The Second Save

Consequent rebound shots after the initial save are one of the hardest jobs for a goalkeeper to deal with. Unable to clear the ball and with going straight back out into play, further shots are guaranteed, with the shooter having more and more chances to bury it. The longer the ball stays in the D, the more chances the opposition has to shot in on goal, so you want to do all in your power to get rid of it. These are the types of situations that can either be a goalkeeper’s recurring nightmare, or their team’s saving hour!

What to do

If you do have to face multiple shots, then you want to be able to react to each one – concentrating on the single save each time to maximise your ability to stop the ball. ‘Keeping your head on’ and staying confident will make the save much easier to complete as you are comfortable in dealing with the pressure of the situation. Don’t ‘lose your head’, diving around all over the place and putting yourself in danger.

If you have to run back or across into cover open space, then be calm about it; using speed, but concentrating on the related angles and appropriate positioning to the shooter. The sooner you get there, the more area you can block if the shot comes in (if the shooter takes their time, then you have even more of an advantage!).

With the shot coming from the other side of you, as a pass is made, or the ball was redirected there, you will have to race back to cover the changed angle. If the shot is closer in (i.e. it went to outside of you on the save), then you can step and shuffle across to move into the space and shot.

Getting into the ‘zone’ really helps. As soon as you get going, you’ll feel unstoppable. But don’t forget to clear if you can, otherwise all your attempts will be fruitless.

After the first save, you need to react instantly to be able to cover open ground.

After the first save, you need to react instantly to be able to cover open ground.


  • Stay back and react to the shot as it comes in, giving you more reaction time for the save
  • If the shot is raised, try to stay on your feet as the ball could end up going over you; unless it is not possible to do so.
  • If you have to dive across, as you are likely to be forced into extending on side shots, then get up as soon as possible, otherwise you will be ‘down and out’, giving away a goal to the shooter
  • The sequence of potential saves is all dependent on the speed of recovery: the sooner you get back up, the more time you have to make that split-second difference in reacting to the next save
  • Never surrender: don’t give up and keep battling to keep the ball out of the net

The longer the ball stays in the D, the more time and opportunity the opposition has to score. Get rid of the ball as soon as possible.

Closing down the attacker

If you are alone with against the attacker (i.e. you have no defence and are left to deal with the play), then you can run out to meet them. By reacting quickly and instantly running out to meet them in-tight, you immediately close down the available shooting space and force them to move around you, or shoot straight into you. If the shot is released then you are in a capable position to stop it – being on the ‘doorstep’ to cover the strike.


Come out and close down the attacker to limit their shooting space.


  • Square up to the shooter, covering the angle close, so that they have little to shoot at (unable to see much of the goal) – forcing the shot into you for an easy save
  • Channel them; going out on the angle, to reach the top of the triangle, to cover the sides
  • Be ready to block as you are so close; dropping your hands to face the shooter to provide more coverage
  • Also be aware of a shot between the legs (with a gap there) and be ready to close them together
  • Remember to react – if an acute angle shot to the edges of goal is attempted, you need to stop it
  • Make sure you have lightning fast reflexes (sharpen them if needs be) to be able to react, as the shot will be so close , giving you little time to react

Rule of thumb:

If the shooter is alone then come out and challenge to make their life harder; only a good shot should beat you.

If there are multiple shooters then ‘hang back’ and react to it, as there are more options to deal with and more space to shoot at.

If the shooter does move, instead of shooting, be ready to move with them and tackle of stop a shot.

Eliminating the second save

When making the save, you want to be able to clear it away as soon and as safely as possible, so that further opportunities can’t develop. By getting rid of the ball, you are effectively stopping any further chance of scoring – shutting down the opposition.

The best place to put the ball is out to the sides or the back line, where attackers cannot get hold of it, as it is now out of play (try to clear the rebound on the save, but you can use a kick if needed after the initial save). If not, then kick it as far as you can away from danger, preferably outside the D, so that you have time to recover, reposition and get set for the next shot. Otherwise, try to get it to a defender who can then clear it away with their stick, or pass to another team mate to keep hold of possession.

