Oliver Baumann: “The foundation for success is always fun”
22 April 2021
Oliver Baumann is a name that has been established in the Bundesliga for several years. The TSG Hoffenheim goalkeeper is not only a good shot-stopper, but also a leader in the team. We met Oli in Sinsheim and talked to him about how to always find new motivation, how a professional goalkeeper trains and what three advices he gives to every goalkeeper and footballer.
Oli has now been playing for TSG Hoffenheim for over six years and in professional football for a total of just under eleven years. Nevertheless, he finds new motivation every day. He describes himself as a “very perfectionist person” and this characteristic always helps him to give everything. ” Aims like not conceding a goal in training are very appealing to me. It’s my incentive every day to give everything and deliver a perfect training session.” However, even as a professional you are never a perfect player and there are always things you can work on.
In the video (English subtitles): Oliver Baumann with essential advices for goalkeepers, about his most important lesson and about the use of data in goalkeeping.
“The best training exercises? The ones with the glasses that look like sunglasses and take away all your sight.”
Even for a player like Oli, there are training days and exercises that you enjoy and sessions that are less enjoyable. That’s part of life as a whole, sometimes you have to do things you don’t like but have to do anyway. For him, “units with weights on the court” are among the exercises he hates. Oli’s favourite exercises, on the other hand, are simply “the basics, with which you get into the training well and get the necessary confidence”. Ultimately, it is the combination of different exercises that characterises good goalkeeper training. That’s why new things are constantly being tried out at the professional level to improve goalkeepers.
When asked what is probably the craziest, but also for him the most effective training exercise, the number 1 of the team from Sinsheim answers: “The glasses that look like sunglasses and take away all your sight. Either like blinkers on horses or that they start flickering, in all sorts of variations.” No wonder Oli sometimes stops seemingly unstoppable balls.
In general, the differences between professional and amateur training are often not that big. On the one hand, there are the standard exercises that are also commonplace in the lower leagues and youth teams. On the other hand, there are many new and creative exercises with special training equipment in the professional sector that are currently only very rarely used in training. Incorporating these into your own training is also feasible and useful at the amateur level. So don’t be surprised if your goalkeeper colleagues (or yourself) are wearing “sunglasses” on the pitch in the future. That is effective goalkeeper training!
“If I misjudge, it leads to a goal against. That’s the tough draw we goalkeepers have, but I love it anyway.”
In order to focus during training and especially before the game, normal routines are very important for Oli. He doesn’t have a real ritual, but some things often help him: “When you’re tired or your pulse is going down, it helps me a bit to tap my stomach muscles or to breathe faster.”
Despite all their routine and thousands of minutes of experience, good goalkeepers like Oliver Baumann are still human beings, and mistakes happen to them too. “You should not and must not be afraid of mistakes. You have to be aware of how good you are, but also always remain humble and still be self-confident. If you go about things too casually, unnecessary mistakes happen quickly.”
Fear is always a bad companion, and that also applies to goalkeepers. However, a healthy amount of pressure is necessary to deliver one’s own top performance. As a goalkeeper, the smallest mistake can lead to a goal and a defeat. If a striker doesn’t convert a 100 per cent chance, that’s usually not so bad. The closer to your own goal, the more painful the mistakes. “If I make a mistake, miss a pass or misjudge a situation, it often leads to a goal against. Even I sometimes envy my field player colleagues. That’s the tough draw we goalkeepers have, but I love it anyway.”
“You learn from the mistakes you make. As hard and painful as it often is at first.”
Nowadays, almost the entire world revolves around data, even in football data is collected and analysed, coaches sometimes stand on the sidelines with a tablet and coach live based on the available information. “Of course, we also analyse data, both during training and during the game. During training, we look at how exhausting the training was, how many dives [quick jumps close to the grass, editor’s note] you do and how quickly you got up again. After the game, you look at how many balls were saved and how many balls got to your teammate, often in percentages.”
The most important lesson for Oliver Baumann and his goalkeeping, however, is not in numbers and data. One of his goalkeeping coaches gave it to him: “You learn from the mistakes you make. As hard and painful as it often is at first. Of course you don’t want to hear that as a young player, but you gain experience and it’s part of it. When I got older, I realised that it was actually true.”
When asked what three advices Oli can give to a young and aspiring goalkeeper, he answers: “The first thing should always be to have fun, that’s the foundation to be successful and to develop further. My second advice is to be disciplined and train hard, including strength and stabilisation exercises. In the end, it’s all about sticking with it and repeat, repeat, repeat.”