Football: Peter Enckleman – A Wembley Moment

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So Portsmouth secure their first FA Cup win, since 1939. However, it was unfortunate that they should secure victory, following a handling error, by Cardiff City goal-keeper Peter Enckleman.

For this was Enckleman’s highest profile match, since the ill-fated Birmingham derby incident, a few years ago. Then, live on Monday night TV, the Villa custodian, famously allowed an Olof Mellberg throw-in, to slip through his grasp, into his own net.

To his immense credit, Enckleman, recovered from his Second City derby trauma, to win the man-of-the-match award, the following Saturday at Old Trafford. But this wasn’t just a triumph of courage in adversity.

After the derby, Enckleman, was introduced to the work, of the excellent sports psychologist, Gary Leboff. Gary took Peter through a series of mental exercises, to help the Finnish keeper, rewrite his St. Andrews experience.

So much so, that by Old Trafford Saturday, Enckleman had not only put his trauma behind him, but had reconnected back to his strengths and qualities. Added to which, was a desire to prove to people, that his throw-in error, was nothing more, than an unfortunate one-off. All of which led to a top goal-keeping performance.

Peter Enckleman’s cup final handling error, will not earn him the same high-profile publicity, as his Birmingham derby mistake. But he may want to do the appropriate mental work this week, to put his mistake behind him.

It would be wrong for the Finn, to carry the blame for Cardiff’s defeat. That will only lead to continued feelings of guilt. Whilst those negative feelings can lead to a motivated improvement, he would be better advised to use sports psychology help, to re-think his Wembley experience.

That way, he can begin the 2008-09 season, ready to upgrade his game. For the greater the consequences of a mistake, the greater the opportunity, to use it, as a catalyst to excellence.

The emotional after-math of a Wembley defeat is never pleasant. But, for those who want to continually improve their games, that mood of self-reflection, can serve to trigger a resolve, to learn and develop.

Peter Enckleman has shown in the past, that he can overcome adversity. This is the perfect chance for him, to do so yet again.

Note – Gary Leboff describes the work he did with Peter Enckleman, in his popular self-help book, Dare.