Check out this YouTube footage of Goalkeeper Alan Marriott of Mansfield Town scoring a goal from kicking out of hands…brilliant:
So in previous posts we have looked at bravery, either that of communication or that needed during a game to make that catch surrounded by players and from diving at feet. As mentioned many times before being brave and confident is hard for any player as there are many things that can affect confidence, as that is the fragility of the mind – that one little thing could be the cause of poor confidence… Or that said, it may be a little thing to you or I but a massive issue to the person in question.
We as coaches train for many different scenarios to help our Goalkeeper students, through practical or fun exercises and confidence building motivational speak. However no coach can predict or prevent what will happen in a Goalkeeper’s mind during a game. Especially in situations where your student Goalkeeper is fetching the ball out of the back of the net on more than one occasion through the match. Couple that with the unforeseen reaction of not only their own but those around them (players and coaches) and there is always the potential that confidence either is or starts to get affected.
We asked our Goalkeepers at the Academy, how they react after a goal goes in the back of the net and we had back some interesting answers. Some punch the floor, some shout and scream at themselves or their players, some just get upset. Let’s face it, it is hard for any Goalkeeper, but more so for a young student Goalkeeper as they want so much to be good at Football! Our Keepers do get upset. We have seen examples, where after say the third goal scored against them, that their heads drop and they are uninterested in the game. Yes, I understand that there could be other factors of heads dropping as I previously explored, but no Goalkeeper really likes to concede a goal. After all look at the reaction of any Goalkeeper out there who keeps a clean sheet, they are on cloud 9…
So it does seem that coaches and Goalkeepers have a mountain to climb when it comes to Goalkeeping confidence, because as already mentioned, the mind is a powerful thing. But don’t get downhearted, this mountain is scalable… Confidence can be affected, but you as Goalkeepers have the power to improve not only your skills but your confidence too (which will lead to you being a better Goalkeeper!). Remember:
- Conceding goals happens – You can try to save everything, but there are going to be those goals that not even the best goalkeepers in the world can stop;
- Try and save everything – At least have a go… you may only kick yourself that you didn’t try! You never know you may just actually save it;
- Focus on developing your skills – don’t focus on keeping a clean sheet (see point 1), focus on, for example, improving your positioning or handling during the game;
- Set realistic targets – If you say you are going to look at improving handling, don’t set yourself a target to catch every ball, that your handling will be 100% good. Try and set a target based on little improvements;
- Know what you can improve on – It is good to acknowledge what you need to improve on as you can focus on this and more importantly feed this back to the coach, as they can then devise training sessions to help focus on these improvements;
- Know what you did well – don’t just focus on improvements, remember to also HIGHLY PRAISE what you did well. It is great to understand what you did well because in each match you will do things right and you must remember to acknowledge it.
- Ensure you have support – You as a Goalkeeper want to improve and those around you should be encouraging your development (especially if they are following FA standards). If you aren’t don’t be afraid to speak up or seek help. If you have set your sights on improving as a Goalkeeper, I applaud you and want you to achieve your aims of improvement. Please don’t get upset and walk away from something you want to do, get help on it and help to do it better!
Yes confidence is a mountain to climb but you have the ability to climb to the summit. Let me know how you get along on your journey up the rock face! 😉