Perhaps no player needs a good
mental gem than a goalie – not even a striker.
Every player goes through ups and
downs on the field, but the goalie is so exposed, so public, that
those swings are magnified and if not handled well, can crush a goalie’s
In part, confidence is a team
issue. However bad a goalie’s mistake, it’s worth remembering that the
ball got there because other defenders and midfielders failed as well. So it
should be part of the team culture that all goals are a collective failure,
not an individual problem. The team can help by giving the goalie tangible
support every time he does something good – “good save, great ball, good
punch.” Chipping in to buy him a superman shirt to wear underneath might be
In part, confidence is as
personal issue. Goalies should go through all the confidence building
steps outlined in the following section on the mental game, notably the
building confidence. There are several tools that will make a real
difference for most players, and even a confident goalie should make sure to
read and absorb this section – after all, you may be confident now, but that
will not last forever.
But goalies also need to develop a
unique ability to shake off bad times. Every goalie makes mistakes; every
goalie costs his side games; some goalies cost their side important games.
Paul Robinson, England’s goalie, is famous for completely missing a kick at
a gently rolling ball and watching it slide into the goal – costing his team
a spot in the European Championships.
So goalies need to remind
themselves of points like the following before, during, and after every
everyone makes mistakes
soccer is a team game
I’m the best goalie on the team
I’m a terrific goalie
My positioning is fantastic
I’m always quick to spot the danger
I dominate the penalty area
I save our team every week
It’s especially helpful to use the
Reminder List to develop a series of strengthening cues that can help
them brush off the bad times and remember the good. Those cues should in
particular be part of your pre-match preparation.