Goalkeeper Psychology Tips: Goalkeeping at Your Best Under Pressure
Do you embrace big moments in matches?
Whatever level you play at, I’m pretty sure that you’ve experienced feeling under pressure. How you go on to cope with that pressure often is the difference between making that crucial save and not.
Do you have techniques that you rely on to keep you cool and calm? Do you have techniques to draw on to keep you “in the present moment”? Read on if you’d like to know more.
I’ll share 3 tips that can help you thrive under pressure and give yourself more chance of achieving your goalkeeping goals.
Many of these skills can be learned off the football pitch and can be applied to different areas of your life. Similar to training in a gym, the more you practise these techniques the stronger you’ll get.
1. See it, catch it
A tendency many goalkeepers have when they play under pressure is to to worry about coming out for a cross and then dropping it, landing their team in trouble. As a result, many goalkeepers stay on their line, especially under pressure or if they’re having a poor game. Think about when you’re at your best or when your team is 4-0 up, you are likely to be more relaxed and trust yourself when making decisions.
Get used to visualising yourself successfully coming out for crosses under pressure, and then during quiet periods in games, play these moves through your mind. This approach will help you trust yourself under pressure and give yourself the best opportunity to make that telling take, relieving the pressure on your team.
2. Try encouraging yourself, as great coaches do
When you’re playing under pressure, positive self-talk can really help you stay in control. Go ahead design some scripts including some cue words and positive statements to help you feel great under pressure and relax. For example, for cue words, you may use in the warm up may be, “breathe”, “calm”, “cool” or “trust.” For positive statements during a tight game you might say to yourself, “I’ve caught crosses 1000 ‘s of times successfully, let’s do it again” or “this is fun, I love goalkeeping when we’re under pressure.”
3. Focus on the present moment
Grounding yourself during breaks in play or when the ball is at the other end of the pitch may be possible and can be helpful. For example, perhaps scanning your surroundings and noting to yourself the colour of another players boots, the size of a stand or the colour of an advertising hoarding can help goalkeepers stay in the present moment and can be a great distraction technique.
Give them a try and let me know what you think. Also feel free to let me know what works for you.
Please forward this blog to other goalkeepers, coaches or parents who you think would find it helpful or sign up to “The Mental Edge“ for regular Sport Psychology tips for goalkeepers.
One 2 One coaching with a Leading Sport Psychologist, David Charlton, in North East England, is available. Face to face, via the telephone, SKYPE or online via email.
Online Goalkeeping Psychologist who supports goalkeepers with their mental game all around the world from USA to Ireland and England to Australia, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.
Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub. With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster.
T: +44 7734 697769