THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
Picture the scene…
The score is 1 – 0 to you
But after a questionable tackle in the box, a defender gave away a penalty
There’s 1 minutes of stoppage time remaining
This is it!
This is the moment where you become a hero or a loser
You need the three points to stave off relegation because anything less than three points send your team down
But you know you’re bad when it comes to saving penalties
YOUR INNER-VOICE IS A THREAT
Your mind begins to wander – your inner voice pipes up…
Why did he have to make that stupid tackle!
If only we scored down the other end when we had the chance!
This player has only missed one penalty in 5 months!
You’ve gone over the data thousands of times!
You know the tendencies of each player on your opponents team and now here you are going one on one with their most feared striker
Again your inner-voice talks to you, trying to persuade you…
He’s more likely to go right, so I’m going right!
But what if he’s going to trick me!?
You see the player take a few steps backwards, poising himself, ready to launch his attack.
The whistle blows…
TIME TO FOCUS
Being a goalkeeper can be a lonely experience
You are the last line of defence
There is plenty of time for your mind to wander, to think…
So when the striker puts the ball on the spot, it’s that moment you need think the right way (focus) rather than the wrong way (distractions)
Every striker will leak information or tells (think poker players). These tells are subconscious signals, that when you understand the meaning, you can anticipate, and as a goal-keeper, anticipating and gaining the psychological advantage is a necessity to your craft.
Strikers don’t even know they are showing these tells!
You might get some strikers who think they are smart and try to fake you out. But let me tell you the thing with fakes.
A fake is identified by an over-exaggerated facial expression or body movement. A widening of the eyes too much for it to be natural is a sure-fire way to know a fake is on its way.
BE CALM AND RELAXED
So as you stand on the goal line, watching the striker place the ball on the spot, you watch and analyse his movements, his facial expressions, the direction of his eyes.
Breathe normally and calm your mind. Allow your mind to focus on the moment, putting all other thoughts to one side, for this moment isn’t one for distractions.
This is a moment to observe, analyse and anticipate for it’s the striker that will tell you what he’s going to do. You just need to know what you’re looking for
It does take time to learn these strategies but think of the rewards saving this penalty will bring you.
The bonus is knowing that these techniques work in the normal run of the game!
Learning to shift your focus away from the ball and onto the attackers movements, and facial expressions allows you to gain an advantage.
Here’s a quick tip – when a ball is crossed in, take note of the flight pattern, the trajectory, speed and anticipate where it’s going. Now shift your attention to the players on the ground and how they are positioning their bodies. It’s this moment you make a decision, go for the ball before the attacker gets it, or
The striker secret weapon has been exposed!
Are you a goalkeeper wanting to improve?
Do you know a goal-keeper who wants to learn how to improve their game?
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