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Footwork Drills

Footwork Drills

New video shows Simon putting two England Youth Goalkeepers through some footwork drills. WATCH IT HERE.


Updated Site


We’ve received reports about a distributed attack against WordPress installations across the world and as a result have entirely revamped our Blog and beefed up its security.
We are sorry for the inconvenience but hope to be up and running as quick as possible.



Repetition and Practice

As a goalkeeper you have chosen a position that requires a different set of techniques and skills from those of outfield players! One could argue an extra set of skills and techniques!

These specialist skills and techniques need to be practiced  with a goalkeeping coach and with any ‘learning of techniques and skills’; repetition and practice are key!

Whether it be the core life skills of learning to speak or read and write or learning to play the piano – practice and repetition are key!

As a famous goalkeeper said, “the more I practice, the luckier I get”. This is a classic comment on the rewards of practice.


As I stated before, goalkeeping has it’s own set of techniques: catching, footwork, diving, jumping, throwing, kicking and skills: shot stopping, one v one, decision making, communication, dealing with crosses and distribution. These need to become learnt, automatic behaviours so that in the heat of the game you can re-produce the correct technique or skill when needed, enabling you to be a competent and confident performer!

If you want to reach the very top or just ‘be good’! You need regular teaching, coaching and practice!


You bring your physical attributes coupled with dedication, determination and a smile and we will provide the learning and teaching environment you need to make you the best you can be!


Originally published June 21st 2012


The Soccer Goalkeeper

We’re not the crowd favourites, we’re the unsung heroes, we’re the architects of all, hard fought one-­?zeros. We’re the saviours,
that nobody sees,
yet one mistake
has you all on your knees. We are at the core,
of every good team,
to carry the burden,
to secure all the dreams,
to catch nothing but flak,
to be targets for abuse,
any time we concede, you’ll claim we’re no use, But as well as good hands, we have very thick skin, and that pure determination to let nothing in.
Are we bothered? Not us, we’re the ever present great, bouncing back every game, never mind how you berate. We don’t score the goals but put ourselves on the line, consistently making saves so sublime.
We don’t score the goals, but we’ll win you the game, and we don’t need the crowd, to chant our name,
we’re the one at the back, who just gets the job done, and that, my friends,
is why we’re number one.

Written by: Jayden Maharaj

Originally published June 21st 2012


Practices goes ” Live”



When I put together my Goalkeeping Practice book, the next stage was making it ‘live’!


Showing the practices ‘live’ in real time, ‘showing’ the practice set up…. distances, number of markers, types of service, number of repetitions and sets with reference to the Goalkeeping Practice book.

These Goalkeeping Practices ‘Live’ will cover: handling and footwork, diving, shot stopping, reaction saves, dealing with high balls and crosses and distribution.


This is a resource that the coach, goalkeeper can use to build a session, in a format that can be taken to the field and re-enforced on laptop, or phone.

On Sale Now!! plus an optimized streaming version for tablets and the latest smartphones – i-phone & android. Preview Here

Originally published February 8th 2011


World Cup 2010

Congratulations Spain!

As I still regard myself as a fully paid up member of the ‘goalkeepers union’, I was delighted to see Spain’s Captain goalkeeper Iker Casillas lift the World Cup!


In this modern era, Spain are blessed with ‘World Class’ goalkeepers in Casillas, Reina and Valdes, I suspect by far the strongest ‘three goalkeepers’ in world soccer.

At whatever the level, whether it be park football or the World Cup Final good goalkeeping doesn’t change!
In last night’s Final, Iker did the ‘basics’ well; dealing with shots from distance, collecting crosses and dealing with though balls comfortably, he kept his defence high at set plays, organised throughout and distributed the ball sensibly…one great long throw in particular.

In my opinion he also made two ‘match winning ‘saves both from Holland’s Roben.
Both one v one saves…..the first a magnificence ‘spread’ using his body as a long barrier….he waited, got close and spread….a true match winning save.

Then again Roben was through; again he waited, got close and this time….tackled with his hands and secured the ball….brilliant!
A great example to any young aspiring goalkeeper on dealing with one v one situations!

Originally published July 13th 2010


Funny Old Game!

As another season draws to a close and promotion and relegation issues are settled,it is a time for reflection

I would like to congratulate Steve Harper, a goalkeeper who I had the pleasure of working with during my time at Newcastle United. ‘Harps’ has had an excellent season and played massive part in helping Newcastle win the Championship and get them back to the Premier League.
I sincerely hope ‘Harps’ now gets the opportunity to play regular in the Premier League. I know I am biased but I really do believe that during my time at St James, I did have the best two goalkeepers in the Premiership!

