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A Goalkeeper’s Biggest Threat isn’t Their Opponent, it’s Their Focus

There is always the game within the game. Here, it is Belgium’s goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, staying engaged in the game and refusing to be caught off guard.

This clip does more than display the pride Courtois gets from protecting his net from any and all attacks, even those that come after the whistle. The video provides an excellent demonstration of how the mental skills of focus and concentration are manifested in an elite athlete. As the announcer says, it is not just about one’s athleticism but the ability to stay engaged in one’s task for 90+ minutes as a keeper.

How does one remain focused for such a long time? By allowing your focus to shift during the appropriate moments (e.g., injury stoppages, substitutions, etc.) Use these times to reset (and replenish) your focus so that when the action resumes, you are fully re-engaged.

A good way to reset your focus is through the use of cues; whether visual (e.g., looking at the opposite goal posts), physical (e.g., rubbing hands together), or verbal (e.g., “lock in” or “reset”).

Whatever you choose, make sure you make it your own and that cue is used to remind yourself to return to the present moment; not yelling at yourself for a past mistake or thinking about how the future would be if you won the match.

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