GOALKEEPER MENTAL SKILLS

Mental Skills

MENTAL SKILLS

  • The mental side of the game will take a while to develop. Unlike field players, most goalkeepers do not peak until their late 20s early 30s. Most of this is attributed to developing the mental side of the position. All of this will take years and years of practice to master. Don’t rush the process and be patient.

CONTROLLING NERVES

  • It’s ok to be nervous for big games, most players on the field are. The best ones figure out how to hide and overcome their nerves.
  • You need to be able to control your nerves if you are going to play to your maximum ability.
  • Portray confidence even if you aren’t. A forward is going to want to shoot on a player that looks nervous as often as they can. They may think twice about a confident looking keeper.

DEALING WITH MISTAKES

  • A mistake is a mistake; you need to have forget it quick or more will happen.
  • Have a trigger or a method to mentally get over getting scored on.
  • The trigger helps to reset your mind after a mistake.
  • Don’t react wildly like punching the ground, screaming at teammates, etc.
  • When you do this you are telling the opposing forwards that they have broken you down mentally and good forwards will take advantage of that.
  • When you make a mistake you should remain calm and show little to no emotion.

LOOKING CONFIDENT

  • Don’t mess around in warm ups. The other team may watch you take some shots in warm ups. If you look good and confident they’ll think its going to be hard to beat you. 
  • Even if you are not confident going into the game, it is important to act like you are and have a presence in net.
  • Have your shoulders back in a good posture. Don't be slumped over.
  • Head up and aware of everything going on, not down.
  • Talk and be loud to show your dominance.
  • Dress in a way that makes you confident and comfortable.
  • You should have a routine and certain way that you like to get dressed and wear your gear. This routine should make you feel confident.

CONCENTRATION

  • Watch your game. It may seem like common sense, but being distracted can cost you. Mentally you are no longer focused on your game. It takes a couple seconds to get back involved in your game, and those couple seconds can cost you. 
  • When you are in a tournament and you hear a loud cheer from another game, you have to stay focused on your game.
  • Parents don’t talk to the keeper, it distracts the keeper from what they need to focus on.
  • Parents talking also stunts the keeper's growth as a player. It doesn’t let them prepare for later on when they need to deal with situations on their own. Let them learn for themselves.
  • Talk to them after the game about what they did well and areas to improve on.
  • Being a keeper can be tough when we have to deal with long stretches of inactivity and then be expected to make a huge save. To stay mentally check-in to the game talk to yourself about the game. Talk to your defense as well.
  • When you get fatigued or dehydrated it is easy to lose your concentration so always take a water bottle to your goal to stay hydrated. 

VISUALIZATION

  • Visualize every aspect your perfect game the night before you play, and again the day of your game.
  • See yourself making all types of great saves, coming out for crosses, distributing well, communicating, and dominating your area.
  • Visualization only can help speed up your development as a player.
  • Just thinking about certain situations can prepare you for when you face them.
  • Visualization can contribute to the growth of muscle memory.

HOW TO GET OVER GETTING SCORED ON

  • Below are just a couple of different techniques and triggers to help you getting over being scored on. These techniques are to help you to get back to playing at your maximum. The most important part of giving up a goal is accepting that there is nothing you can do to change it and get on with the rest of the game. It’s all about mistake management, it’s better to just give up one goal and not two.
  • Everyone one is different so different techniques work better for different people. Younger keepers should try each technique out, while older should know what works for them and continue to develop them.
  • The glove re-strap- After a goal, restrap your glove or adjust it to a position that makes you comfortable and confident. The restrap is just a trigger that signals to yourself to reset your mind and move on.
  • The Grass Pick Up- Pick up a piece of grass after a goal, think about the goal once, and let the grass go. The grass is the goal and you are throwing it away into your mental trashcan and moving on.
  • Eraser Technique- Close your eyes and think of the goal in terms of how it would look on a chalkboard. Draw it up and then erase it and get back to the game.
  • Mental Highlight Video- Think of all of the previous times you have made the type of save that let up the goal. Visualize how you could have saved that ball and move on. The mental highlight video is also a great thing to do before a game. See Visualization.
  • The Ball Stare- Look at the ball and think of random things about the ball. Such as “how many panels it has? how much air is in it? how many m&ms you could fit inside of it?”, etc. The idea behind this technique is to get your mind off the goal until the ball is back in play and then you are completely focused on the game. You don’t have time to think about the goal.
  • Posts Taps- Tap your cleats on each posts. Again it’s another trigger to signal to yourself that “this is my goal”.