Recently, I received an interesting email from a goalkeeper in London. He went on to say:
‘I’m 24 years old and have recently turned professional but have some serious doubts about making it. When I play I never get angry but I battle with my mind constantly. It won’t shut up, it’s always in overdrive. Everything my coaches and team-mates have told me before the game or in recent training sessions, stays with me when I’m on the pitch, and it’s always the negative comments. Goalkeeping can be lonely, when the ball is at the other end, I’m thinking about so many things that could happen, I drive myself crazy.’
I went on to tell the goalkeeper this is very common, even with good players. In simple terms the brain is taking on too much information and is overloaded therefore learning some simple strategies to reduce the internal chatter in his mind would be hugely helpful.
Below are 2 simple tips:
Consider when you are relaxed and play your best in training or matches. It is likely that your unconscious mind has taken over. Most goalkeepers at this point have a quiet mind, free from too much emotion, trust their technique and allow themselves to go on autopilot. It is common, to be thinking of very little at this point, only 2-3 things consciously during those moments. So think back what 2-3 things or cues do you think about when you’re on top form in different situations? Write them down and to help your self-awareness and confidence.
As a goalkeeper there are going to be many times in a game when you are alone with your thoughts, if it is a corner to your team or if there is a hold up in play. Imagine if you played for Liverpool or Manchester City – how often is the ball at the other end of the pitch!
So what is your strategy to quieten your overactive mind? Do you even have a strategy? Why not try this. Be curious, similar to a small child and scan the ground or scenery, look at small tiny details that you may have never noticed before. The colours of people’s clothing, brand’s advertised on the hoardings, dodgy haircuts! If you’re fortunate and are able to look out to great scenery, take it in. It’s a great technique, when practised regularly to stop over thinking whilst in goal.
Be warned not to over-do it and get caught on the counter attack though! Seriously, the tips may sound too straight forward but they work and the benefits of consistently practising them can be priceless to your game.
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.
You can also take a Mental Toughness for Goalkeepers Quiz for some more helpful tips. CLICK HERE
HCPC Registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist
T: +44(0)7734 697769