England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch reveals the mindset which has set her apart in the world game
When you’re playing really well, you don’t know what else is going on around you.
If I think back to my best performances, I couldn’t tell you what was going on, but I could tell you what the ball was doing or how the save was made.
If I’m playing badly, I could tell you everything in a given picture. It means I have been over-thinking. Goalkeeping is all about that narrow focus in doing your role well and being able to zone out everything else.
In a warm-up, what I think about is if someone was watching me in my pads, how would I look around the D and what would I be thinking?
I have a bit of a swagger when I’m in my pads and when I’m on it, I think I’m six foot tall and own the joint. If my shoulders are back and there’s no tension and a smile on my face, I know I’m going to be okay.
The more I can get to that point, the more I will be able to deliver results and get picked. It’s the goalkeepers who are sometimes there or nearly there, that are going to struggle.
Penalty strokes have never been my forte. When the shoot out rule came in I thought ‘yes, this is where I’m going to make a name for myself’.
You have to go in there, enjoy it and love it. If you go in with fear, then you are already going to struggle. I look forward to those occasions.
When you go into tournaments you have to be in a mindset where you’re not thinking about anything. I have also learnt to follow the ball and shut out everything else.
In training, my coach will use a lacrosse stick and hurtle balls at me at around 100mph. At the start of last year I wouldn’t have been picking those, not even close.
It has really come on as I have discovered trying to imagine a little black dot on the ball and follow it all the way to your glove.
You aim to zone in: your eyes and head move to the ball with the outcome for it to be a comfortable save. Top goalkeepers make things look dead easy, never dramatic and that’s what I’m aiming to do.
Now, when my form drops I just find that little dot and follow it the whole way into the gloves. I coach it to kids and it’s one of the best bits of advice I have been given. It’s so simple.
To find out more about Maddie’s upcoming projects, go to RedBull.com