Maenhout Perquy

Archive for December, 2011

Robert Enke: afterthoughts from a football psy perspective

What a shame, but probably not an exception in modern day football. The fact that Robert in his travels throughout Europe never worked with a coach who believed that confidence could be built through uncompromising trust and positive feedback. During his time at Hannover 96, Enke took the Reiss profile test, describing his personality and motivation. Apparently his need for recognition was high (which was confirmed by his wife Theresa, who said he always played best when he felt appreciated and recognised by his coach) but the Reiss input was never used by his trainer to adapt his coaching style. His team mate Carrasco at Tenerife added: ‘if a goalkeeper happens to work with a coach who eliminates him after just one mistake, the damage is done, and that’s psychologically terrible’.
Strangely enough, the lack of recognition did not stop Robert from showing appreciation and support to his colleague players. He did not suffer from what is known as “Footballer’s disease” (forgetting how to show an interest in other people, because one gets used to being constantly asked questions). When colleague goalie Ulreich (Stuttgart) got a public reprimand from his coach, Enke called him to sympathise, explaining what he himself had experienced in Barcelona, and telling Ulreich that he should not despair, that he would come out of it stronger. And in his final year, having been drafted for the national team together with young star from Bayern Munich, Rene Adler, he gave the rookie some good advice: ‘don’t let anyone, agents, team-mates or newspapers, force you into a state of mind where you think you have to go further and higher as quickly as possible’. Adler appreciated the gesture, and was very surprised to get support from his rival at a time when they were competing for the number one position. He said “among Bundesliga professionals you are always showing off about how strong you are, there is no way you can talk about anxieties, about the problems of dealing with pressure, problems that torment everyone” so the fact Robert was helping me, was very remarkable.


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