Relaxation is key, says Cards’ keeper Ross

Craig Ross has revealed the work he has put in on his mindset to keep his position as Woking’s first-choice keeper.

The 30-year-old completed a clean sweep of club awards last term, picking up the Fans’, Players’ and Manager’s Player of the Season gongs.

Woking FC goalie Craig Ross shared his secrets to maintaining the perfect mindset as the Cards’ go to keeper

But with a long Vanarama National League campaign having only just begun, the gloveman is targeting even further improvements to stay on top of his game.

Talking exclusively to the News & Mail, Craig said: “I’ve been doing a lot of work with a mindset coach.

“He’s given me tools and techniques to use off the pitch that will help on the pitch. It’s about going into games in a good state of mind and being more relaxed.

“One of the things that comes alongside that is setting my goals for the season, and how I think I can achieve them.

“Obviously it was great to win the awards, but that’s gone now, and I want to be even better this season. Then as a team we want to set the bar high for ourselves too and try and improve on last season.

“I see no reason why we can’t.”

An added challenge for the Cards’ squad this term is playing their league matches behind closed doors, in line with the government’s updated coronavirus restrictions.

Woking FC keeper Craig Ross

But Ross and his teammates are already finding ways to overcome this dynamic.

He said: “It’s very strange. I love having crowds and getting that adrenaline buzz, particularly as a keeper having the fans behind the goal.

“I think whoever can adapt to it best across the season will get the best results.

“As players, we’re having to create our own atmosphere and the key to that is starting the game fast, rather than getting sucked into a ‘behind closed doors’ mentality.

“If a keeper makes a great save, or we have a shot that goes just wide, we’ve got to be cheerleaders on the pitch ourselves.”

As well as focusing on Woking, it’s been a busy few months for Ross off the pitch.

He has just completed his UEFA ‘B’ Licence goalkeeping coaching qualification – in surreal circumstances – and has resumed coaching at Watford’s academy.

The latter is a role in which he’s had to lean on all his experience in the game.

He said: “The last few days of the UEFA course were meant to be our practical assessment, with players involved on the training ground.

“But that got changed and it was all done over Zoom , so whilst it was great to get it done, it was strange.

“And I’m now back to Watford three or four times a week coaching young keepers. Unfortunately, we had to release a couple of them recently – again over Zoom – so that wasn’t a nice part of it, but I’ve been sitting across the table myself in that situation before.

“Even now I get knockbacks and I’m 30 years old.

“So I felt I could understand what they’re going through, deliver the news in the best way and give them optimism for the future. It’s kids’ dreams you’re dealing with, so you’ve got to give them hope.”

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