Joe Hart Talks Specialisation and Goalkeeper Coaching

England and Manchester City Goalkeeper Joe Hart recently sat down with Better Football Editor Pavl Williams to talk about growing up as a Goalkeeper, the training ‘keepers enjoy and how outfield players treat their stopper teammates.

Pavl Williams : “How much specialist goalkeeper training did you receive growing up?”

Joe Hart : “At my first Sunday league club I got a little bit. Luckily the guy who ran the team was a goalkeeper so he took that part quite seriously, but there’s only so much specific goalkeeper training you can do.

“When I was involved at Shrewsbury Town I had [goalie training] once a week but other than that we just played football and played for the love of it rather than trying to be the best.”

PW : “So did you know early on that you wanted to specialise as a goalkeeper?”

JH : “No not at all, I played everywhere!

“When you’re a kid you just want to play football whether you’re in goal or you’re outfield. I just played for the love of it with no pressure, no nothing, and just tried to enjoy the game wherever I played.”

PW : “When did you specialise and really concentrate solely on playing in goal?”

JH : “I think it was around 14 [years old]. I was always playing but when I was 14 I got involved with my local club at Shrewsbury Town and I was in goal from then on. But even then I still played outfield until I was 16 for my school.

“You know what it’s like, when you’re young you play for ten different teams so you can mix it up!”

PW : “Which practices do you particularly enjoy as a goalkeeper?”

JH : “I enjoy it all. As a pro we’re lucky enough to have the best coaches and best players around so everything is a challenge day in and day out.

“Obviously goalkeeper training can be a bit repetitive and can get a bit boring but at the same time if you you’re always trying to get better you’ve got to constantly be working on different things.”

PW : “So do goalkeepers have to have a different mindset to outfield players on the training field? Is your routine more structured than theirs?”

JH : “Haha yea! There’s no understanding, you know [outfield players] don’t really understand what we do!

“I think we know more or less what they’re trying to do but there’s no love for the goalies.

“We don’t care though, we know what we’re there to do and what our job is and we just have to get on with it. The differences are a big part of football and part of the fun of it.”

PW : “Do you hate any practice where strikers line up and bombard your goal with shots as much as all grassroots goalies do?”

JH : “Yes! When it’s just totally unorganised and you’re just getting peppered is the worst thing!

“I can be a bit childish but I’ve just walked out of those ones in the past. The gloves come off! I’m not interested in that one little bit!”

Better Football spoke to Joe Hart at the opening of a clubhouse in Manchester that was part-funded by The Football Foundation. Visit for more information about their vital investment in grassroots football facilities.

Emma Norén / WikiMedia Commons
Licenced under Creative Commons 3.0. Some rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Joe Hart Talks Specialisation and Goalkeeper Coaching

  1. Great interview.

    Its impressive that he didn’t played the goalie full-time before he was 16

  2. Very interesting piece. I admire Joe Hart as both a professional and a role model off the field. You can tell that he plays football for the love of the game due to the fact that he didn’t even start playing in goal until the age of 16! His enthusiasm shows us that he’s more than just another footballer in playing for the money. I also like the fact that he was at Shrewsbury until fairly late on, there’s a chance for anyone to get into the professional game even if they haven’t done it by the age of 18. Good interview.

  3. Kevin Richardson

    Hey I am a Goalkeeper Specialist Coach 

  4. some of the best in the world didn’t specialize early. Heck Hope Solo (regarded as the best female goalkeeper in the world) didn’t even start playing goal until she was in college. Goalkeeping is a late developing position and goalkeepers need the foot skills like any other player so specializing early and neglecting the foot skills is not good for the players development down the road.

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