If the ball has gone out on the save, depending on the rebound quality of your kickers and pads, you will have to chase it down to get in reach of clearing it. Don’t be static or laid back; actively come out to get to the ball and make a strong clearance out of harm’s way. That way you will be able to respond better and get more behind it, as you have more time to think and see the space available.

Be decisive: take charge of the game.

Remember: you can’t intentionally kick the ball back line after the shot is stopped. If you do, then you will be penalised with a short corner (the sidelines are still okay though). On making the save to push away, it needs to be a fluid single movement; angling the kicker or pad to turn away the ball in the correct direction.

First save mindset

You should focus on each save as it presents itself – concentrating on that shot singularly each time. Your priority is the first save: make the save and eliminate the rebound, and you prevent any further scoring chances. No more chances means no goals.

Lots of coaches teach the maxim (saying) of ‘one shot only’. They want professionals at the top of their game to make that one save on that one shot – they don’t want them messing things up by giving the opposition more opportunities than they should have.

If you watch football/soccer and look at the way rebound goals occur, then you should learn for your own game; say if a keeper ‘spills’ the shot; dropping the ball or failing to smother it, it is all too easy for the shooter to come in again and put it past the downed keeper.

Focus on the first save – prioritise the save and the controlled clearance of the rebound. Don’t give away further chances.

Review of OBO ROBO elbow protectors and OBO Senior Knee protectors

Review of OBO ROBO elbow protectors and OBO Senior Knee protectors

by Niclas Franzén Swedish national goalkeeper and goalkeeper for Partille Sport Club

Please excuse my grammatical and spelling errors
This review consist of three parts “First impression”, “Review after testing” and “Pictures”

First impression

Elbow pads
At first look I was a bit confused with its “weird” design and at first try I thought they were the bulkiest pads I had ever tried BUT then I started to take a closer look at the elbow pads and noticed what I would like to call GENIOUS design! First I started by just adjusting the straps a bit and this made it fit nicer then I removed the “elbowpit”/forearm/bicep protection and I was in love basically all the bulk was gone and they fitted better with my SP gloves especially the right one and when I tried to remove the ground/inner protection the pad became even better!

I’m wearing them around the house for the moment to get used to the feeling (I have not used elbow protection for a long time so it’s a bit odd for me at first) without having a go with them in goal yet I really think OBO have designed a product that able to catch a really really wide audience. When using all protection it’s like a full arm guard and when removing the first pad it becomes a protective elbow protector and when taking the last part away it becomes a super flexible elbow protector (of course I understand that protection will not be as good but for me who is used to not having anything at all its still much better than nothing. I feel that the elbow bone is well protected and so is the forearm I think it will be great for PCs when going down because the most brittle parts of the arm is protected it’s just like I want it

The only slight downside with the pad is that I don’t think some of the elastics is tight enough when removing all the extra protection but it’s a easy fix with the good old sewing machine and maybe it says more about the size of my biceps than the product itself 😉

as for the kneepads they don’t hinder the movement to bad actually and after wearing them for a while they started to get the shape of my leg however I can’t get used to the straps at the back of my knee because of the straps but it might not be a issue when wearing long socks also I have yet to see how they fit with my girdle.

Review after testing

First of all I want to say FINALLY a elbow protector that’s designed for fieldhockey instead of a ice hockey elbow protector sold as a fieldhockey one.
After testing the elbow pads for one and a half month I feel I can give the pads a fair review after breaking them in properly. I like these elbow pads a lot and I they are certainly the best I have ever tried I like the idea that it’s possible to remove/add protection to make them fit the needs of the user. One might like to have full protection for training but just wants to wear the “shell” for games, personally I’m extremely sensitive when it comes to bulk and for over two years I have played “dutch” and I can honestly say that these elbow pads are the only reason I have even considered moving back to joint protection. With all protection they act like a small version of the full arm guards (a pair of full arms that fits the sp RHP much better than the actual full arms) with just the inner protection added you get added protection against the ground and also against balls that hits the elbow bone. Lastly with just the “shell” you get a good hard shell with some soft damping on the inside which is the way I use them I feel it gives me the best mix of protection and flexibility the full lower arm is protection and the elbow bone which are the pars of the arm I feel the need to protect. I lent the elbow protectors to another goalkeeper in my club who normally are using full arm protection and he was impressed by the flexibility and he still felt just as confident as when he use his full arm protection so I really do believe they fit all goalkeepers from the ones who loves playing “dutch” to the ones who swears by their full arm protection it might also be a good way if you want to go down from full arm protection to more flexible protection as you can remove the extra protection when you feel confident to do so.
I would say no matter how you use them the protection is still great both against the ground and against balls the hard plastic panels combined with the soft inner makes a perfect combination.

