A Q&A with Hunter Gorskie, Success Manager, Techne Futbol & Professional Player
Hunter Gorskie is in his 8th year as a professional soccer player and currently plays for San Antonio FC. During his career, he has played for six different teams and in three countries. He played collegiately at Stanford University, where he captained the team his junior and senior years. He grew up extensively training on his own against a schoolyard wall on the other side of his backyard fence.
Confidence is an attitude, so how does it express itself in action—on the field of play?
There are a few things that come to mind. Body language is one. When you look at a player, you can tell how comfortable they are. I gauge that at the moment things have not gone their way, when there are obstacles, or when they make a mistake, such as when they ask for the ball, and then give the ball away. I look at the very next circumstance: do they want the ball again, do they call for it? Or do they hide--let the ball go to somebody else--and they try to go unnoticed? It’s easy to hide on the soccer field. The willingness to try again, put yourself in challenging situations, that’s confidence personified on the field.
There’s an inner dialogue that happens quickly: should I check and ask for the ball again, knowing what happened last time? I’m very conscious to make myself available again, even if it means making another mistake. I continue until I succeed.
Confidence is a lot about proving things to yourself. If you prove to yourself over and over, that you’re willing to recognize your shortcomings and still carry on, then over time it just becomes part of you. It’s tied to your identity. This is especially important when it comes to standing out at soccer tryouts.
Can you give a definitive example—a moment of playing in which your confidence most manifested itself and was most powerful?
The U.S. Open Cup in 2015 comes to mind. I was playing for the NY Cosmos against NYCFC in what was called “The battle of New York.” It was a win or go home game. It went to PKs, but I wasn’t selected as one of the first five to take one. I still had belief in myself, even though I wasn’t selected. The PKs went past five, and I was chosen as the sixth shooter. The 6th player on the other team missed his PK. I scored mine, and we won the game.
PKs are a unique situation in soccer. There’s no hiding. It’s the only moment when everything stops, and all eyes are on you. So, this is a case in which confidence--expressed in attitude, how you approach the PK spot, body language--is 100 percent important.
Techne has Mental Training as part of the app. Why is that important—if the player does the individual training you believe is the key to developing confidence?
Mental training is an unbelievable part of the Techne resource offerings. I wasn’t even exposed to this kind of focus until college, and then in the pros. It really gives players a leg up. There’s a lot of “noise” during play, and lots of distractions. In every generation, there seems to be more of those distractions and noise. Mental training is a great tool in your tool box to develop concentration, focus, and to give yourself space to become more self-aware. These are huge difference-makers in the game and in life.
The Mental Training exercises in the app help you to eliminate your distractions, to sit with and become familiar with yourself, and to give yourself space to understand where you are, and what you want to become--and the gap between those two things--and to come up with the strategy of how you’re going to close that gap.
What’s your take-away? What do you most want players to know, or do?
Individual training is a great way to develop confidence. At some point in your training, you’re going to hear a little inner voice that says, “I’ve hit a wall. I’m maxed out. That’s enough for today.” You build confidence every time you reject that voice, climb that wall, and push yourself further than you originally thought you could.
The Techne app is a great way to do that because there’s nobody else you need to rely on. You don’t have to count on five other players wanting to continue to play or the team to continue training to push yourself further. With Techne, it’s just between you and you. So, the Techne app, and training on your own, is a way to hit that wall, and then push beyond it--to do an exercise at maximum intensity and feel exhausted and do it again; to do an exercise at a certain quality, and decide to do it again at an even higher quality.
As you continue to do that, you develop the identity of a person who is confident. In my experience, individual training is the arena in which I get to hit that wall most often and push beyond it.
Finally, confidence is earned. That’s an important message, especially for young people. People say, “I’m not confident,” like it’s an absolute. But it’s a learned skill, in which you push yourself and improve over time, despite any obstacles.