Congratulations also to Fraser Foster, who in his formative years attended Simon Smith Goalkeeping sessions and I helped to fix him up with one to one coaching whilst he finished his education before going to Newcastle United full time. Fraser has been on loan at Norwich City and has played a major part in helping them get promoted back into the Championship. In Tim Krul and Fraser, the future of goalkeeping is in safe hands!

Another success story is Adam Collin at Carlisle United, I had the arduous task at Newcastle United of telling young goalkeepers that they weren’t going to be good enough for Newcastle United, I had that conversation with Adam. He dropped out of professional football went and played for Workington in the Blue Square North League for a few seasons before signing for Carlisle United at the start of this season, back in professional football, a testimony to his desire and determination. Adam has played this season in League One, including a game at Wembley in front of 70.000 people and played very well. I am genuinely delighted for him.
On the downside!

My thoughts and best wishes to go Shay and his dislocated shoulder – (great ‘step and dive’ save). Getting injured is the bain of any professional sportsman’s life but for it to happen at such an important time of the season is cruel, both on Shay and Manchester City, for whom he has been such a major player this season.
Bring on the World Cup!!


Originally published April 29th 2010


Simon Smith Goalkeeping Academy – Vancouver

UK Tour 2010
What a trip!!
When eleven goalkeepers arrived at Newcastle Airport, little did we know what lay ahead of us!

The group outside their hotel.

We had a great week, straight from the off it was nonstop, action packed and I hope exciting!

Day 1

Training that first morning, the first ‘Academy’ session on English soil and considering jet lag and the travelling the day before, the attitude, application, commitment and standard of goalkeeping was ‘1st class’, something that continued throughout the week.
From training it was straight to St James Park for Newcastle United v Blackpool, a classic encounter in a bygone age. Even today, 47,000 including 14 from Vancouver provided a great and never to be forgotten atmosphere.

Day 2

A ‘Coaching Day with Coach Sadler’, the morning session was on the beach, a new experience for some! Another new experience was Coach Sadler, Adam Sadler, former Newcastle United Goalkeeping Coach like Simon and an ‘old boy’ of Simon Smith Goalkeeping, as is Coach Mike.
Fish and chips for lunch – a sportsman diet!
Rest and back out for another session with Coach Sadler before diner.

On the beach at Tynemouth.

Day 3

A ground tour of St James Park, empty this time….pictures by the pitch, in the dugout and in the press room….very informative.
Training again was late afternoon for the boys, whilst the girls went training with Newcastle United Ladies, an experience they really enjoyed.

Day 4

Day 4 was coaching with Coach Ben, Ben Smith, a professional goalkeeper with Doncaster Rovers.
Ben put on a great warm up and crossing session, he showed the intensity and speed that professionals train at and then chatted to the group about becoming and being a professional and what it involves and takes. A chat much appreciated and enjoyed by our visitors, giving a real insight into life as a professional footballer.
Coach Joe, Joe De Oliveria, Goalkeeping Coach of Manchester City Ladies, took the late afternoon 1 v 1 session, providing great information and enthusiasm….enjoyed by all!

Day 5

Coach Sadler again, just one session today for the boys. The girls trained with Newcastle United’s Ladies again at Newcastle United’s indoor facility at Little Benton.

Day 6

This was supposed to be the ‘big finale’ but by now due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland we knew our guests were staying a little longer. A late morning session before early diner at the local Italian restaurant and then another visit to St James Park for the Youth Cup Semi Final second leg v Aston Villa, unfortunately for the adopted Newcastle United fans from Vancouver, Aston Villa managed a 1 v 0 victory to see them into the final. It gave the group an excellent opportunity to see the standard required to play in England at U18 level.

Day 7

This was supposed to be the ‘sad goodbye day’ at the airport but instead it was another week of training, coaching and cultural visits to Bamburgh Castle, Chillingham Castle and the Metro Centre!

It was a great trip, a massive thanks to Angus for having the idea and organising the travel. Thanks to the ‘coaching staff’, Adam, Ben, Joe and Mike, their level of technical detail, coaching, teaching, professionalism and enthusiasm meant all benefited from their expertise.

We must also thanks the staff at the Premier Inn, North Shields, who under the circumstances bent over backwards and ‘washed underwear’! To help us, particularly in the second week, above and beyond the call of duty!

A great group of goalkeepers, both on and off the field, a credit to themselves, their parents and Canada!
Looking forward to next year already!

The group shot.

