We caught up with first-team Goalkeeping Coach, Dan Watson, to see what he has been up to during the lockdown.
There is a lot happening on social media at the moment with all kinds of different drills being put up online, something that Dan has been keeping a close eye on.
“All of a sudden, all of these goalkeeping experts have appeared out of nowhere on social media so I would be lying if I said I hadn’t had a look!" he smiled.
"I have also been keeping in contact with my goalkeeper coaching friends that I know from the likes of (Aston) Villa, West Brom and Wolves, just to see what they’re doing, from academy level all they way up to first team level.”
This is a new situation for everyone and is something that has never happened before in the middle of a season but for Dan it represents a new challenge and it is now down to him to prepare the goalkeepers so they are kept in the best shape they can be.
“I normally plan in six-week blocks for pre-season, so I have had to go back, which has never been known before, and plan a mini pre-season, for when we get the green light to go back out and play. It has been interesting, players come back to pre-season a lot fitter than what they used to but it is now about trying to gauge where they are at coming back three quarters of the way through a season. So, I’ve got a mini pre-season planned as well as a continuation to what we have been working on.”
Being told to stay indoors and only being able to leave your house for necessities and exercise, you could be forgiven for struggling to find your motivation but this hasn’t been a problem for Watson, who is challenging himself and his goalkeepers each day.
“I love goalkeeping so I find it quite easy to motivate myself," he said.
"I am in regular contact with all of our keepers but it is difficult for goalkeepers compared to outfield players when it comes to training, it is totally different, there are only so many exercises I can get them to do, there are only so many footwork exercises I can give two very experienced goalkeepers before it becomes repetitive and boring, which is the reality so I am challenging myself to keep my goalkeepers motivated.”
Another issue for players will be fitness, all of the players have been given fitness advice by Fitness Coach Pablo Garcia but they have been set additional tasks by the coaching staff and Watson is making sure they are in the best physical condition they can.
“We train every day and that involves running 5km, in a match they will hit between 4 and 6km at a maximum, so we do not need to train the same way as a midfielder or a centre half who will go on and do up to 10km a day in training. What I try to do is keep the goalies doing shorter and more explosive repetitions just to keep their fitness whilst in lockdown.”