What makes a good goalkeeper? Quick thinking, determination, agility, flexibility, reflexes, a desire to grow and learn and all the rest. However, you could possess all the right techniques and show the utmost determination, but if your body isn’t capable of keeping up with your mind, you will never be able to perform at your very best.
Staying healthy is an important aspect of making it as a goalkeeper, which consists of two big areas – exercise and diet. While you should alter your intake depending on how much exercise you perform, both are as important as the other and neither should be ignored. For example, partaking in more exercise does not make it okay to binge on a diet of fast food and fizzy drinks.
Instead, you should balance the two to maintain your peak physical condition and ensure that you have the energy required to perform at your best. If you hope to become a professional athlete, it is worth remembering that your body is your biggest asset and needs to be kept in a good condition to avoid injury and prolong your career for as long as possible.
Maintaining a proper diet is crucial to all soccer stars, but Liverpool shot stopper Simon Mignolet believes it is even more important for the goalkeeper: “As a goalkeeper, sometimes when you do technical sessions during the week you don’t use as much energy as most of the lads do with running around, and therefore you have to still maintain your weight and the only way to do it is by looking after your diet.”
Everyone’s requirements will be different, depending on whether they are trying to bulk up or lose weight and how much exercise they are performing, but the recommended daily calorie intake should be approximately 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men. Depending on how active you are as a goalkeeper, the amount of food that you need to consume may change, but you will become more aware of your own requirements with time.
Aside from how much to eat, exactly what it is that you are eating is also important. At Chelsea Football Club, players are taught to place foods into three different categories – protection foods, repair foods and energy foods.
- Protection foods are mainly fruit and vegetables, which are high in vitamins, minerals and fibres that are key to keeping your body healthy and your cardiovascular system strong.
- Repair foods are mainly proteins, such as chicken or fish, which help muscles to repair and reduce fatigue following vigorous exercise.
- Energy foods are mainly carbohydrates, such as potato or rice, which act as fuel for your brain and vital organs.
Players are encouraged to split their plates into three sections, with each group making up a third of their meal. Likewise, while fat is often portrayed in a negative light, the club believe that players should also include a source of healthy fat in their diet in order to perfect their diet, which can be obtained from many sea foods, nuts, seeds and olives.
“I’m never going to live like a monk,” Manchester City keeper Joe Hart admitted. “You can treat yourself within reason. Our diet is built around game day. You load up when you’ve worked harder and you lay off when you haven’t worked so hard. That’s how I work.”
Sticking to a healthy diet can be a daunting task, especially for younger goalkeepers, but even the very best have a day off. While a few slices of pizza once in a while can be worked off with an extra hour or two spent on the field, a few slices a day will be much more difficult to shift.