Thanks to Coach Clarence Gaines, I've been turned on to an outstanding blog from Dan Abrahams who is a renown psychologist for golf and football (soccer). This is an excerpt from one of his blog posts:
I have a passion for applying the latest evidence from neuroscience in my work with footballers and the exploits of this goalkeeper reminded me of this brain fact:
The brain works in milliseconds.
Our feelings, thoughts and focus can switch in a matter of milliseconds at any time and this has enormous repercussions for a goalkeeper (and all footballers for that matter).
A footballer must keep his mind in the present moment. When it wanders, whether thinking about a past mistake or focused on what action to take ten seconds into the future he cannot function as well as if his mind is immersed in the moment. His reactions and responses will be poor. His technique may fail him. His decision making will slow and the awareness he has of the movements of his team mates and the opposition will lessen.
A footballer must decide to stay in the present moment.
This is an enormous challenge because the mind likes to wander. The pull of past mistakes and the yen to predict the future are obstacles as dangerous to his performance as the opposition. Both will of course slip into his conscious awareness at times, but his mind can be emptied of these irrelevant thoughts. How? By reminding himself of his tasks, his role and responsibilities and by making sure his eyes focus on relevant cues and objects such as the football, the opposition or his team mates. The challenge for the footballer is that quite often it needs to be on all three at the same time. An unenviable challenge, but one, when executed correctly, looks different class.
Read Coach Abrahams entire post on this subject: http://bit.ly/pZ1uEF