Goalkeeper Psychology Tips: Managing Your Confidence When You're A Goalkeeper
How you analyse your performance is crucial for managing goalkeeper confidence
Every goalkeeper I speak to or support has made a mistake. Goalkeepers are not robots, they are human beings after all. This is why managing goalkeeper confidence is so important.
Most weeks, there are many high profile examples, in all leagues across the world, of crucial mistakes made by goalkeepers. Sometimes this can then result in a goalkeeper being dropped from the first team by the coach or being banished from a national team’s squad.
The knock on effect for the goalkeeper, is that he or she will likely then go on to have a difficult period, where they may not play for a long period of time. Some goalkeepers suffer in silence. Some become moody around the house and take it out on their family and friends. Every goalkeeper is different and will handle this type of situation in their own way.
Your mindset is crucial
Moving on from the game and being dropped, how can you gain some perspective in order to perform at your best when you next play a match?
- You will need to critically analyse your performance with the help of a positive and supportive coach or friend when you are both calm.
- You will need to apply a big picture outlook, looking at the error or game as a tiny episode when you consider how many games you have played in the past and are likely to be involved in – in future.
- In the next match a present moment, focused mindset will be essential to nullify any self-doubt that you have.
So how should you critically analyse your performance?
This is where many goalkeepers go wrong and their analysis goes on to be hugely harmful for their next game and their futures. It is common for goalkeepers who have perfectionist tendencies:
- To look to perform perfectly in matches
- To over-think the technical details
- To try too hard to perform well in matches
- To suffer from raised performance anxiety before matches
Does this sound familiar?
I find this is a common theme, where goalkeepers question their ability to transfer the skills that they use easily in training and go on to take matches too seriously. Saying things to themselves such as, “I must play well today”, “I need to impress the gaffer”, “I can’t make any mistakes”…. This type of thinking is quite normal for many but can be dangerous – creating a goalkeeper who approaches games with fear and caution.
Here are 3 tips to ensure that you concentrate on the right things in matches:
- Remind yourself that once your last training session has finished it’s time to adopt a “match mindset” where you aim to relax and go into a match trusting your goalkeeping skills.
- Ask yourself the question: “What is my job, time and time again on the pitch?” The answer should be to keep a clean sheet – forgive me if you disagree! With this mindset it will give you every chance to get the job done without worrying about what your technique looks like or feels. You’ll go on to do anything to keep a clean sheet.
- Try not to fix things during a game, save the analysis for after the game when you can have a calm conversation with the coach or can put it right in training.
Feel free to forward this blog to other goalkeepers, coaches or parents who you think would find it helpful.
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To get in touch for one 2 one Sports Psychology Coaching with a Leading Sport Psychologist, David Charlton, based near Newcastle upon Tyne – Face to face, via the telephone, SKYPE or online via email available.
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.
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