Lukas Hradecky: “You are never a complete goalkeeper”
15 April 2021
Lukas Hradecky has shown what he is capable of in over 200 Bundesliga games and in over 60 appearances for the Finnish national team. We met with the Czech-born Finn, who currently stands in goal for Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and talked about handling the media in professional football, role models and a positive attitude, as well as the factors for achieving his goals.
Media play a universal role in today’s world, often influencing decisions and people. This is also the case in the day-to-day business of football. If a player doesn’t have a good day, unfortunately it doesn’t just stop at criticism, but often players are portrayed by the media. For Lukas, it is nothing new that people who don’t know him try to form an image of him. “It’s part of my job and my profession is quite normal. It’s just that a lot of people watch me. It’s often like this: when strangers get to know me, their image of me changes.”
Yet Lukas is very honest in the media and also makes – despite his status as a professional athlete – no secret of the fact that he likes to drink a beer or two. He is a “beer lover”, most people know that by now, and that’s okay for him. The chilled-out penalty killer also has a clear opinion on his own use of social media.
In the video (English subtitles): Lukas on his relaxed handling of media in professional football, effective training exercises and his daily motivation.
“If you have a certain talent and work hard enough, you will be spotted. You don’t have to worry about having enough followers on Instagram.”
It is not only when it comes to interviews that Lukas relies on an authentic and honest appearance. When asked whether you also have to be a media and online professional to become a successful goalkeeper today, he answers: “No, definitely not! If you have a certain talent and work hard enough, you will be spotted. You don’t have to worry about having enough followers on Instagram.” Lukas Hradecky simply doesn’t let himself be influenced or distracted, neither by Instagram nor by other media. For him, only one thing is important: he wants to keep his goal clean.
In training, however, media once again play a more important role for the number one of Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Especially in match preparation, video analyses have become a must. At the professional level, it has become normal to count and evaluate numbers and data. “For example, I know where a shooter has shot his penalties recently and afterwards it is evaluated how I behaved during a penalty kick,” Lukas explains to us. ” Match scenes and resulting info also help to assess a striker and thus possibly save a ball. It has become a big and very important topic in recent years.”
“If you don’t have fun in goal anymore, you can stop immediately.”
In addition to technology, the training opportunities for goalkeepers have also changed a lot in recent years. Everywhere, people are trying to get the maximum out of their performance. For Lukas Hradecky, “variety and the unusual things” are the most effective training methods. “For example, we are often in the sand court, which helps to lose the fear of big jumps and is also a lot of fun for me personally.”
Fun always has the highest priority in Lukas’ life. He is a thoroughly funny and fun-loving person. This positive attitude is also the secret recipe for his success: “I once had a bad day and then my former goalkeeper coach said: If you don’t have fun in goal anymore, you can stop immediately and do something else. You can only be successful if you have fun in goal.”
Lukas attaches great importance to the advice of his goalkeeper coaches. He also looks at other goalkeepers, analyses their strengths and tries to integrate them into his own game. His personal role models are Iker Casillas and Jan Oblak: “You can always learn something from them and try things from time to time. It’s unbelievable how good these guys are.”
“I never want to stop getting better.”
Lukas never lacks inspiration and motivation for personal improvement. “As a goalkeeper, you are never complete and every day there are new goals for me and the club that we want to achieve.” Aims are an important aspect for efficient work, they always provide new motivation, develop further and continuously demand new best performances. Lukas’ motto is therefore: “I never want to stop getting better.” A good plan – both on the field in terms of goalkeeping and off the field in everyday life.
Lukas is also aware that head, body and material are important for sporting success. He regularly exchanges information with other goalkeepers about his goalkeeper gloves, compares them and finds out about new technologies that could make him better. Because the goalkeeper gloves are “the most important tool for him. And there has never been a time when I wanted to change my gloves.”
For the future, Lukas is thinking big, one of his aims: “To reach another final.” He has already won the German DFB Cup, “the championship would also be a dream of mine, of course,” Lukas enthuses. Let’s see what else the Finns’ number one can achieve. His talent, motivation and potential shall not be an issue.