The Psychology Of A Goalkeeper Pt I

Sometimes when I am planning what to write about I have my idea on what the next series will be and then something happens to change my mind. This week the total opposite happened. I was planning to write about the psychology of a goalkeeper and then I saw the quote above and it meant nothing was going to knock me off track. Yes, the quote you see in the.picture is real. I read it on my feed the other day and it reinforced my plan for this week.

I am going to be up front on this – as the proud dad of a goalkeeper, I am 100% of the belief it is the hardest position on the field. There are many reasons for this. One of the most important factors in being a goalkeeper is that you have to be always on. Constantly alert, even when you haven’t had to do anything for 20 minutes. One lapse in concentration and you’ve let a goal in. You have to be prepared for the moment you may have to be needed.

Additionally, in much the same way as the striker takes the glory for a goal when 11 players make 40 uninterrupted passes between teammates, eventually leading to a goal, it is the goalie as the last line of defence who feels it the most when a goal is scored against them. This means that even though the ball has gone past 10 other people before it got to the ‘keeper, the keeper is the one who will take it the most personal. Whether the other players, the coach, or supporters make them feel to blame, internally they feel the weight to the same degree as a striker feels the high for scoring.

One of the most prolific goalscorers I have seen in lower-league soccer in England was Carl Alford. For the longest time he was the record goalscorer at Stevenage FC, but the reality is that many of the goals he scored came off of a number of body parts, shin, thigh, arse, you name a body part, Alford scored with it. Even so, he had to take a lot of shots in order to score a lot of goals. In fact, on average, in the English Premier League less than half the number of shots taken are on target, and only 15% of total shots result in a goal. This means that shots on target only go in around 30% of the time. That means goalkeepers are successful around 70% of the time. Even against the best the Premier League has to offer, the top strike forces are less than 40% successful.

Here are today’s three takeaways:

1 – Being more successful doesn’t always mean you are winning. What? Yep, we’ll get to this in another post.

2 – There are people in life who are like Carl Alford – things just seem to happen for them – we’ll get to this as well.

3 – Think like a goalkeeper. When things go wrong it has been a series of events. Think about how the failure could have been prevented, and don’t take it personal. It’s an event, not your identity.

We’re going to dig into these numbers and ideas a little deeper as we work through this series, and gain some insight into the mental toughness of a goalkeeper, and how we can learn some life-lessons to help us in everyday life. In the meantime, here is a selection of weak shots to enjoy:

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Categories: Goals, Mental Toughness, Performance Psychology, Sport & Coaching

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