Library Dissertation Showcase

An exploration of coping under pressure in football goalkeeping

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2022

Goalkeepers possess a particularly critical role in the success of a football team, as their contribution can directly impact match scores. Pressure can be devastating to the success of goalkeepers unless it is moderated by effective coping mechanisms. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the coping strategies utilised during clutch and choking performances in football goalkeepers. The recruitment process consisted of gathering eleven-a-side goalkeepers (n = 8) who were over sixteen years of age. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and participants were asked to describe a very successful and a less successful football match. Par-ticipants were later asked to identify the coping strategies selected in these games and comment on perceived effectiveness in managing pressure. The qualitative data was then analysed through a deductive thematic analysis. In summary, it was commonly reported that goalkeepers employed a consistent pre-performance routine, and then used communication with teammates and thought stopping during successful performances. In contrast, goalkeepers regularly adopted behavioural changes in routine or technique and negative self-talk to cope with pres-sure during unsuccessful performances. The results of this study will allow goalkeepers to liaise with their coaches and sport psychologists to implement a facilitative coping approach, whilst discouraging debilitative coping habits to enhance individual and team performance under pressure.

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