At the World Cup in Russia, Willy Caballero, aged 36, had an amazing opportunity to establish himself as Argentina’s number one goalkeeper . In the second group game, against Croatia, that opportunity became much tougher after a 3-0 loss, where he made a mistake, presenting Rebic with the first goal. Willy was then dropped by the coach for the final group game.
The result is, it could be a difficult period for him, depending on his mindset, as his next game is likely to be in excess of a month for his club.
So moving on from the game and being dropped, how does Willy keep some perspective in order to perform at his best when he plays his next match?
- He will have needed to critically analyze his performance by himself and with the aid of a coach or friend when he was calm.
- He will need to apply his vast knowledge of the game, maintaining a big picture outlook.
- In the next match a present moment, focused mindset will be essential to nullify any self-doubt he has.
So how should he critically analyse his 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 conversations 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.
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