Key to the Beachboy’s current good form is Australian goalkeeper Ben McNamara. We caught up with Ben, before tonight’s game against Maidenhead to ask him about goalkeeping and the psychology behind it.
Growing up in Australia, did you always want to play football?
I went to a sports high school where a lot of my friends played rugby league, Aussie rules, tennis, cricket, baseball, hockey etc but it was always football for me. I can recall an early admiration of goalkeeper’s like Peter Schmeichel, and then in my teens and still now being inspired by Mark Schwarzer and what he has achieved in his career, he still works like a machine at 43.
You mention those other sports, were you any good at them?
Rugby league is big in my home town, Newcastle. From memory I played one match of rugby league it was four versus four in my mates back yard and there were some very large humans on the day and I got thrown into a cactus plant. I didn’t fancy it after that! Rugby league is a brutal sport some of the tackles are like car accidents.
What made you decide to pursue your career in England?
The volume of matches per season is a lot less in Australia, so in terms of my development it was best for me to come to England where you can potentially experience 50+ matches per season. I’ve worked with players here that have made 200 appearances before their 23rd birthday and know players back home who may only reach 100 appearances through their entire career.
Saying that how tough was it to leave Australia though?
I’ve made may sacrifices to date and moving such a long way from your family is certainly difficult, however despite the distance we remain very close. Thankfully with the rise of technology it does make it easier to keep in touch every day.
What about the weather?
Well the weather is a lot different! However with my complexion I’m better suited to this island anyway. Although my good lady is a beach girl though, so she misses the beaches.
You appear a very confident goalkeeper, confidence seems to be in-built in most Aussie sportsmen/women…do you think that is the case?
I think we have some very talented footballers at our club and that gives everyone confidence. I believe in our boys, we’ve got some rock solid togetherness and good spirit that naturally gives me confidence in my role. I would say for most Australian sportsmen and women the glass is always half full, so we tend to see the positives before the negatives.
What do you consider to be the strongest part of your game?
I would like to think I have a strong mentality, you work constantly on refining all of the elements of your game every week but I am resolute and that is my strength, maintaining a professional approach towards preparation, application in training and performance on match-day is what I pride myself on.
You mention mentality, how tough is it playing knowing that one mistake from you then it’s likely to be a goal?
Quite a lot goes into the mental aspect, I believe you have to detach yourself emotionally, be in easy in the mind and focus on the process. You have to be in the moment and develop an ability to switch on consistent, reliable performance when called upon.
Finally is there one save you’re particularly proud of from your career?
Not really one in particular, probably just every week when Ben Greenhalgh can never find a way to beat me!
Ben was chatting to Chris Clark.