As a goalkeeper, you’re always striving to be on top of your game and looking to improve with every training session and game. But can you really remember each and every game you’ve ever played?
One tip that we’ve come across is the practice of keeping a journal and making a log every time you come off the pitch. “But why?” you might be asking.
Well, this is similar to what scuba divers do after every dive - they log the details about the dive, the depths they went to, any problems that came up on the dive and how they solved them. It might not mean much at the time but it can be extremely useful to them in the future if the same thing comes up again - they might notice something that needs to be addressed before next time or a part of their gear that needs replacing.
Now that’s not necessarily relevant to you as a goalkeeper (unless you need some new soccer goalie gloves) but there are definitely some benefits to keeping a journal:
1. Forces you to reflect on each and every game
Being honest with yourself about your own performance and any mistakes you made is a great way to keep yourself in check. You won’t get an inflated sense of your performance and you’ll know what you need to work on in the future. Note down everything you can remember from the game such as:
- The basics - Date, time, weather conditions, opposing team, location, pitch conditions, final result.
- Match report - How did you perform in that game? What was good about your performance and what could be improved on?
- Rate your performance out of 10 (be honest).
- Also make pre-match notes - What you had for breakfast, how well you slept, how confident or nervous you’re feeling, etc.
Having these notes will serve you well in the future and will also force you to think deeply about the game that just happened
2. Helps you identify trends in your performance
Keeping a journal will allow you to recognise common problems that come up in your games. The human mind is an amazing thing, but nobody remembers exactly everything that happened in a game 3 months ago. But if it’s in your journal you’ll be able to look back and see if you’ve slipped into some bad habits.
Let’s say you’ve noticed, after journaling for a while, that you are finding yourself in the wrong position at the wrong time - and it’s happened in 3 of your last 5 games. Now you know that you need to speak to your coach and work on that in the next training session. Likewise, if you recognise that you are doing something well in a lot of your games, then you know that your training has been successful and you are doing something right.
Look out for key things such as positioning, fumbling the ball at corners or not being quick enough to come off your line in a 1v1 situation. These are all things that should be addressed in training if it’s something that you’re entering into your journal often.
3. Provides you an easy way to track your improvements over time
A great benefit of journaling your games is that it allows you to measure your success (or lack thereof) over a longer period of time. It’s fascinating to look back at your log from months or years ago and see how far you’ve come. This is helpful if you’ve been feeling like you’re struggling with something recently and maybe lacking a little confidence and self-belief.
So as you can see, keeping a journal is a great way to honestly reflect on yourself as a goalkeeper and identify problems and bad habits early so that they can be addressed. It might be unnatural at first, but I promise you it will be incredibly helpful once you get used to it.