A goalkeeper has to maintain their concentration and focus at all times, sometimes they will be extremely busy throughout the game and other games they may barely touch the ball for 89 minutes but have to make a game winning save in the dying seconds!
So, when stood in the rain and cold for 89 minutes – how can a goalkeeper maintain their concentration so they are ready when called upon?
Fortunately, rather than just taking our opinion for it we have been lucky enough to speak to a lot of professional goalkeepers about this exact topic!
One of the most important ways to stay not only focused for the full 90 minutes but also to ensure that you are having an influence on the game even when not required to make saves is to communicate!
Of the 14 goalkeepers we asked about maintaining concentration, by far the most popular answer was related to communication. In fact, 11 of the 14 (79%) mentioned communication as an important method of ensuring you stayed focus.
Mainly talking I try and keep myself and my back four switched on for as much of the 90 as possible, communication is a key part for a GK and a team and talking to them keeps me focused and switched on! (Carly Telford, Notts County and England Ladies)
Another method that quite a few of the goalkeepers use to stay focused is to break the game down into smaller segments, this can be anything from 5 – 10 minute portions of the game or an entire half. This allows the keeper to set small targets that they need to complete during the periods which not only helps concentration but also allows a goalkeeper to mentally ‘reset’ should they concede a goal.
I take the game five minutes at a time.
(Boaz Myhill, West Bromwich Albion)
Along with communication and breaking the game down into small sections / targets there are a few fundamentals that are extremely important in terms of the science of being ready and concentration. Firstly, one of the important things required to ensure concentration is ensuring that you are properly hydrated. Drinking regularly throughout the game will ensure your mind and body is well hydrated, small sips of cold water will also help keep you alert!
Keeping hydrated is important, so having a drink from time to time is a good idea. Generally, it’s not too difficult to stay focused as you get so into the game that it’s tough to break the concentration.
(Asmir Begovic, Stoke City and Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Being mentally prepared throughout the game is important, but ensuring your body is ready is also extremely important.
Every 15 minutes of the game I do a couple knee to chest jumps and quick side to side movements to keep my body fresh, but also to keep my mind into it.
(Evan Bush, Montreal Impact)
Every keeper will have their own unique way of staying focused, but why not try out some of the above tips in your next game to see if they can help and let us know how you get on!