This quote, attributed to many including New York Sun editor John B. Bogart (1848–1921): “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”
Earlier I posted about how goalkeepers have to possess mental toughness, some say you need a short memory in order to forget your mistakes. Of course it’s best to remember the mistake but release the mental trauma that accompanies it. When you make a huge mistake, you want to become invisible. Often, players cover their eyes and heads, as if wanting to disappear. But you can’t. You’re a professional, you’re on the pitch in a stadium, surrounded by spectators and often, cameras. You just have to suck it up and carry on.
Or do you?
In this ESPNsoccernet summary of stories from around the world, we see what happens when a goalkeeper makes (another) huge mistake and gives in to the impulse to go hide:
Calamity keeper has on-pitch breakdown
Blundering Moroccan penalty shootout keeper Khalid Askri, who celebrated saving a spot-kick only for the ball to roll into the net when his back was turned , substituted himself this week after another costly gaffe.
The FAR Rabat keeper ripped off his shirt and ran down the players’ tunnel after being tackled in his own penalty area to give away the softest of goals against KAC Kenitra.
The emotional Askri had to duck and weave his way past his team-mates as they attempted to console him amid the celebrations from the stands. But nothing would stop him exiting before the game had even reached half-time. Rabat, sixth in the Moroccan Championnat National Botola, eventually lost the game 1-0.
I always tell my players, “don’t make two mistakes”; if you make a bad play, do not follow it by losing your focus. That is a second error and it is an “effort goal” — in other words you may not have been able to avoid the first mistake, but maintaining focus is something you can control and achieve, regardless of outside forces. Askri running off the field is a second mistake and totally avoidable — although completely understandable at the same time.