In all my years as a player and as a coach I have come across a lot of good talented players and goalkeepers of all ages. I have come across players with great skill on the ball and keepers that have phenomenal touch on the ball. During the warm up they look like some of the greatest players in the world and I cannot wait to see them play. When the game starts some of those players and goalkeepers with the smallest nudge from the opposing players or the slightest comment from the sideline they begin to fall apart and put themselves mentally out of the game. I always try to analyze their behavior and why they just fall apart? I begin to notice a failure in confidence and a progressive second-guessing in their play.
Could it be that these players and goalkeepers have not had their confidence and mindset build at training as well as their skills? Could it be that the coach never addressed that the player or goalkeeper will be challenged during the game and he or she needs to focus and stay connected with the game even when mistakes happen?
A coach needs to help his players and goalkeepers gain and feel confidence not only during the game but at training as well. Help them gain and maintain mindset. Insist on confidence and insist on that mindset whenever they train.
Demand that the players and goalkeepers execute everything with confidence. The ideal is for players and goalkeepers to deliberately execute everything with confidence. As they train, make sure the words confident and confidence are used in the technical and tactical elements of the game.
“Show me positive move towards the ball”
“ Attack the ball as you call keeper”
“Once you commit to come off your line show me confidence”
“Show me confidence – I want to see confident passes – drill it into your teammate’s feet.”
“Show me confident body language – head up, on your toes, let’s see lively energetic body posture.”.
“Show me confident vocals – be energized and energize others.”
“Show me a confident first touch – ball out of your feet, then pass it into your teammate. Move towards him/her confidently – show me confident movement.”
Players and keepers are always being asked to keep their concentration, focus and deal with distraction during the games, yet are they being asked and insisted upon seeing relentless focus during training?
This is such a simple coaching concept yet rarely talked about and often ignored. We are not talking about barking from the sidelines but rather speak the language of psychology to your players and goalkeepers, and introduce them to the bodily sensations that accompany the important components of the mental side of the game. At just4keepers that language and mind set is part of our every day training. Every week we have classroom sessions and discuss with the goalkeepers how did they do in their games. Not if they won or lost but how did they do. What where their strengths and weaknesses, how confident where they on the ball, directing their defense, coming out for high balls as well as other elements of the game. We have found out that through constant interaction and repetition of confidence while constantly stressing the bodily attitude when one steps on the field our goalkeepers build a strong mindset.