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So far, Gábor Király and Szabolcs Balajcza have talked about the secrets of goalkeeping in their own careers. In the last part, I remember Gyula Grosics from a sports psychology point of view. The reason for this is that his career and his human values are an example for today's football community. The following article is based on my personal in-depth interview with Edina Grosics, the daughter of the legendary goalkeeper, and on the Crossbar based on an analysis of the documentary film.

Gyula Grosics, the innovator

The legendary goalkeeper of the Golden Team wanted to be a field player as a child, but the athlete with excellent athletic qualities saw goalkeeping as a lonely profession. Nowadays, playing with the feet is a fundamental requirement, with future goalkeepers often training to be field players until the age of 10 or 12. However, Gyula Grosics was the first goalkeeper to bravely leave the penalty area and enter the game with his feet. All this happened 70 years ago, and he was a genuine pioneer in the development of the modern goalkeeping game.

Gyula Grosics' life took a decisive turn at the age of fourteen when the coach of Dorog's adult team put him in goal, as none of his goalkeepers came to the match. "Son, today you will play." - his future coach whispered in his ear. The boy who had been picking up the ball in training suddenly found himself in goal in a second division match. This real-life situation shows that one of the most important skills people had at that time was to adapt. Nowadays it's the other way round. Football academies are adapting to the needs of young players, competing with each other for the favour of the athletes. They offer a complex service and athletes need only focus on their performance. However, this means that they grow up in a bubble and may lack the life situations in which a truly deep commitment to sport can develop. This is what Gábor Király the other great goalkeeping legend of the Hungarian national team, during the interview with him.

Also known as the Black Panther, Gyula Grosics during his active career garduated at the University of Physical Education, where he studied coaching - and later worked in Kuwait as coach for two years - and worked for many years alongside football. However, it is now less accepted within the sport to go to university or even run your own business while building a professional career. "It takes the focus away from maximum sport performance"ytől” - often heard from professionals. However, in my work with athletes, I find that this is often just an explanation to grab onto during otherwise natural ups and downs. In my opinion is just about good for the long-term physical and mental health of athletes if they have more than one leg, as the intensity of the crisis can be reduced in the event of injury.

                                Gyula Grosics in the 6:3 Hungary-England, photo by Barrats/PA/Getty Images

Gyula Grosics was also a great innovator, inspiring 15 million people to perseverance and sacrifice. "There was nothing but bitterness in the country at the time" - as he said in the documentary about him. Following the victory at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, the whole Hungarian nation experienced the glory of "We won!". This victory had a special meaning for the Hungarian people suffering under socialism. The national team of the time gave people hope for their Hungarian identity, which is what made the Golden Team so special. And that is what makes the Hungarian football team of today so special. I regularly see children on TV asking for the national team players, holding up sheets and cardboard: "Please give me your jersey!"

Gyula Grosics the team player

In 1949 - the period after the Second World War - Gyula Grosics decided to go abroad to play football with a number of his colleagues in the hope of a better life. However, a day before departure, the action, banned by the state, was cancelled. But the legendary goalkeeper was not told, so he turned up at the appointed time and place, where people with AVH were waiting for him. Then began a fifteen-month period of interrogation, psychological and verbal abuse, which "You can forgive, but you can't forget" - as the goalkeeper said. But it was impossible to break Gyula Grosics, who would not name any of his colleagues. He was a man of great respect, as his perseverance and sacrifice made him a role model for a generation. He was a team player not only on the field but off it as well. He experienced sacrifice for the community as a child. He and his mother went out to a mobile concentration camp to feed prisoners of war over the fence. One day, a soldier noticed this and, in front of 6-year-old Gyula Grosics, he shot his mother in the back with a rifle. It was one of the defining childhood memories that taught the future Golden Team goalkeeper that sacrifice for others can be painful.

"Get a good goalkeeper!" - is what the experts say when they are working on building a team that can hit the ground running. Back then, Tatabánya had that. Even though the Golden Team goalkeeper was sent down to the mining town as a punishment, he did not react with resistance. "As a goalkeeper for Honvéd, I had little to save in a match, and even if I conceded one goal, Puskás scored two in front. In Tatabánya I experienced that even one goal can decide the result of a match." - said about this period. His goalkeeper qualities are shown by the fact that for years Tatabánya conseded the fewest goals in the national championship, although the team did not play a dominant role in the Hungarian top league. This could be because he saw goalkeeping as the most responsible position. Szabolcs Balajcza has similar views on the issue of the responsibility of goalkeepers Szabolcs Balajcza also the current goalkeeper coach of Puskás Akadémia, who was an excellent goalkeeper for Kaposvár and Újpest a few years ago.

Gyula Grosics and the Providence of God

The legendary national team goalkeeper has worn the jersey 86 times, and in 2011 he was awarded the title of National Athlete by the Hungarian state. To achieve these outstanding results, he needed determination and perseverance, the seeds of which were already in him at the age of four when he had a fight with his mother at home and decided to leave the country. Of course, such a statement is sometimes made by a child of that age, but Gyula Grosics did walk to the railway station and jump on a train. His mother, for some reason, sensed that he might be at the station, so she got out just in time to order him off the departing vehicle. The boy jumped from the wagon and landed 10-15 centimetres from the train wheels. Later, the legendary goalkeeper said that it was the first time in his life that he had experienced the providence of God that had guided him through difficult times. In fact, becoming a goalkeeper requires a very strong inner faith. Gábor Király, for example, used to cry until he was 12 years old after a goal that made him emotional. Szabolcs Balajcza, on the other hand, barely got a chance to play between the ages of 14 and 16 under his coach. Yet all three goalkeepers have gone on to fantastic careers because of their inner belief in each of them.

