JETS INSIDER - Mark Birighitti

In this week’s edition of Jets Insider, Mark Birighitti is answering questions submitted by the Club’s Members and supporters.

In this week-s edition of Jets Insider, goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is answering questions submitted by the Club-s Members and supporters.

Birighitti gives advice for young goalkeepers, speaks about his own experiences at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and discusses his preferred style of goalkeeper gloves.

Mark Bleeson asks via email: You had a very successful season last year, how do you go about building on those performances this season?

Mark Birighitti (MB): I-m always trying to get better and I think no matter what age you are, there-s always room for improvement.

I just try to get better at each training session and work on certain aspects of my game. Whether it-s shot-stopping, whether it-s one-on-ones, whether it-s dealing with crosses or whether it-s distribution, I just want to get that all-round package together.

@_Grimario asks via Twitter: Do you play any other sports outside football? Have you ever heard of Disc Golf? Interested in playing?

MB: Outside of football I don-t really have much of an opportunity to play other sports. I like to spend a bit of time down at the beach and have the occasional hit of golf, but that-s about it.

I used to play a bit of AFL when I was younger, but it got to a point where I had to make a decision between that and football and I-m glad I stuck with football.

Kevin Peters asks via email: Having played in a FIFA U20 World Cup, how do you think the experience will help our current Young Socceroos when they come back to play for the Jets?

MB: It had a massive impact on my career and it is definitely one of the biggest highlights I-ve had so far. It was a great experience and even though we would have liked to go further in the tournament, it was a fantastic opportunity to play against countries like Spain, Costa Rica and Ecuador.

It-s a great opportunity for our Jets boys to go over there and play against the best in the world. There are a lot of people watching and you don-t know what could happen. You could have a few good games and an overseas club might pick you up.

Alex Aguilar asks via email: What are your impressions of John Solari so far?

MB: Very good so far. He-s only young, but give him a couple of years in this environment and it will definitely accelerate his learning process. He-s a good young kid with a bright future and one to look out for.

When I was in Adelaide he was coming through the ranks of the State League and the youth team. He has good attitude and he loves to learn, which is a great asset.

@thommo477 asks via Twitter: Mark, what type of gloves are you wearing at the moment and what do you look for in a good pair?

MB: There is a whole different range of NIKE gloves, but the ones I wore last season had a negative-cut palm, which were a bit thinner and gave you more of a feel for the ball.

This year I-m going with gunn-cut gloves. They have a palm with a roll finger, which is a bit chunkier. I-ve been using them during the pre-season so far and have really liked them. I also look for gloves that have styles and colours that I like as well.

James Smith asks via email: What are some basic goalkeeping drills I can do to help improve my game?

MB: There are a lot of basic things you can do to help yourself improve, even if it just involves kicking a ball up against a brick wall and catching it. Just doing the little things like that on a daily basis to help you improve your technique will really help you out.

Lawrence Taylor asks via email: There was talk towards the end of last season that some European clubs were showing interest in you. Does that give you added motivation to have another big year with the Jets?

MB: Of course every young kid has the ambition to play in the top flight in Europe and I-m in the same boat, I want to play at the highest level possible.

At the moment I-m really looking forward to another big year with the Jets and I-ve just got to take each game as it comes. I really want to keep getting better and hopefully achieve some big things with this Club.

Mo Isling asks via email: Do you think the average young goalkeeper doesn-t get shown enough attention by their coaches? Is it worthwhile going to a goalkeeping specialist coach?

MB: I think that some junior coaches can sometimes take our position for granted, mainly due to the fact that there are 10 outfield players for them to worry about and just one goalkeeper.

If you-re serious about being a quality goalkeeper, I think it-s very important to have a specialist goalkeeper coach who knows drills and can put on good sessions for young kids. When you-re at a young age, that-s when it-s really important to be learning the basics for your development.

It-s the same for any position though really, whether it-s a striker, midfielder or defender, it helps to get advice from a coach who has played that position.

Jessica Meltan asks via email: Do you draw inspiration from someone like Mark Schwarzer who is still playing at such a high level despite being over 40 years old?

MB: Absolutely. You look at Mark Schwarzer and his probably is some of the best form of his career, which is amazing for someone who is 40 years old. The way he looks after his body is a sign of a true professional and he has been a real inspiration for me.

Brian Walker asks via email: How important is it for a goalkeeper to be a good communicator?

MB: It-s one of the most important aspects of goalkeeping. It-s good for a goalkeeper to make a good save here and there, but if you-re always communicating with your defence and keeping it organised, it-s going to make your job easier because you-ll have less saves to make.

It-s one area of my game that I-m definitely looking to improve, but I think the more games I play and the more experience I get, the more natural that communication will become.

Sean Bryant asks via email: What are your expectations for the team this season?

MB: Definitely to make the finals. We-ve had a good pre-season so far, the boys are pumped and they want to have a good year.

Missing out the way we did last season was very disappointing, so we want to make that top six and even go further than that.

Thank you for all your Jets Insider questions!