1st coach and got me in to goalkeeping, he was also instrumental in me starting my academy up.

I have be very lucky to have been coached and viewed sessions from the goalkeeping coaching legend Alan (Hodgy) Hodgeskins during my development as a young goalkeeper and a coach.

I am also lucky to have several world/top class coaches that a have made friends with over the years to tap into there knowledge.

Do you feel that the role and importance of a goalkeeper coach has been fully realized in the coaching community?

Yes and No. In the professional game it is becoming  more important. As the goalkeeping coach is now involved in not just working with the goalkeepers but on shape and tactical and game related games with the rest of the squad.
Still a lot of boys club, semi pro clubs that still don’t see the importance of the goalkeeping coach which is a bit worrying in the grassroots side of the game.

Looking back, how have you seen your coaching develop from when you first started to now?

Massively when a started with my academy to now seeing it grow and now working in the senior game. The different needs in demand that is required as a coach.

How do you design your training sessions?
My typical session would include a 20min warm up. Am a big believer in stretching as a goalkeeper during this warm up would include lots of static and dynamic stretching.
During the warm up we would get the hands working early as well as it’s important again to get a feel of the ball.
After warm up would do some footwork drills using the ball. Then move on to the main theme. Finish off with a bit of kicking.

A would look at the notes a have from the game and interact what a have seen in the game into the main theme.

How do you motivate your keepers behind your first string to ensure competition for the position?

Inspiring confidence into them, always encourage. By doing this it gives them self belief and when they are called upon they are ready for it.

What is your ultimate coaching goal?

To go full time  through my academies or other avenues and to reach the highest point a can that my coaching future allows me too.

Any advice for young goalkeeper coaches just entering their careers?

Don’t be scared to ask questions.
Get your qualifications done early, don’t be scared to be different. Get as much coaching hours in as you can thus will give you confidence.
Go and visit other gk coaches and learn of them also.

If you weren’t a goalkeeper coach, what do you think you would be?

If a never got back into football/coaching would just be happy plodding away in my day job (painter supervisor).