By Patrick Morrison
AS a goalkeeper, it is necessary to have a solid set of reasons as to why you play the position. With the levels of skill and abilities a goalkeeper needs to hold ever-increasing and the weight of expectation to reproduce those skills to the highest of standards on a consistent basis, having a strong set of reasons for playing the game is pivotal and as always it is important that these be recorded into your training diary for reference – ‘Ink It Don’t Think It!’
For me, why goalkeepers play can be broken down further into three words. Now written as the acronym W.H.Y.; stands for Will, Hope and Yearn.
It is these three words that surmise the reasons we want to be goalkeepers. Using this acronym during my own playing career really helped me perform to the best of my ability as well as assisting me through some of my darkest hours both personally and as a goalkeeper.
Knowing why you play any sport is very important especially whenever you begin to have doubts or negative thoughts about continuing to play or being able to perform to the highest level. Essentially, having strong reasons for why you play gives you the purpose needed to continue playing.
Breaking WHY into the three words like this allows us to fully encompass all of our potential reasons into one easily remembered word.
WILL is having the ability to control one’s thoughts and actions for a chosen purpose. Having purpose is one of the most basic reasons that human beings, as a species, complete any task no matter how trivial.
Without a purpose, tasks have no meaning and thus have no reason to be performed. When we control our thoughts and actions into a chosen purpose (All-Ireland, FA Cup, Superbowl) it creates a disciplined routine which over time manifests as a habit that ultimately becomes autonomous in nature.
HOPE is believing something that you want to happen, will happen. It is this belief that keeps us moving forward and pushes us to be the best that we can be.
Your hope should be coupled with your goals that should be both realistic and attainable. By believing that something you want to happen will happen allows you the goalkeeper to focus fully on your goals and the plans you have created to make your goals a reality.
YEARN is to want something so much that it makes you physically ill not to have it.
When you create your realistic and attainable goals, it is with the purpose of concluding with your end goal being achieved.
Setting yourself an end goal and wanting to do something is what gives you drive. This is your ambition, it’s what keeps you going whenever you feel like giving up and without this drive your goals will only remain unfulfilled.
It is our innate human nature giving us a need to have some sense of purpose. There must always be some form of reason as to why we complete the tasks that we decide to undertake. It is for this reason it is important to create your own set of beliefs and principles in regard to why you became a goalkeeper.
Having these, in writing, will provide you with a strong foundation to build yourself a strong mental attitude allowing you to be mentally tough when things aren’t going as you had planned.
Humans are also naturally competitive and as such they will always feel the need to better themselves or at the very least, better than the person next to them. When thinking of reasons for being a goalkeeper it is this competitiveness, especially with oneself, that will drive you most when you are trying to reach the pinnacle of your goalkeeping abilities.
This is also where your attainable goals come into play. By ensuring that your goals can be achieved in a timely fashion it will feed your insatiable thirst for challenging yourself to be the very best that you can be.
For all goalkeepers it is essential that they understand WHY they are goalkeepers, and it is also essential that they fully understand the responsibilities that accompany the position.
It will be important for goalkeepers to have this deeper questioning with themselves so to allow them to have the fullest understanding of themselves. For this reason it will be important for them to know their ’W.H.Y.’
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