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This is why Christophe Lollichon is one of the best goalkeeper coaches in the world

When I went to Chelsea open practice in Seattle in the summer of 2012, I remember being disappointed that my chosen vantage point was closer to the practicing goalkeepers than the outfield players flashing their tricks and skills. That's where all the excitement was, not in stupid catching and shot stopping practice, right?


The man I did not properly count with was Christophe Lollichon. The 51-year-old goalkeeper coach has worked with Petr Cech since 2002. Despite a gap of three years from 2004-2007, they are practically in symbiosis. Only one manager has dared to challenge that working relationship so far, but he also wanted to swap Drogba with Adriano, so perhaps we needn't worry about his judgement in matters. Tellingly, when José Mourinho returned this past summer, one of the key staff retained was Lollichon* despite the presence of Sílvino Louro who is not only a Mourinho confidante but has also worked very successfully with Cech in the past.

* Incidentally, the only reason Lollichon was ever reunited with Cech after Rennes was because Mourinho and most of his staff left in 2007; Lollichon was brought in about two months later on Cech's recommendation and the rest, as they say, is history.

What I saw from Lollichon in Seattle that day were drills aimed not only at basic qualities like agility, reflexes, and positioning, but also at more complex ideas like decision-making and concentration. Rather than trying to explain, here's someone else's video of a multi-stage, multi-ball drill from that day, while here's @alrickbrown's video of a drill from the Miami session that worked on decisions, agility, and recovery. Now I don't know how different these may be from other top coaches in the world, but I certainly came away with the impression that his hands-on, challenging yet entertaining style was greatly appreciated not just by Cech, but by Jamal Blackman, Ross Turnbull, and Hilário as well.

As Sky Sports' video shows at the top, Lollichon hasn't been content with resting on his laurels and is constantly looking for new ways to challenge his keepers. Thus, enter tennis racket and tennis ball. Catch that!

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