Responding to an allowed goal

Being scored on isn’t fun but if you let it get to you, you won’t perform to the best of your ability.

A goalkeeper’s job is never easy and when faced with the task of being unbeatable the pressure can often be intense. Being scored on and allowing goals is part and parcel of being a goalkeeper, but it’s how you respond to that that shows how good you really are. In sport they often say how important the mental game is and with goalkeeping it is no different, if not more important. A goalkeeper’s ability to overcome adversity and bounce back shows they have good mental strength and will be able to perform at their best for their team.


Forget about it!

The best way to respond to a conceded goal is to play like it never happened. Whilst it’s fairly obviously how to forget about it, you need to do your best to put it out of your mind entirely. Ignore the urge to have a go at yourself for letting the goal be scored and work at composure and collecting your thoughts together so that you are prepared for the next chance on goal. Play like it’s 0-0 and forget about the pressure to win. Like the saying “water off a duck’s back” be cool and calm and don’t let it get to you. If you do, then negative thought patterns will sink in and affect your performance.


Whilst it is important to consider how the goal was scored, you need to leave that to the training ground. After the game you can look at how you could have stopped the goal, but for now, you need to work at not letting it get to you. If you think you’re going to lose, then the chances are you will because your heart won’t be in it! In the ‘here and now’ of a game (or trial or practise if you’re that competitive!), your priority is the next shot and keeping your team in the game.


Moving on

Being scored on can easily dampen your spirits and damage your confidence. If you dwell for too long on the goal, then you are likely to hinder your chances of performing well and helping your team get back in the game. The longer you criticise your performance, the harder it will be to self motivate; negative confidence will lead to self doubt which in turn will lead to indecision and poor play which will then lead to more goals if you’re not lucky. Instead, you need to move past the event and refocus your efforts on the task at hand (of stopping more shots and goal scoring opportunities!).


Focusing on the next shot

As it’s been mentioned your priority is to keep your team in the game and to play your best, not to mull over having let a goal in! By focusing and concentrating on the next shot or attempt on goal and visualising yourself stopping it, it will help from letting your mind wander. Focus your mind on the task at hand: your priority is to not let more goals in!


Strong body language

Having seen a lot of games (on YouTube and in person!), I have noticed a habit some goalkeepers have of openly lamenting the fact they have allowed a goal. Whilst it’s good to be emotional as it shows you care (like Murray’s tears at Wimbledon), it gives the wrong impression. Looking dejected and showing signs of bad body language (even if it’s hard to see your face through your helmet!) is actually a bad idea, giving the opposition the impression that you lack confidence and don’t know what you’re doing. Instead of this, do your best to maintain a level of confidence which will provide a positive sense for your team.


Showing visual signs that the team is getting to you isn’t a good idea!


Bouncing back

Ultimately, the most important thing is to carry on your attempts at being unbeatable. Goals can dash your confidence against the rocks and if you let it get to you it will stop you playing well and ensuring you end up losing. Instead, work to refocus your efforts and carry on playing confidently. This way you can give your team the best chance of winning and the opposition won’t think they can steamroll you.

4 thoughts on “Responding to an allowed goal”

  1. i think the point you made on confidence is really very important.

    there were times after knee surgery that i felt i was never going to get back to my peak. though i managed to play my first season after surgery purely on confidence.

    i kept picking myself up after i had done something wrong. something that i would never have even thought of doing before surgery. i just kept saying to myself .. u knw ur the best and u gotta prove it like you have in the past. in fact i had one of my best seasons in goal after surgery. it gives you a target to achieve

    i’ve got to be the best surgery or not.
    even after i would concede , i would get alot more driven towards not letting it happen again and it works.

    confidence has always been key.. and if u have confidence in urself you’ll manage to do things you thought you never could!!

    1. Have edited out the Wembley mistake (woops!).

      @Green Goblin thanks for the comments, I think confidence plays an important part in being able to play on when a goal is scored.

  2. Actually i do not completely agree with the part of analysing during the match. I think it’s good to take an objective look on what happened. It’s best reserved for confident goalies, but it allows you to adept to any weaknesses in the defence and your goalkeeping during the match, instead of afterwards.

    Although this isn’t advised for goalies who are put out pf there game easily.

  3. I was ‘brought out of retirement’ to play for my current club as a team were having keeper issues.
    The first thing i did was leave my new team mates in no doubt that ther’s 10 other players in front of me and if i have to make a save then someone else might not have done their job properly.
    it may seem harsh but they get plenty of vocal direction and encouragement from me as well.
    Only 9 goals conceded in my first season (3 in the 1st game) and back to back promotions have shown they’ve come round to my way of thinking.

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