Sometimes, the hardest situation to be in as a goalkeeper is when your team is dominating. It seems a bit counterintuitive, but having to make a diving reaction save or snuff out a breakaway after being mostly idle for 15 or 20 minutes is extremely hard mentally.
The aim of any goalkeeper when the the team is doing well is to ensure that clean sheet. A 7-1 scoreline stinks of a defensive error to those who did not see the game.
Boredom will inevitably set in and this may impair judgement and decision making in a bid to get on the ball. The best goalkeepers are the ones, who, having not had anything to do, can pull off a great save to preserve the shut out. It can be critical if the game is close in spite of the lopsided run of play, as it often is in soccer. A quick counterattack goal by the opposition can let the other team back into the game or even give them the lead!
The way to combat losing focus when the ball is at the other end of the field for long stretches is to stay connected with your defense:
- Stay at the top of the penalty area or even outside it and play sweeper/keeper. Be ready to cut out long balls over the top, and make yourself available to your teammates for backpasses. Make yourself part of the play.
- Stay in communication. Don’t stop talking to your defense just because there isn’t and immediate threat. Make sure the defenders don’t fall asleep as well and let an opposing forward go unmarked. At the very least, acknowledge them when they make a good defensive play in front of you.
- Constantly scan the field and ask “what if?”. Mentally prepare for counterattacks that look like they’re developing — try to read the play and determine where it might go in a worst-case scenario, and remind yourself what you would need to do in that situation. The play might never come through, but if you are prepared for the worst, you can’t be caught off guard.