A new academy which is aimed at providing specialised coaching for young goalkeepers will open up in Cumbernauld this week.
The GK Icon academy is being run by Cumbernauld Colts goalkeeping coach Chris Fahey, assisted by current Falkirk keeper David Mitchell.
Based at Broadwood, the academy will run sessions for keepers aged from seven to 16 every Thursday night.
Fahey (39), whose career has included spells with Albion Rovers, Stenhousemuir, Raith Rovers and Stranraer, officially retired at the end of last season after playing his final match for Colts in the South of Scotland Cup Final against East Kilbride.
He is still registered as a player for emergencies - and there have been two already this season - but sees his future very much in coaching.
And he believes the absence of specialised coaching for young goalkeepers, both individuals and clubs, is something which needs to be addressed.
He said: “There seems to be a lack of goalkeeping coaches out there.
“The way I always grew up the two goalkeepers just went over in the corner and kicked the ball to each other with nobody actually telling them what to do.
“But there definitely does seem to be more clubs now interested in a specialist goalkeeping coach and giving them that specialist training.
“Mums and dads are also more interested in pushing their kids down that specialist route as well.”
“I’ve noticed that in the coaching I’ve already done over in Renfrewshire, the ones between maybe seven and 12, even in a short period of time the things you’re telling them get them out of their bad habits and into the good habits.
“Kids are that age are just like wee sponges, they take everything in. But the older you get the more your bad habits set in and the harder it is to change them.
“If you can get them at a young age that’s a good time.”
The academy will be launched at Broadwood tomorrow night and will run two weekly sessions, from 6pm to 7pm and 7pm to 8pm.
Chris continued: “It’s myself and David Mitchell who are going to be running the sessions. We’d played together at Stranraer a number of years back and we’ve just stayed friends.
He’s keen to get involved in the coaching. He’s not exactly getting on a bit - he’s 26 - but he’s still starting to think about the coaching side of things so it will be good for him to pass on his experience to the kids as well.
“Mind you he’s played in front of 50,000 and all these big crowds, but he’s come in and taken a couple of sessions and said there’s nothing more nerve-wracking than coaching a group of 15 kids!”
To register for GK Icons, or for more details, visit https://uk.challengersports.com/Renfrewshire/search_lesson