Beating Perfectionism as a Goalkeeper

Beating Perfectionism as a Goalkeeper

Sports Psychology Tips: Beating Perfectionism as a Goalkeeper

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Are you searching for perfection?

If you lack self-belief and confidence when you train and in matches, maybe you have perfectionist tendencies?

Perfectionists demand an awful lot from themselves, arguably too much.  They can be fixated on performing to an unreachable level.  These high and unrealistic expectations then go on to cause self-doubt and in some cases performance anxiety.

Often goalkeepers who are perfectionists perform fantastically in training, but as soon as a match comes along their performance dips.  This can cause huge frustration for them and their coaches and in some cases, client’s have expressed they dread match day and would rather sit on the bench.

Another challenge perfectionist goalkeepers have is that they place too much focus on pleasing other people.  They can worry a lot about what team-mates, coaches, friends, parents say and think about them.  This is more common among younger goalkeepers and can lead to confidence level’s yo-yo’ing.

From my experience of supporting goalkeepers, 10 common challenges perfectionist goalkeepers struggle with are:

10 Common Challenges

– Very self-critical of themselves and their performances

– Performance anxiety before games

– Unrealistic expectations to perform without any errors

– Dwelling on mistakes

– Find it difficult to transfer training form to matches

– Difficulty controlling their emotions after errors

– Mind reading and focusing too much on what other people think or say

– Concentration issues, thinking too far ahead

– Communication with team-mates on occasions

– Their confidence yo-yo’s from high to low quickly

It’s not all bad news

When you consider top goalkeepers and the Mental Toughness they require to be successful you think may think of:

– Highly motivated

– Love learning new skills

– Strong commitment levels

– Desire to be better every day

Perfectionist goalkeepers will tick these boxes too which makes them great to work with.  They simply need some assistance to improve other psychological skills from Sport Psychologists to achieve their potential.

2 Tips to help Perfectionist Goalkeepers

  1. Help them understand what factors they can and cannot control. Helping them to recognize how focusing on the right and wrong things impacts on their behaviour. This way they can create mini-goals in training and in matches where they shift their focus on to behaviours that they do when they play at their best.
  2. Improve their self-awareness in relation to the expectations they place on themselves in training and in matches. This is vitally important for them to understand how some beliefs go on to destroy their confidence.

For example, a goalkeeper may incorrectly believe that they must perform perfectly and not make any mistakes.  When a mistake occurs this can then result in them becoming overly self-critical, they may become fearful with their distribution or when they come to receive crosses.  This can then go on to seep into other areas of their game, perhaps their distribution – destroying their confidence.

Feel free to share this with other goalkeepers or coaches.  Also feel free to let me know what works well for you to quieten your mind.

Or to keep up to date with new developments and my new exciting Mental Toughness programme for goalkeepers sign up to “The Mental Edge”.

To get in touch for one 2 one Sports Psychology Coaching with a Leading Sport Psychologist, David Charlton, based near Durham click here – Face to face, via the telephone, SKYPE or online via email.

David Charlton Sports Psychologist Newcastle

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Sport Psychologist located near Durham, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly.  

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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