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Recovering from a mistake

Players all over the pitch make mistakes at times but as a goalkeeper it usually results in a goal making it a more costly mistake than conceding possession as a striker. But problems occur after the mistake with many keepers losing focus, over thinking and losing concentration because of a mistake.

Often coaches will say “forget it it’s gone” or “don’t worry about it” but does this actually help? Does this stop a goalkeeper from learning from it and developing themselves? With analysis a growing part of the game goalkeepers can evaluate their performances look back and learn.

In order to learn, grow and improve we must be willing to learn, part of this process is accepting that perfection doesn’t exist and mistakes happen. However this is a controllable and something we can limit happening by doing the right things however this does not mean we will never make a mistake.

Overcoming a mistake, straight after making a mistake there is a technique called: focus refocus, this is where you do an action such as un-strapping your gloves and re-strapping them, other things to try could be walking just off the pitch next to your goal having a drink then walking back on or readjusting your shin pads.

Coaches may say things like “make a great save next time” this doesn’t help it just adds pressure to the goalkeeper, this can make them feel like they need to do something extraordinary rather than just focusing on the rest of the game. In comparison if a midfielder gave away possession with a pass a coach wouldn’t tell them to make the next one a 40 yard diagonal pass, you’d tell them to keep it simple for the next 5 minutes or maybe suggest what they could have done. To Summarise this paragraph immediately after a mistake its key to focus on the rest of the game and not let the one mistake ruin it or feel like you need to go above and beyond and try to do something spectacular as this could lead to another mistake.

After the game, normally after the game adrenaline is still high just as emotions can be, so trying to analyse your game than can bring dishonest self reflection or denial. Based on this it’s best to wait till possibly the next day when you’ve calmed down and feel relaxed, go over your whole performance including how you prepared for the game. Preparation is key and if this was wrong then that can be something to look at, then look at the whole game how was it overall? Then look at the mistake what happened, was it due to positioning, concentration or technique? Once establishing this you can look to work on it, “practice makes permanent” so following a technical or positioning mistake then using the correct technique numerous times in training can increase your confidence in this area. For a concentration mistake it would be worth going through certain brain training activities or looking at ways to can give yourselves concentration breaks during the game when the ball is out of play up the other end.

To summarise, you can’t change the past, but you can learn from it, immediately after making a mistake regain your focus. The next day analyse all parts of your performance, look at how the mistake was caused, then look what you can do to prevent it happening again.

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