I had the pleasure of speaking to Imps goalkeeping coach Steve Croudson this week, ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Hull City.
You can read that by picking up a programme from Ignition Media, with the full interview discussing a few ex-Imps that have helped influence his career, as well as talking about Sam Long, Ethan Ross and, of course, Alex Palmer.
Alex is someone I also spoke to recently, and he told me back then that the intense game schedule had made it tough to digest bad results and correct mistakes. “Coming off the back of a bad result, you normally come in, shake it off Monday and Tuesday, then Thursday and Friday you have a chance to look forward to the next game,” he told me.
“We’ve not really had that chance this season, and it is difficult. You come in on a Monday after a bad result and you have to review the game and then immediately look ahead to Tuesday. You don’t get the time to refocus, it’s just constant, you go again.”
I found that interesting and wondered, from a coach’s point of view, how you worked on rectifying mistakes with so little time between matches. Alex has made very few mistakes this season, but every player makes one or two and there was a shaky spell for the on-loan West Brom stopper. Steve told me exactly how he felt those moments were handled best.
“You try and do it the best way you think as a coach,” said the former Grimsby Town keeper. “Obviously, like all players, goalkeepers do make mistakes, but what I look out for is their character to come back from that and to still show desire every single way to be the best they can be. If they do that, then I back them, all day long.”
Steve, who was passionate when speaking about the keepers, almost as a father might be about his children, then went on to explain the key attribute he wanted to see in the players he coaches.
“All I want to see from them is a willingness to learn, to take things on board but equally to have their own opinion, to talk and explain how their feeling as well. That’s something I think is massive in goalkeeper coaching. You try to help them, but equally, they have to be honest with you about how they’re feeling.”
Tomorrow, former Hull City coach Steve will be on the red and white bench, hoping to see his protege Alex Palmer turning in a great performance in what would be a huge clash between two strong League One teams at Sincil Bank.