This year I turned 48 and still loved-ones watching a game can (and sometimes will) distract me (especially my dad, by the way…).
This has been the case for as long as I can remember…..
And just watching a game on any saturday, I can find many goalies with a parent behind or close to the goal*.
Or when the age range goes up, girlfriends or girlfriends-to-be will stand by the pitch.
And every now and then the goalies eyes will turn to the loved-one nearby.
Maybe it’s overdone to state that we, goalies, might feel pressure when loved-ones are watching us.
Since that’s exactly what occurs: we feel watched upon. And who wants to lose face in presence of a/the loved-one??
Goalies want to excell once these special people are there for us. We hope that we can show all of our potential maybe even that spectacular athletic save!
Obviously we don’t enjoy showing our hesitation in a 1-on-1 situation or the miscalculation that comes with a badly timed sliding……And bad goals are the absolute worst…..in our minds! We are eager to get their approval, praise and compliments. And we don’t want them to feel embarrassed.
This is where we have to understand that there are two sorts of loved-ones attending our games:
- ones that are there to support us and where we pressurize ourselves for reasons mentioned above (let’s call these passives)
- ones that are there to support us, where we pressurize ourselves AND feedback is provided by the attendee…… (obviously these are the active ones)
Dealing with passives is relatively easy: since they are passive in their behaviour we can more or less ignore them for the duration of preparation, warming up & game…just forget that they are there.
On the other hand, the actives are much harder to handle! Even when they only provide us with constructive feedback and input, that will impact on our degree of concentration and commitment to the game.
Just imagine that they would also comment our performance in less positive words and sentences [some even provide us with brilliant observation along the line of ‘you could have stopped that one!’].
When you’re my age, you could tell them at a given time that their presence is valued; the format they bring to the pitch is not valued though.
That might work for an adult, but loads of goalie-kids wouldn’t dare to tell that to their loved-ones [now let’s hope these actives read this blog-entry ;-)].
And what makes it even worse is that actives might engage in an evaluation afterwards. As you might know, I’ve nothing against evaluations -I’m all for it- BUT they should comprise of successes & improvements [most of times it’s only the improvements we will get during the ‘active evaluation’].
Or put otherwise: when loved-ones come to support us, let them tend to be passives!!
Does this mean that passives can not pressurize us goalies? Not at all; this might happen before the game e.g. by expressing something we cannot by ourselves. Things like: go get the points, have a shout-out, try not to allow a bad goal, etc.
Or after the game: when deception is expressed etc.
So: when you are a loved-one coming to the game to support your goalie: provide us with balanced input and respect. Believe us: we never intend to disappoint you. So be sure: if something happens that makes you feel disappointed we might experience a multilid version of that emotion.
And to a loved-one of the parent-species I’d suggest that you enjoy the game alongside the pitch. Let us hear your compliments and appreciation on what we did well. There will be room to brainstorm on what can be improved as well.
Happy goaltending with your loved ones present!