Goalkeeping Psychology

Sports Psychology for Goalkeepers

A large percentage of goalkeeping is psychological see below for a range of resources to aid your understanding 



How does a Sports Psychologist help a goalkeeper?

My  understanding of the unique demands on goalkeepers comes from discussions with Elite goalkeeping coaches, supporting a number of goalkeepers (from motivated youngster to elite professionals) and general observations that I’ve made.

As a goalkeeper you can be under immense pressure from yourself, from teammates, coaches and supporters, as well as the outside world.  Results can rest on you; one mistake and a goalkeeper can be heavily criticised by many people. The ability to withstand high levels of pressure and bounce back positively and quickly from errors, attributes associated with Mental Toughness and Resilience, are qualities that goalkeepers simply must have if they are to succeed at the highest level.

A large part of my role is to support goalkeepers to:

  • Manage their expectations levels better
  • Ensure that they develop strategies so that their confidence levels do not yo-yo  
  • Respond positively to mistakes
  • Handle criticism logically and not too emotionally
  • Improve their leadership skills

Can a Sports Psychologist help me as goalkeeper perform in matches as I do in training?

Yes! This can be a big issue for many goalkeepers and often it comes down to a “fear of failure”.  So one of the things I help you do – is understand what it is about your training that actually gives you confidence when you perform in matches.

Is it working on technical aspects for taking crosses? Is it your distribution? Or shot stopping? Perhaps it’s your footwork? Or positive comments from your coach?  I help you understand how and where you are holding yourself back; the faulty beliefs or unrealistic expectations that you place on yourself and others.

How else does a Sports Psychologist support goalkeepers?

There are many things that a Sports Psychologist supports goalkeepers with, too long for a small paragraph.  So I’ll keep it brief and share 5 very common things:

  • Performance anxiety and the feeling of dread before and during matches
  • Recovering from mistakes 
  • Coping with criticism
  • Managing relationships with coaching and managerial staff 
  • Sitting on the substitutes bench or being 3rd choice goalkeeper
As a Sports Psychologist, we provide a safe space for a goalkeeper to talk about their current situation and how they are feeling.  We have excellent listening skills and help you to see different, more helpful approaches that you could take so that you give yourself a better chance of performing to an optimal level or even simply feel better about yourself as a person or goalkeeper.  We always work with the person in front of us,  every individual is unique and presents different points of view and challenges.  We understand that and take this into account in helping you with solutions to help you achieve your aims.

The last Sports Psychologist didn't understand football never mind goalkeeping - do you?

Growing up in the North East of England, football is a religion so it’s a sport that I’ve followed since childhood.  I played to county level as a child and then played recreationally until around the age of 30, when I had a serious knee injury which made me decide to stop playing.  In the 1990s, I coached in youth football for a period so I’ve also an idea of the complexities involved in coaching.  As far as goalkeeping goes both my father and uncle played goalkeeper, where my uncle went on to play at professional level and is part of the Western Australian, Football Hall of Fame.  

This sparked an interest in goalkeeping “psychologically” for me and has meant I’ve had dealings with some very well known goalkeeping figures who have picked up or played a part in winning league and European titles.  This has expedited my learning around the complexity of the position.

What kind of results can I expect from working with a Sports Psychologist?

Sports Psychology coaching is a highly beneficial tool to help you improve your goalkeeping performance and concede less goals.  One-on-one Sports Psychology coaching is the quickest and most effective method to boost your performance or wellbeing. 

Sports psychology coaching can be quite complex when trying to find solutions to performance issues in sports.  Results vary from goalkeeper to goalkeeper, dependent on what they want to achieve and also depend on how much effort the goalkeeper is prepared to put into developing their mental game.  That said, it is anticipated that positive results will take place such as; improvements in confidence and concentration, being able to handle challenges and setbacks more comfortably, an increased ability to control their emotions and better communication with teammates and coaches – all of which can be measured from the start to the end of sports psychology programs. 

How do I know if Goalkeeping Sports Psychology Coaching will work for me?

Ideal goalkeeping candidates for Goalkeeping Sports Psychology coaching are the ones that are highly motivated to do well.  They recognise that they have physical and technical skills that make them a good goalkeeper, however, they’d like to go a step further.  Often they recognise that they have some flaws and want to take responsibility to improve them.  They may have been told by coaches or managers that they are:

  • Too quiet on the pitch
  • Not confident enough at taking crosses or playing out from the back
  • Get distracted too easily after making mistakes
  • Don’t take their performances from training into matches

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how Goalkeeping Sports Psychology coaching can make you a better goalkeeper.

Read our sport-excellence.co.uk BLOG with a section specificially set up to help goalkeepers!
 
Key topics such as; recovering from errors, trusting yourself in matches, dealing with nerves and much more are discussed.
I’m a goalkeeper who has struggled with dealing with nerves before matches for many years. I’ve often doubted myself and ended up making more mistakes than I should do and really struggled to cope with pressure at times. Working with David now means I much more confident in matches and when I don’t perform well I'm a lot more resilient.