Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Keys to keeper confidence
by Tim Mulqueen, by Mike Woitalla, April 26th, 2012 3:03AM

TAGS:  high school boys, high school girls, youth boys, youth girls


By Tim Mulqueen

It's perfectly normal to feel nervous before a game, but keepers need to clear their head of negative thoughts. How they go about doing this depends on the individual.

A good goalkeeper coach learns to read his players well enough to know whether to step in -- and to know what to say. If a keeper needs a little confidence boost, the coach might provide a positive memory: “This field reminds me of where we beat Lions SC and you saved the last-minute penalty kick. Remember that?”

If the keeper needs more of a pep talk, the coach might be more direct: “You had great practices this week. You made incredible saves and snatched crosses better than ever. You’re as prepared as you can be. Now go out there and have some fun!”

If the keeper needs to rein in his racing mind and relax in the minutes before the game, the coach might initiate some light-hearted conversation: “Hey, Sam, look at the face paint on those fans!”

A keeper who thrives on intensity may be best left alone.

A keeper who struggles with self-doubt can mentally walk through scenarios such as the following: Take a few seconds to scan the field. Imagine a counterattack that results in a breakaway, and you grab the ball from the forward’s feet with a perfectly timed dive. Imagine great saves and safely gathered crosses. To clear your head, picture the soccer ball. Try thinking of nothing but that ball. Tell yourself “That ball will be mine!”

(Excerpted from “The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper” by Tim Mulqueen with Mike Woitalla courtesy of Human Kinetics. U.S. Soccer Federation coach and instructor Tim Mulqueen has been goalkeeper coach for U.S. national teams at the U-17 World Cup, U-20 World Cup and at the 2008 Olympic Games. He's been a goalkeeper coach in MLS, for the MetroStars, and the Kansas City Wizards when they lifted the 2000 league title.)

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Reffing Futsal (Part 1): Calling and counting fouls     
Futsal has been growing rapidly in the USA as it's a wonderful player development tool. But ...
'Fun, friends and health' is what youth soccer should be about (Q&A Shannon Higgins-Cirovski)    
After starting for the USA when it won the inaugural Women's World Cup on 1991, Shannon ...
After Concussion: Don't Just See A Doctor, Be Sure To See The Right Doctor    
Much has been written about concussion in young athletes but today I want to devote a ...
Ref Watch: How the last game of the season can present unique challenges    
I'm a positive thinker. But all the positive-thinking in the world cannot erase the fact that ...
Brain expert explains the wisdom of USSF's heading policy for youngsters     
Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the USA's leading experts on concussions in sports, responded to some ...
The border tug of war: Mexico courting U.S. talent is a 'good sign'    
In 1998, the Mexican government changed its laws to allow dual citizenship, thus enabling U.S.-born Mexican-Americans ...
Heading ban for 10-year-olds and younger makes sense, but important concussion questions remain    
In recent years, new science has provided clearer information on the dangers of concussions and studies ...
Stop interrupting: Substitute sensibly     
Part of this I found amusing as I reffed 8-year-old boys whose coach had them wear ...
College Choice: Taking the right steps makes the process more enjoyable    
Selecting the right college can be frustrating, and even cause anxiety for many families. Many kids ...
Throw-ins: What refs get wrong and what coaches can do right     
What rule do refs in the youth game tend to get wrong most often?
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives