A goalkeepers’ technical preparation is an essential factor in the development of their skills but no less important is is their psychic and mental preparation to face the season with solvency and security at the net.
Achieving an offensively successful team depends not only on the quality of its players in the most advanced positions but also in the confidence of knowing that the defensive axis and the net are properly taken care of, with sufficient quality, capacity and safety to risk plays in the front that in case of failure, can be compensated with successes at the net.
And for this a fundamental element is the quality and ability of the goalkeeper, owner and lord of a quarter of the field, field player when required and rival executioner in the most committed situations of the game. Therefore a team with a well-armed goalkeeper exponentially increases their offensive play capabilities.
A goalkeepers position is sometimes ungrateful since the ball enters the area in which there is someone responsible other than the field players, who play with the responsibility of knowing that behind them there are no more players who can correct their mistake and that like everyone else, they have the legitimate right to fail.
Once the ball exceeds the goal line, an accomplice look is generated towards who has the responsibility to avoid it, but this responsibility never forget is shared with the other players. A match must be played proportionately as many minutes as possible in the rival field and when this does not happen; something is failing and not precisely at the net.
For this reason, the psychology that goes into a goalkeeper is important and even more so in the high-performance psychological preparation through which their cognitive and mental strength capacities are amplified, reinforcing their self-esteem, raising the level of consciousness, developing the ability to properly interpret the different adverse elements that are faced on the playing field such as conceded goals, technical-tactical errors, bad decisions taken and stress in critical moments of encounter among many others.
How to prepare the soccer goalkeeper from a high performance perspective
The first thing that is needed is a trainer-coach who is able to apply different preparation techniques depending on the sport-personal needs detected in the goalkeeper.
For this, a COMPETENCE MAP must be prepared by the coach where the level of adaptation of the goalkeeper´s current capabilities will be represented to the model of excellence that should be achieved. From this analysis, the goals to be achieved and the objectives to be worked during the season will be obtained, as well as the margin of improvement expected by competencies in this period. Once the season is over and after establishing different intermediate control points, the degree of progress of the objectives will be measured. These objectives will be shared between goalkeeper and coach each assuming their personal commitment to work and effort during the agreed time frame for their achievement.
The second task to be carried out from the psychological side is to define the goalkeeper’s STYLE OF CONDUCT by analyzing experiential behaviors, analyzing the state of their social relationships and observing the tolerance thresholds at different levels (stress, responsibility and frustration).
Once all this information has been processed and analyzed, the following preparatory approaches will be worked with the goalkeeper:
• Clarification of values
• Assertiveness training
• Training in the control of attention and concentration
• Autogenous training
• Behavior modification (if required)
• Preparation towards optimal cognitive-behavioral approaches
• Communication training
• Emotional intelligence development
• Preparation in the internal game approach
• Mental skills training
• Body-mind work
• Stress reduction from full awareness
• Development of problem solving skills
• Development of self-regulation techniques
The soccer goalkeeper’s preparation model from a high performance perspective goes well beyond mere technical-tactical training of their role in the team. A more advanced model will allow you to achieve a greater degree of sport-personal fullness both in life and in sports without precedent.
A good soccer goalkeeper should never forget that an ERROR IS THE GREATEST REASON to keep improving and you should always look for the BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF in each new attempt. For this, their mental strength and interpretation capacity must be at a maximum.
This is the philosophy that we share from HO SOCCER and our Club.
Josemi Rodríguez | C.D. Leganés
First Team and Youth Squads Goalkeeper Coach