I know you've probably heard a million times from your parents, and your teachers, and your coaches..."Be sure to take care of yourself". It's almost cliche by now.
But as a serious GK, and I assume,a serious athlete; the need to look after yourself on and OFF the field is vital to your overall development. We all know what a top level GK needs in training on a daily basis. Ball work that keeps your GKing skills sharp, and prepares you for the upcoming matches throughout the season. But it is just as important to pay attention to the needs of a top level GK off of the field.
Nutrition, sleep, recovery--both physical and mental--are key to your overall well-being in Goal.
Nutrition: It's the old adage, "Garbage in, garbage out". If you are not eating a balanced diet of healthy foods, you are unintentionally sabotaging your efforts. There are a myriad of websites where you can find the proper info on the proper nutrition for top athletes. If you play in a collegiate program, you have most likely had your nutritional needs and expectations dictated by your athletic trainer, or the athletic department nutritionist. Pay attention and adhere to their suggestions. It's a long season, and proper diet and nutrition can only help your progression.
Sleep: Sleep is the thing that is most overlooked, yet VITAL for an athlete. Most people do not get proper amounts of sleep in their lives. Most athletes--with the exception of pros--certainly don't get enough good sleep. Sleep is becoming more and more important in an athlete's daily regimen of well-being. Study after study proves that people that get proper sleep excel more. It's science. If you play collegiately, sleep can be hard to come by. Classes, athletics, social life, all pile up time commitments in a typical day and week. Sadly, the area that gets "traded off" in this hectic schedule is sleep. Confer with your athletic trainer and have them help you get the proper amount of sleep for your high stress environment.
Recovery: There comes a time every week, where it's 'time to put the ball away'. In other words, move away from soccer, mentally and physically, and recover. Take an ice-bath, take a walk, enjoy the world around you, read, relax, do things that are totally unrelated to the game. (Sleep is a huge part of recovery, by the way). Proper care of your body after training (ice bath, massage, swimming, walking, biking)--all of these help recovery and aid in rejuvenation of body, mind and spirit. I can tell you, having just had my second knee replacement, that recovery and proper body maintenance will serve your joints and muscles well. Right now, I am working on recovery from surgery and rehabbing my body in order to enjoy pain-free activity. I wonder if I had done a better job of Taking Care of Myself when I was playing and coaching throughout the years, if I wouldn't have needed as many reconstructive surgeries. I believe that it certainly would have helped, and I encourage you to do so. There is so much more scientific data suggesting that taking care of yourself will produce a better athlete and in our case--a better Goalkeeper. Don't forget.....Take Care of Yourself!! Good Luck!
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May the goalposts be 3 feet wide. May the other team shoot everything right at you.
All the Best--EV