I would like some help please. I am 16 and was playing for my local mens’ team on Saturday and had a ball drilled into my face from 4 yards. This shook me up loads but I wasn’t hurt. I then played in a national cup match on Sunday and played so badly. I was always on my line and wasn’t committing to take the ball and control my D. I knew what I was doing wrong but still I didn’t want to correct it. I was just wondering if you’ve had any experiences like this and if so what you did or if you have any advice for me?
Welcome to the position! I can tell you I’ve had experience with your sensation. I started playing back in the day before head gear was required and can tell you, I was one of the idiots that played without a helmet or mask for my first two years. I thought that was the brave thing to do.
First off, don’t ever do it (play without head protection), even just knocking around in practice. The good news is your head gear works, you weren’t hurt. Still, it can be very unsettling. One of the first lessons I was taught as a keeper is “you’ve got to take the knock, son.” If you get hit, get back in goal and don’t let the last experience you have being injured. Sometimes that’s easier said then done. I think you’ve learned one important lesson, that when you play afraid, you don’t play effectively. Not only do you not play effectively, my experience has been that when I play afraid, that’s when I get hurt. Hang in there, if your equipment is good, you may get shaken up, but you won’t get hurt if you play with courage.