The non-league game is littered with young professionals from league clubs trying to make their way in the game, however you don't find many young goalkeeper's out on loan. Bailey Vose is an exception. Bailey trains with Brighton during the week, and on match-day's he's between the sticks for Concord Rangers in the Conference South.
So what happen's during a normal week for Bailey? I spent some time with the young goalkeeper and found out what goes on, and how he hopes to become a top-level goalkeeper...
Monday is normally a game day for Brighton Under 23's, so this involves having a pre match meal at 4pm. Then we have a team meeting around 4:30pm, just prepping us on the opposition. We would then head to the stadium to get ready for the game with kick off being at 7pm.
However as I'm now on loan at Concord, my day is different. My day starts with breakfast at 9am, from then onwards i will prepare myself for training at 10:15am. On a Monday training would be with the first team keepers unless they have a game on the Tuesday. Training would last for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, however, I would only spend 30-40 minutes with the goalkeeper coach.
When we train with the rest of the team we normally have a small sided game. In addition to this, if any of the strikers want to of extra training then I would jump in goal for them.
There is a variety of strikers at Brighton, target men, pacey forwards, but I tell you they're all exceptionally good at finishing. They don’t whack the ball hard, but they hit the ball with enough pace to beat you, and is in the corners 99% of the time. It's all about precision. I can only improve my own performance from this additional practice, so it works for both the forwards and myself.
After training we then have lunch which is available from 12-1pm. After lunch, I will then do a gym session for 45 minutes. My gym sessions normally work my lower body. This is because I want to improve the power in my legs, to give me a better chance to reaching the top corners. In my opinion, my strongest part of my game is my distribution. I think i am very good with the ball at my feet, as I didn’t turn a goalkeeper until I was 15 (*hang on - writer interjects*)
"What do you mean you only starting playing in goal at 15!?"
Well I've always liked the position, and played their occasionally growing up, it's just when the keeper for my Sunday team got badly injured, I thought yeah I'll go in goal, and it's gone on from there! Do I fancy myself out on pitch now? Haha. I don't know I love being a keeper now. But playing out on pitch for so long as a boy has definitely helped me out.
Tuesday starts exactly the same as Monday with training beginning again at 1015am. This session will start with goalkeepers working on our positioning and technical ability. This will be for around 45 minutes and will then be followed by going with the team for a game.
After lunch I would then be able to leave the training ground to go home and recover, but I like to hang around after training to practice my kicking and other bits of my game.
On some Tuesdays the first team may have a game, for example on the 28th they're at home to Newcastle, so the whole 23 squad would attend. This is a great way to observe the first team keepers, watch them warm up and see what you have to do the reach the top level.
Furthermore, if I play for the Under 23's on a Monday then today would be the day I sit down with my goalkeeper coach to watch through the game, as all the games are filmed. Again, looking on what I done well and what I need to improve on.
This is a rest day.
"You're not just getting away with that! What goalkeeper do you look to as an inspiration/role model?"
For me, the keeper I would base my game on would be Joe Hart. This is because I think he is a great shot stopper, he shows that he can dominate his defence and I feel that his distribution is good as well. A good goalkeeper in my opinion is that he has to be a excellent shot stopper because that is our job you've got to keep the ball out of the net. It's that simple really.
"Some games you might only have to face one shot, so how important is it to stay focussed?"
Concentration is vital for a keeper as like you say you may not have nothing to do all game and then suddenly you are called into action and you need to deliver. Thats for me what makes a top keeper, when you are called upon you deliver. All goalkeepers can make saves but the top keepers make the difference in games, they make the vital saves when they're needed and win their team points.
Training would again begin at 10:15am for me, however this would be a lighter session for me as I train with Concord in the evening. Lunch would be taken at 12pm and after that, I would head off to train at Concord.
The training at Concord follows a similar pattern as it does at Brighton, I'll spend around 30 minutes with the goalkeeper coach Andy Young, and after we have done some technical work, I would then join the full team for a game.
Training and playing at Conference South level is really helping me improve the facets of my game, which I think need improving the most and that's communication and dealing with crosses. It's vital at this level that I communicate with my defence, they need to know when I'm coming for corners etc, and where I want my wall positioned. The team are relying on me. At Conference level there are so many crosses going into the box, it's giving me plenty of chances to improve my game, which I think it steadily is in this area.
Training on a Friday would be about preparing me for the game on Saturday. This would include some handling work, shot stopping, some crossing and some kicking. After lunch I go home and unwind. I try not to think about the game on Saturday, I like to just chill out and watch a film or some TV. I'll then go to bed and wake up the next day with myself all refreshed.
Saturday is a game day for Concord. Pre match would be around 12pm for me, meeting at the ground for 1:30pm. There is always a member of Brighton that will come and watch me, this may be my goalkeeper coach or a Brighton scout. If my goalkeeper coach comes and watches me then we would talk through the game on what I did well and what things I need to improve on. If a Brighton scout comes and watches me then he would contact my goalkeeper coach and we would go through it later in the week.
The main difference that I notice between non-league and the U23's is the pace of the game. The pace in the Conference is a lot quicker because the players don’t get as much time on the ball as they do compared to under 23 games. Physically, the conference is a lot stronger as your playing with men. However, U23 football is a lot more technical.
The movement of player's at both levels is very good, however a lot of the non-league strikers like the ball into their feet as they have the physicality to defend it. You can tell when a striker is a good player, when you see their body shape when they're striking a ball. Sometimes I can tell where they are going to shoot through their body position, however better players know that the keeper is trying to read their body position, and try to trick us. For example, if a strike shapes up to shoot in the far corner, but in the last second changes to squeeze it in at the near post. Another key component of a striker is that movement off the ball, the best forward I've played against so far, Saido Berahino is excellent at that. He is an outstanding centre forward.
A big difference is coping mentally from the abuse you get from the opposition spectators, which you don’t get to experience at U23 football. The abuse I get behind the goal is always funny. I get called every name under the sun which is just standard. But I remember playing for Whyteleafe when I was 17 and as I’ve gone to get the ball out of the net, the opposition supporters threw all beer over me, that was probably the worse, but I’m sure it will get worse!
Sunday would again start with breakfast at 9am and training being at 10:15. As it is a day after a game, training would be light and would involve some handling and some diving. Furthermore, on a Sunday, for part of my recovery I go in the gym and do some upper body but also go in the ice baths for my muscles to recover. Then I'm all set to start again on Monday!