Oh! Nearly forgot….Glenn, the best defensive ice hockey lineman we know, in fact, the only defensive lineman we know!! Your help was invaluable!
The message was ….come and experience goalkeeping and the soccer culture in the UK, then go back to Vancouver and put into practice what you have learnt during your stay.

Check out their photos and video here

Lucy Smith

Originally posted April 29th 2010


Shay Given – 100 Caps


I would like to add my own personal congratulations to Shay on making 100 International appearances for the Republic of Ireland.
I had the pleasure of working as Shay’s Goalkeeping Coach at Newcastle United for 5 seasons and to use a ‘Sir Bobbyism’, ‘he is a top, top, top, top goalkeeper’.
Shay’s dedication and desire to be a ‘world class’ performer is an example to any aspiring goalkeeper.
Congratulations once again on reaching 100 caps and never mind what the Italians think! You are number one!


Originally posted October 14th 2009


Sir Bobby Robson (1933-2009)

.…I had lost someone extremely special to me…my Boss, my life coach, my mentor and latterly, my friend.


The recent passing of Sir Bobby Robson wasn’t the way I wanted to or intended to start my career as a ‘blogger’, but such is life!

Where were you when you heard the news? I know where I was when Elvis died and Lady Di, also on England duty as it happens, but I will never forget where I was when The Boss died!! Donetsk in the Ukraine, England U19’s European Championships.

I had sent a text to The Boss before leaving to let him know my movements and whereabouts and we had arranged to meet up on my return, but our success in the Championship caused us to be home later than expected, unfortunately after his passing.

He loved to know what was going on at the F.A., one of his former employers, he was proud that ‘one of his lads’, that’s me – was working for them and expected a debrief after every trip or event. We were two hours ahead in Donetsk, I had taken the goalkeepers out training on their own as it was a rest day for the other players, we had a great session, everything was ‘right’. On returning to the hotel, Brian Eastick, who had also worked with The Boss at Newcastle United as Academy Manager, called me over and told me the news, I sat on the wall in the sunshine trying to take in the news, I felt ‘empty’! By the time I got to my room, I had voice messages and texts from home, I couldn’t reply. How could he leave me, I know that sounds selfish, but I had lost someone extremely special to me…my Boss, my life coach, my mentor and latterly, my friend.

It was an honour, privilege and hard work, to work for The Boss. He was a hard task master, he expected you to have the same passion, commitment, dedication, ambition, loyalty and desire to the club and your job as he did! He expected you to deliver and if you didn’t he let you know…don’t expect praise for doing your job!

Only once, did I get a compliment and then it was a ‘back hander’, when Shay Given signed a new contract, The Boss said to me,’ you got him that contract, working with him every day on the training pitch, he couldn’t do it without you’, I’m not sure either Shay or myself would agree but it was the only compliment I got, so I will take it!

People often remember The Boss for his ability to forget someone’s name, I experienced this myself on many occasions in the early days being referred to or introduced as ‘Goalkeeping Lad’. The other day someone was asking me if I had met Fabio Capello yet and I said I had met him, but not recently. It was on a mid season break in Spain, my golf partner (The Boss) and I had just finished playing and on the putting green was Fabio Capello, we had played Roma, his current club the previous season, The Boss made conversation and then introduced me as ‘and this is goalkeeping lad ‘.


However, The Bosses ‘tactical’ memory would have won him ‘Mastermind’, part of my match day role was as ‘note taker’ if there was anything that happened during the game that The Boss wanted to refer to either at half time or full time he would tell me to write it down, in the five years, he never missed a single thing that he had asked me to write down, I stood there game after game with my list ready to prompt if necessary, all I ever said was ,’ yes Boss, you’ve covered everything’, which caused some amusement amongst the players!

In the years since we both left our ‘beloved’ Newcastle United, our relationship changed and I would like to say turned into a friendship. When I resigned from Newcastle United, he told me I was either brave or stupid, but was incredibly supportive to both myself and my family, he supported and guided me through ‘changing times’, he spoke on my behalf and tried to help me get back to where he felt I belonged.

I was able to talk to him about his experiences both in life and in football, his openness was special…. I am not surprised that ‘The Special One’ has achieved so much in football given his closeness and working relationship with The Boss during his time at Barcelona F.C., working as firstly an interrupter and then as a coach, shadowing The Boss at meetings and discussions on and off the pitch on a daily basis.

It is difficult to sum up in words the effect The Boss has had on both my life and career, but all I can say is that I am a far better person and certainly a far better coach for the experience and The Boss will always be special to me.

Goalkeeping Lad

To donate to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation CLICK HERE

Originally posted September 12th 2009