Petry: “We have a plan”

Zsolt Petry is about to start his fourth season as goalkeeping coach at 1899. Whilst the aims of the club have risen this year, so has the quality of the goalkeepers at Petry's disposal.

With 38 international caps, the 46 year old former Hungarian goalkeeper, who saved three penalties in the 1984 European U18 Championship final and worked with top Polish goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, assesses the current goalkeeping situation: “Our aim is to have all three goalkeepers reach the high level that's required in the Bundesliga and maintain that standard.” Those in question are Tim Wiese, Koen Casteels and Jens Grahl. “Of course Tim has an advantage due to his vast amount of experience, but Koen is a talented goalkeeper, who is pushing himself towards a start in the Bundesliga.” Jens Grahl has also impressed the goalkeeping coach with his improvement. “During his time at Paderborn he matured and now has a very professional attitude.”

“With these three goalkeepers, we can feel positive about going into this season”, confirmed Petry. The coach doesn't like to talk about the competition for places, as he believes individuals' goals and motivation are of greater importance than comparisons. The handling of the goalkeepers follows a clear plan, which Petry was happy to explain. The aim of which is to teach the youngsters high quality goalkeeping. “There are a great number of aspects that we are paying attention to: recognising situations, finding the optimal position, making decisions and executing them.” Petry goes on to explain in greater detail. The goalkeepers should all be prepared for any possible match situation. “Having a plan in mind”, is what Petry calls it. He draws upon an analogy to explain further: “It's like driving a car. You've always got to plan ahead, watch the movement of the other cars, assess how things will develop and then decide when to overtake.”

Aside from a great deal of video analysis, the goalkeepers also have two sessions a week with the Hoffenheim sports psychologist, Jan Mayer. The intensive training is always planned at the beginning of the week and is coordinated alongside the entire training schedule. If the goalkeepers have any particular needs, Petry is always on hand to help. An additional part of training is the so called ‘wall game', where Petry fires the ball against the wall, which then rebounds randomly back towards goal. “Most goals are scored from close range, in between six and 12 yards. Only a quick arm or leg reaction is effective and it's this quick reflex that we are trying to simulate here”, explains the former Hungarian goalkeeper.

Petry dismisses the view that Tim Wiese's performances have been influenced by his exclusion from the national side. Tim is far too professional and has shown increased focus during this time. “I am convinced that Tim will once again be among the best goalkeepers in the Bundesliga.”

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