IT ISN’T ABOUT YOU.
When I tell the keepers I currently train; that soccer, the goalkeeper position, and everything they put into their craft, isn’t about them. They give me a strange look, and understandably so. Why would the sport THEY play, the position THEY’RE in, and the effort THEY put in not be about them?
Let me explain.
When I was in high school, I played soccer to be “seen”. I was gifted and I liked the attention. Sure, it was fun and I enjoyed the social aspect of it and the life skills I was learning about hard work, discipline, sacrifice and teamwork were great. But, making it about me always seemed to reign triumphant. “I” wanted to be the best, “I” wanted people to recognize me, “I” wanted the credit when things went well and “I” didn’t want the blame when things went poorly. Everything was about me to the point it consumed me, caused me stress, anxiety, you name it. Although, during the time I would never have admitted it, I was ultimately playing soccer only for me, I was the number one.
This mindset carried with me into my college career, and I still remember the day when I realized I was not the best player anymore, I was crushed… Of course, I worked hard, I sacrificed, I did my job and ended up having a statistically great college career. But even then, I only saw glimpses of what it was really all about. I only had moments where it wasn’t about me, and those were some of the best memories I have in my soccer career. The memories where I put the needs of my team, my teammates, the school, and others first. Moments when I got over myself and I realized that others mattered just as much as I did. That every time I played with the mentality of “being seen” or wanting credit, attention, etc. the one thing I wasn’t focused on, was my team. How could I? How could I have been focused on my team, let alone winning, if I was so focused on myself? The answer is-- I couldn’t.
Mark my words, no matter the sport the biggest impediment to winning and success is self-focus. I am thankful every day that I started to learn that lesson.
I tell my players now that 90% of the game and playing goalkeeper is their mindset and that 10% is skill. If you want to make it to the higher levels that 10% can has to be great, but what will dictate the type of player you become, the type of teammate you are, and your overall experience, is incumbent upon your mindset, the 90%... Ask yourself these types of questions as an athlete: Are you the most important person on the field? Do your teammates truly matter as much as you? Does your opponent matter like you do… How about your coach? What is this all really about? I promise that your honest answers to those questions are some of the most important aspects to you becoming the best version of yourself. Learning how to train the 90% will have a much bigger impact on who you become in the long run then solely focusing on the 10%. So, take it seriously. Train your mind, be selfless, care more, love more, and be the player and teammate OTHERS NEED you to be. Remember, it isn’t about you.