Edward Hillam takes a look at how goalkeepers can improve their concentration between the sticks.
The ability to concentrate is a hugely underrated aspect of the game. The focus is critical, and just a momentary blip could result in a crucial error that may win or lose the game for your team. As a goalkeeper, there is always the temptation to switch off for a few seconds, particularly if the action is taking place at the other end of the pitch; it is relatively common to let the mind wander.
Goalkeeping is one of the most important positions on the pitch. They may only be deployed on a handful of occasions, but they can be the difference between picking up a crucial point and being on the end of a heavy defeat. There have been many iconic stoppers over the years, with several of them playing into their late 30s and or even early 40s.
Gigi Buffon is a household name and is still going strong despite turning 40 in January 2017.
He may have retired from international football but is still competing at the top level regularly and remains one of the most consistent performers in Serie A.
Relaxing the mind is essential to producing a confident performance. Forgetting any off-the-field troubles is a necessity. Stressed athletes are regularly unable to perform to their highest standard, and it is easy to get tangled up in thoughts of a financial or personal nature whilst there is a lull in play. This must be avoided at all costs. A good night's sleep is the best way of relaxing whilst listening to music or ten minutes of meditation are two other methods which are regularly deployed by professionals.
Familiar routines are also a vital part of any sportsman's day, and these can focus the body and mind ahead of the match. They also help avoid any external distractions which may creep into a goalkeeper's conscience during the 90 minutes. Players such as David James would often implement a routine that began the night before a game and continued until kick-off. Footballers are a superstitious bunch, but these help them focus and keep their minds on the job.
Diet also plays a big part in the process. Although many footballers who compete at an elite level will have nutritionists and teams of experts ensuring they only eat the right foods, this isn't applicable or affordable at the lower level. Drinking plenty of water will help sharpen the mind and also improve reaction time and coupled with a diet containing plenty of greens such as spinach, kale, and broccoli can have a hugely positive effect on the brain and subsequently performance.
Being a goalkeeper may not be the most glamorous position on a football team. Still, it is an important role that can sometimes result in achieving hero status and helping your side climb the table or qualify for the next round of the cup. The mind is sharp, fresh and focused, and ready for action, and several techniques can help ensure your brain is firmly focussed on the action.
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About the Author
Edward Hillam has been writing for a few years now, and sport is one of his favourite topics – from football to hockey and MMA, he watches them all and has been creating content for quite a few sports publishers. He's also been reviewing movies and series and cinema is one of his other passions.