To know where we are going, it is also important to consider where we started from. Throughout his career and throughout his life, the Black Panther has stood by his decisions, and it has taken great courage to do so. With this courage, he set an example not only to his current club team and national team, but to the whole Hungarian nation. As a patriot, on and off the pitch.

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Coach's criticism motivated Szabolcs Balajcza


In the first part of this article series Gábor Király spoke about the secrets of the goalkeeping profession, in relation to his own career. For his part, self-criticism, consistency and the creation of real life situations came out during our interview. In addition, the role of goal-orientation and consistency as the secret of sustained outstanding goalkeeper performance emerged as a common point with Szabolcs Balajcza. Let's take a look at the factors that have defined the career of the former standout goalkeeper of Kaposvár Rákóczi FC and Újpest FC.

Source: Coach's criticism motivated Szabolcs Balajcza -

Persistent parental support and defiance throughout your career

"I always knew I wanted to be a goalkeeper" - started Szabolcs Balajcza. The goalkeeper has played in more than 300 first division matches for Kaposvár Rákóczi FC and Újpest FC. His parents gave him all the support he needed to become a professional goalkeeper. They sometimes spent their last forint to fill up their Lada car and take Szabolcs to his current match. "Parental support is very important."

For example, my mother regularly sewed the stain on my trousers, I played in my father's mechanic's gloves in the kindergarten, where there were two bins for the goal posts.

- said the current goalkeeper coach of Puskás Akadémia FC. Parental support was also needed. For example, when the future Újpest favourite experienced a big break in his career at the age of 14.
To this day, it still makes him feel bad when, after a poor performance in a Kaposvár junior match, his coach told him, "As long as I'm the coach here, you won't play a minute." For three years after that, he spent his time on the bench, with only occasional opportunities to prove himself. Many would have quit, but his parents continued to take him to training. His father would encourage him during the tough times by saying, "You're going to training, it will pay off in the long run."

He also developed a coping strategy of defiance as a result of the hurtful comment, which he says: "The coach made me so defiant that it has stayed with me throughout my career."

This defiance was to show later, as goalkeeper for Újpest FC, when he was benched in the summer of 2014 after Marko Dmitrovic was signed. "At the time, everyone was at fault but me. I didn't even tell my goalkeeping coach, Bandi Pálinkás, for two months," he said of his difficult time in Újpest. Then the chance to win the Hungarian Cup gave him a new sense of purpose. He put his head in order and his "vision" became that he would lift the cup in the final. Under his leadership, the team finally won another prestigious title after 12 years. "I felt like a hero in the final, we won on penalties against DVTK, one of the greatest moments of my career," he recalled of the climax of the cup run. And not only did he lift the trophy in the final, he even rested on the seat next to it on the bus ride home from the match.

25 May 2014 Újpest - DVTK (Hungarian Cup final) - YouTube

A sense of purpose, responsibility and love of football

The germ of purposefulness appeared in him as a kindergartener, during the Hungarian national football team's participation in the 1986 World Cup. "Seeing a gentleman called Peter Disztl in goal was such a motivation for me that from then on I was Peter Disztl in training and on the field, saving shots," recalls the former standout goalkeeper, who made his debut in the top league at the age of 24.

According to his dream, he became aware that he could become the first goalkeeper of Kaposvár Rákóczi FC when he was 18 years old and joined the then second division team. "Before that it was just a dream for me, but then it became an achievable goal," he said of his other vision. So much so that he made his league debut that season, and was even invited by national coach Barnabas Tornyi to play for the U21 national team. This confirmed to him that persistent training really does pay off, and that success has not made him complacent, but even more motivated.

Goals have always been present in the life of Szabolcs Balajcza, who started a goalkeeping school in Újpest after finishing his career. His professional development was noticed by the Puskás Akadémia FC team, and his vision of working with adult goalkeepers at professional level was fulfilled.

I think the greatest value of the goalkeeper position is the sense of responsibility

- continued Szabolcs. His mother instilled this in him from childhood, and thanks to this he became captain of both Rákóczi Kaposvár FC and Újpest FC. Szabolcs Balajcza was clearly one of the captains who spoke to his team in private, listened to his colleagues and represented his team diplomatically to the club leaders. He was touched by the difficulties of others, helped his team-mates in everything, and earned respect with his empathy.

Balajcza Szabolcs Best of DVD.avi - YouTube

He still keeps in touch with his former goalkeeper students, offering them advice when needed.

In addition to the values mentioned above, Szabolcs Balajcza had a trump card in his bag from a young age, which has kept him in football since the age of 14 - despite the dismissive criticism of his coach at the time - and still does today: "My love for football, my love for the goalkeeper's position helped me not to give up. In the evenings, we would drop our bags by the goalposts and play football on the pitch. I loved training, I still love the sport."

For this reason, he has become a role model for many young goalkeepers, just as he used to shout the name of Péter Disztl after a save.

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