uhlsport USA
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Goalkeeping Tips, Tidbits and Random Thoughts

An athlete talking to themsleves during competition is hardly a new phenomenon.... The talk does not have to be vocal. By merely thinking you are talking to yourself and sending a message.
   -- Tony DiCicco, Goalkeeper Soccer Training Manual

If you have a question, comment or rebuttal you'd like to see addressed here, send me email. I will post your mail to the blog at my discretion unless you specify otherwise.

Interviews with Solo, McLeod and LeBlanc

The October 2006 issue of Fair Game is a "Goalkeeper special", with interviews with US Women's keeper Hope Solo and Canadian Women's keepers Erin McLeod and Karina LeBlanc. A few things that jumped out at me:
What do you do to calm your nerves after you've been scored on?
[Hope Solo:] It really is just sucking it up mentally and it's gotten easier as I've gotten older. When I get scored on, I pick up a handful of grass, I throw it as hard as I can and I let all my frustrations out with that and then I just take a deep breath and settle back into the game and know that I have to be just as prepared as I was five minutes before.

Throwing the grass is a classic example of a "mistake ritual" or "failure ritual" to help get re-focused.

Do you find it more comfortable diving to one side over the other? You don't have to say which in case there are any sneaky strikers reading this!
[Hope Solo:] Yes I do for some reason and it is my left.

How do you identify and improve on those kind[sic] of weaknesses?
Oh my goodness. I have several bad days of practice but I keep trudging through them and eventually I improve.

I often hear from keeper struggling to dive to one side, so take heart that it even happens to the best. There's no magic fix, just slow, hard work.

Catch or punch?
EM: Catch!
KL: Catch!


Hardest shot ever

How would you like to be in the net facing a shot of 80 miles per hour? 90mph? Over 100 miles per hour?! The Guardian gives us The hardest recorded shot in football - ever: 114mph (183kph) by David Hirst, Sheffield Wednesday, in 1996.

Good thing it hit the crossbar.


Howard stays at Everton

Guardian: Everton hang on to Howard.


England's goalkeeping

A changing of the English goalkeeping guard? Gloves can be Foster's to keep, with a good performance against Spain. Ben Foster is scheduled to get the start over Paul Robinson.

Do you think Robinson is the best English keeper? Have your say in the Guardian's poll.


Wishful thinking versus positive thinking

The Observer has a fascinating article on football team management and whether it's art or science: Can an American coach and a book deliver success in English football? It contrasts American sports and their environment with English soccer leagues.

In the second part of the article, there is a paragraph quite relevant to players and coaches of any stripe:

[Malcolm] Gladwell has written about this, when analysing the difference between Woods and Phil Mickelson. Woods works fantastically hard at his game, practises intensively and pays enormous attention to detail. That is why he has maximised his phenomenal talent, but it is also why, when his game goes wrong, he will have few positives to take out of the experience, having done all he can to get it right. Mickelson doesn't practise nearly so hard and relies more on feel and natural ability, which means that when things go wrong he can always tell himself that better times are around the corner. In this respect, Mickelson is the more positive thinker, but it is also the reason why he wins less often than Woods and has failed to maximise his own phenomenal talent. Woods's mental toughness is in large part a willingness to risk failure despite having done everything possible to guarantee success. The other word for it is doggedness, which is precisely the quality missing from so much of the pampered British sporting elite.

The message: don't confuse wishful thinking with positive thinking.


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