Phil Wheddon seeks balance as head coach while trying to be the goalkeeper mentor he never had

first_img Published on October 18, 2017 at 11:07 pm Contact Bobby: [email protected] Before every game, Syracuse goalkeepers Courtney Brosnan and Lysianne Proulx face penalty kicks, services into the box, corner kicks and just about every other possible scenario they’ll see in the 90 minutes ahead. It’s not a time for coaching, it’s used to stay loose and relaxed. All the shots rocket off the foot of their head coach, dressed in full athletic gear, Phil Wheddon.Brosnan and Proulx both came to SU for Wheddon’s expertise as a renowned goalkeeper coach. This, Wheddon feels, creates a personal obligation, even “a lot of pressure,” for him to provide them personal attention, which comes in the form of private sessions, pregame kicks and specialized coaching for each goalie’s style.Wheddon’s challenge is that he serves as both Syracuse’s (7-6-2, 2-4-1 Atlantic Coast) head coach and goalkeeper coach. His passion and expertise lies in goalkeeping, but in addition to his two goalies, he oversees 21 additional players. He considers the balance often.“There’s what they call a ‘goalkeeping union,’” Wheddon said. “It’s more personal, you have a different interaction with them. It’s such a mental position. The psychological aspect of the position is so delicate that you have to be able to find that balance, and that’s the balance that I face.”At 9 years old, an ocean away in England, Wheddon became a goalkeeper himself at the whim of a physical education teacher who put him in net. He had fun, and he saw many notable goalies playing professionally, so “it was easy to aspire to be one of them.” Wheddon played professionally in England and the United States, though sometimes the position wasn’t as rewarding as he had imagined.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I didn’t have a mentor,” he said, “someone to teach me how to be a professional. I wasn’t really aware of how to take care of myself properly, how to do things the right way in preparation for the game. The goalkeeper can be a very lonely position. That was something I struggled with, as far the ridicule and things you often get as a youngster.”In pregame, he got “smashed” by his team’s forwards, trying to make a few saves and do what he had been told. It is, in part, a reason why he stresses to Proulx and Brosnan the importance of quality repetitions in controlled environments.Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorWheddon didn’t turn to coaching until after he’d bounced around leagues for a couple years until 1993, the last year of his playing career. He aimed for a backup spot in goal behind Tony Meola on the New York Metrostars, now the Red Bulls of Major League Soccer. But Wheddon didn’t make the team, he said, because he simply wasn’t good enough.“At that point,” Wheddon said, “I had to make a decision. ‘Am I going to continue to play? Or do I need to actually make some money?’”At Crewe and Alsager College, where Wheddon graduated in 1989, he earned a minor in coaching. He knew nine different sports, from badminton to weightlifting. He decided to cash out, coach soccer and work toward his “A” license, the highest level of certification by United States of America Soccer.In 1999, six years after getting cut in New York, at the A license coaching clinic, he played too well. Peter Mellor, overseeing the clinic, had to ask Wheddon to make a mistake so he could complete the lesson he’d been trying to teach. Later that year, Wheddon had planned on going to San Diego to see the U.S. men’s national team train in Chula Vista, California, in advance of the 2000 Olympics. He wanted to see Tim Howard, Brad Friedel and Adin Brown work out. Then, on Christmas Eve, Mellor called Wheddon.“You can’t come to San Diego,” Mellor said.“What do you mean I can’t come?” Wheddon asked.Mellor quickly explained that Tony DiCicco had given up coaching the goalkeepers for women’s national team, which needed someone to fill the position for its trip to Australia for the Pacific Cup in a few weeks.With the women’s team, Wheddon found his passion in coaching and a “high” in being part of player’s successes. Wheddon worked with a host of elite goalkeepers, including Hope Solo. He later worked with the men’s team, becoming the only person to ever coach both the USA men’s and women’s World Cup teams.Wheddon studied different styles and approaches, and he saw the game shift from aggressive sliding to break-up plays toward standing and defending the net. The opportunity to observe this from so close allowed him to hone the coaching skills that exceeded his own while playing.“It was really finding what worked for one goalkeeper and finding what worked for the other goalkeeper in the same training session and treating them differently,” Wheddon said. “But I always learned a great deal from just watching and being around.”Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorSeventeen years later, Wheddon’s office at Syracuse is a museum. Medals from various coaching endeavors rest under a glass table. He’s well over six feet tall, a commanding presence still athletic enough to practice with his players. A mini tea cup looks even smaller in his large hands. He didn’t have the speed to play wing, but he had the size to stop shots.Brosnan heard about Wheddon’s days with Team USA and the all-time greats he has trained.“His personality is just very commanding,” she said, “so I think that’s very important if you’re going to be a goalkeeper. You have to be commanding in your box and with your players, and I think as a coach that’s very important.”Sessions with Brosnan, Proulx or both are “high-intensity,” whether it’s preparation for opponents, crosses, service or anything else Wheddon feels needs to be improved upon.For Proulx, it meant making secondary saves. After she blocks an initial shot, he stressed foot angles and immediately staying composed to prepare herself for another shot.“I will block more than actually catch the ball,” Proulx said. “I play high off my line and if I can get the opportunity to get outside of my box and go to get the ball, I will do it.”Brosnan is almost the opposite. She’s focused on handling the ball and being technically sound. Her game is more geared toward setting with her feet and catching balls out of midair.To Wheddon, every goalkeeper is a unique challenge stylistically, but the success is in the fundamentals.“It all starts with body shape and what they call a set position,” he said. “How you’re going to stand when you’re preparing to face a shot. It all starts there. Your balance and your shape … nowadays you have to be as good with your feet as you are with your hands.”With that much attention to detail in his goalkeepers, Wheddon calls on his staff — Kelly Lawrence, Ben Boehner and Javier Mejia-Blau — to work with the rest of the roster when he needs time with his goalies.At the start of practice, while the other 21 players warms up, Wheddon kicks at the goalies for reps. Then, he rejoins the full team and, he said, “I become the team coach.”“He’s always talking to me and Lysianne,” Brosnan said, “about improving in what we can do to be better individually in our position. (That is) integrating that into the team and how that can help us.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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HORROR AS DONEGAL MUM DIES DURING WORKOUT AT GYM

first_imgA Donegal mother of four has died during a workout at the gym.Angela Grogan, 60, took ill while running on a treadmill at The Gym in Carndonagh, at about 9.30am yesterday.Her daughter Michelle Grogan, 30, was using a treadmill alongside her when her mother suffered a massive heart attack and died in front of her. The gym, at Mart Road, Carndonagh, is just yards from the local Garda station and officers were on the scene quickly.However Mrs Grogan could not be revived.One local woman who knew Mrs Grogan well told donegaldaily.com: “The whole of Carn is in complete shock.“Angela was a lovely woman, well liked and respected in the community. “Like a lot of people she was starting off the New Year and aiming to get fit. It is such a tragedy for the Grogan family. Everybody is in bits; just devastated.The Gym has closed as a mark of respect to the popular local woman.© 2011 donegaldaily.com, all Rights ReservedThe copying, republication or redistribution of donegaldaily.com Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited by law.Follow us on www.twitter.com/donegaldaily Follow us on www.facebook.com/donegaldailySell anything on www.donegaldailyclassifieds.comHORROR AS DONEGAL MUM DIES DURING WORKOUT AT GYM was last modified: January 20th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:CarndonaghThe Gymwoman dies at gym during workoutlast_img read more

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