Recently I got a question asking about books on goalkeeping. I looked on my bookshelf and quickly realized that most of the titles I’ve accumulated on the subject are long since out of print. Books may not yet have gone the way of the vinyl album, but increasingly other media is replacing them. Video and computers help make the printed word come alive and open a completely new library that everyone can access. The Internet can be a tremendous resource for the resourceful coach or keeper.
Once upon a time, there was a logjam of information trapped at the highest level of the sport. Unless you went to an Olympics or a World Cup, it was difficult to find out what the top keepers in the world were doing. You could read articles in the newspapers or if you were lucky, maybe talk to a friend of a friend who knew someone who was there. Information was often third hand, subject to interpretation and frequently inaccurate. Satellites and video have changed much of that. With the right technology, anyone, anywhere can watch the best teams in the world play live, or within days of the game or read about new skills and techniques.
Before I became a coach, I was a student and then worked as a librarian for nine years. This was great preparation as I went about researching field hockey and goalkeeping. I can tell you that I spent more than a few hours leafing through card catalogs and library stacks in search of such elusive titles as Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (yes, its about field hockey goalkeeping) and any other book that might have more than a paragraph about goalkeeping. Often, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. While I don’t spend as much time in libraries, I do spend a lot of time on the computer and on the Internet. In this tip, I’d like to share some of my favorite sites as well as some advice for your own searches.
First and foremost, this tip is not intended to be a definitive list of sites devoted to goalkeeping. Like books, Internet sites disappear and new ones emerge every day. Whether its news from around the globe, video highlights from the Champion’s Trophy, the latest equipment on the market or what’s going on in my area, it’s all up there on the worldwide web. The biggest trick is finding it.
Search engines play a critical role in finding websites. They are today’s card catalog, but they can come at a price. The GOOGLES and YAHOOS of the world will provide you with results for any search, but recognize that most search engines give priority listing to sites they do business with. Worse, in this day and age, people have found ways to hack into search engines and manipulate listings. If you’re really interested in getting the best information on the Internet, prepare to be patient and thorough. If I’m looking for new sources, I’ll often use a variety of engines and a wide range of search terms. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found great sites on the 50th hit of a list. Patience and persistence are good things when it comes to searching.
One of my favorites news websites is www.fieldhockey.com. Managed by George Brink in England, the site is a daily collection of hockey related articles from around the world. Another news related site is www.planetfieldhockey.com. The site features many of the same articles as fieldhockey.com, but also offers readers the opportunity to post comments. Though not strictly news-related, one of the best new sites I’ve come across is www.fieldhockey.tv. The site features video of top international tournaments and games from the Dutch Men’s and Women’s First Division league.
Obviously if you’re reading this tip, you’re familiar with the OBO website and virtually every hockey manufacturer has their own site. In addition to manufacturer sites, there is a wide range of vendors who feature equipment from a variety of brands they often have their own sites. Rather than list sites, you can find many of them under the search heading HOCKEY; EQUIPMENT. The better sites offer more than a listing of items and prices. Several of them have links to other sites of interest, as well as technical information about their products and tips for using them.
I’ve mentioned before that I came to field hockey from ice hockey and while the sports are different, there is much we can learn from the common perspective of stopping a shot when a game is on the line regardless of the sport. One of my favorite websites that’s ice hockey based is found at www.promasque.com. Promasque makes custom ice hockey masks and like the OBO site, they make educational use of their site. Promasque has a HOCKEY FACTORY section that features tips from Fred Quistgard. While Fred’s background is an ice hockey coach, there are many good tips for dealing with pressure, winning a starting position, coaching strategies and many other relevant topics. If you’re looking for new ideas about the position, it never hurts to be open and to look outside the field hockey box.
The Internet can also be a great way for getting connected to events in your local area. Many national hockey associations maintain their own sites and they’ll post information about coaching and player clinics as well as news about their respective national teams. In addition, many of them provide contacts for local leagues and clubs. This can be invaluable, especially when you’re moving or thinking about playing somewhere else.
Finally, there are user groups or chat rooms that are keeper specific. I’m afraid that I’m not enough of a computer person that I regularly check these but if you’re looking to chat online with someone with similar interests, they can be entertaining and educational. The great potential of message boards and chat rooms is the sharing of ideas and information. I’ve discovered new sites through postings. If you know of a good site, I’d love to hear about it.
The Internet can be a valuable resource. One of the most important skills required for success at any level of hockey as a keeper is the ability to process information. A keeper needs to be discriminating. Just because something is up on the web doesn’t mean that it’s gospel and that you should absolutely do something because it’s on someone’s site (even ours). Read, think, try and then assess whether you’re getting the information you’re looking for. As we continue to develop as keepers, we develop with new technology and new ideas. The Internet is great tool for finding them.
Goalkeepers are amazing people!!!
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