Rotherham United give amateur goalkeeper a money-can't-buy football experience thanks to Smart Energy GB and EFL initiative
Rotherham United gave one lucky fan a money cannot buy opportunity, to learn to Save Like A Pro alongside their Swedish goalkeeping star, Viktor Johansson.
Rotherham United Women’s stopper Georgia Ward was invited to The Roundwood Sports Complex Training Ground to experience a professional goalkeeping coaching session and get tips on how to save energy when playing.
The session included how to position correctly, blocking, footwork, one-on-one saves, how to save energy when moving from one side of the goal to another and how to preserve mental energy in a tough game.
The training session was organised as part of Smart Energy GB and EFL’s ‘Save Like a Pro’ campaign, which highlights how getting a smart meter installed can help people make small changes at home to save energy and be more in control of their energy bills.
Ward was put through her paces at Rotherham’s first team training complex by Johansson, and United’s experienced goalkeeping coach - former Millers number 1 - Andy Warrington.
Johansson, who signed for United last summer from topflight Leicester City and became a fan favourite throughout the 2020/21 season, wanted to get involved so he could give fans like Ward a chance to experience a professional standard training session.
“It’s been great to welcome Georgia to the training ground, and give something back to the community,” said Johansson, speaking to encourage Rotherham fans to get a smart meter installed.
“We went through various drills and put her through her paces, it was an intense session but with a focus on using energy at the right time.”
“In a game we need to know when to save energy and slow the tempo, it is really important for us.
“It was also great to learn about saving energy off the pitch as well and about the importance of getting a smart meter installed so I can watch and manage my energy at home.”
Smart meters come with an in-home display so users can easily see where energy is being used, meaning they can make small changes to be more efficient, budget more easily and put an end to estimated bills.
“Being in control of your energy is imperative as a goalkeeper,” added goalkeeper coach Andy Warrington.
“You might have had very little to do during a match, and then suddenly in the last minute, a save could be the difference, between winning or losing.
“We focused on when to get down low at the right time and finding the shortest possible route to the ball to use your energy smartly.
“Off the pitch you also must take care with your nutrition and rest, to make sure you’re 100 per cent on it. Otherwise, that could impact your performances in training and in a match, which could be at the detriment to the team.
“Georgia did really well in the session, and it was great to chat to her about the best ways of saving energy in and outside of football.
Having played without fans at the AESSEAL New York Stadium throughout last season, Johansson hugely enjoyed playing in front of Millers supporters for the first time on the opening weekend of the EFL season, with his side picking up a 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle.
Ward, who is from Rotherham, plays for amateur-level Rotherham United Women Football club, in the Northeast Regional Women's League Premier Division.
The 30-year-old works for Network Rail for her day job and said she can’t wait to put the tips from both Warrington and Johansson into practice during the new season.
She said: “Being a fan of the club, I was delighted to have the experience of working with both Andy and Viktor. They have offered plenty of tips of how best to get around the penalty area efficiently.
“It has been hard work, but I have really enjoyed it.
“Conserving energy isn’t something I’ve thought about too much before as a goalkeeper, but both gave me some key handling tips, as well as advice about keeping my weight forward, my footwork, and shot-stopping.
“It’s opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas, and I’m looking forward to taking them back for the season ahead now.
“I was also really interested to learn about controlling energy off the pitch at home and the benefits of getting a smart meter installed.
Ward also noted the physical demands of the session, with the step up from amateur to professional training noticeable.
She added: “Physically, it was tough, because my body is not used to that intensity, but also really enjoyable.
“The drills helped me enormously with knowing how to save energy in a match situation.
“That way you are ready for when you need to dive across the box, block shots and spring into action.”
Among the tips discussed to manage energy off the pitch by Johansson and Ward was using fewer appliances and lights during the summer months, hang washing outside rather than using a dryer, and turn your appliances off standby mode. Speaking to your energy supplier about getting a meter installed to control your usage was another key tip, with prepay customers able to top up online or using their mobile
Switching off lights when not in use and cooking for everyone at once to use the oven less are other key energy-saving practices.
Robert Cheesewright, Director at Smart Energy GB said: “Footballers and goalkeepers need to know how to conserve their energy on and off the pitch, and the same goes for our own energy use at home.
“Getting a smart meter from your energy supplier means, through automatic billing and having greater control of your energy use, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
“The in-home display allows you to see in near-real time how much energy you are using in pounds and pence - meaning you can make some great saves, just like our goalkeepers today.
“Join the energy revolution and help upgrade Britain’s energy infrastructure by getting a smart meter installed at no extra cost.”
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