When I was testing these knee protectors I never got hit so I can’t comment on the protection but I was actually surprised how flexible the kneepads were after breaking them in, I would say that they don’t hinder my movement a bit and they fitted well both with my old OBO girdle as well as the newer model so that was not really a problem. They also managed to stay in place fairly well but could move a little after making several saves in a row but it was an easy fix as soon as the ball left the circle. Personally I have had a hard time adjusting to the feel of having something around my joint and even if it does not hinder me it’s a mental block to me so personally I’m not a huge fan of these. However I would have loved these as a junior when I got hit more on my knees and I could see why goalies who slide a lot would like these but these are really for everyone because we all get forced to do some more or less “ugly saves” from time to time (I have even heard a rumor the these kneepads were the reason Ali McGregor could play on after getting hit on the knee during the Olympics). I also lent the knee pads to the same keeper in my club who got to try the elbow pads and as I write he still have not given them back to me he just loves them (mental note I have to buy a pair for him when he has his birthday so I can keep mine for myself).
I think some goalkeepers will absolutely love them and some would hate them me myself is somewhere between these two camps I can’t say I love them but I can’t say I hate them either because after all it’s a good product who are going to give many keepers out there a little more confidence to know that even if they give the little extra during the match they will know for sure that they will be able to go to work Monday morning because let’s face it most of us got work on the side of hockey.

Pictures and explanation

Picture these are the parts of the elbow protector
Elbow protector with all parts

Elbow protector on arm with SP right hand protector

Elbow protector with just the “shell” no added protection

Elbow protector without any extra protection on arm with SP right hand protector

I hope people will find this review helpful and that it has given you a better idea of these great new OBO products.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Not Getting Into Your Stance In Time

Getting into the stance, when the action is not specifically close, is something that troubles a whole range of keepers with saving and decision making ability, which can cost them in the game. It is so important to get into your ready stance before the stance – the better prepared you are, the more chance you have of stopping the shot.

You can never not bother with getting into your stance before a shot. Even when the ball is under one of your player’s control, you don’t know if they are going to have it taken from them and go onto have a scoring chance. I’ve recently been watching a number of keepers who are incredibly lazy in their efforts.

Other than not being ready for action and not making the save, you are not mentally prepared for game action. If you are not capable of being alert and watchful all game long (along with the need to pull off big saves when called upon in the last few minutes of the game), then you shouldn’t be getting selected to play.

Getting beaten

By not being in your ready stance and being ‘behind the play’ (i.e. not watching it properly and keeping a back seat), you leave yourself vulnerable. If you are unbalanced in your stance, then you will not be capable of making the save; tilting too far backwards, unable to reach the ball. A great example of this was Des Abbott’s goal that Vogels allowed in the bronze medal match at the Olympics; allowing a goal through the legs as he wasn’t set, falling back and letting it through him. If he had however been ready, he could have closed the gaps by bringing his legs in.

There are a few British national league keepers who still regularly fail to get set in time; a goal on a broken play within the D at a national conference league game I watched over the weekend is such an example. Expecting the umpire to call the other way (as the team had got most of their decisions their way), the goalkeeper was standing at the post, not in a suitable stance, the ball got loose and was then smashed in. By not being set for the shot, he was easily beaten, unaware of the impending danger.

In contrast, by being in your ready stance when the play is around you (and your defence; getting sucked into the idea of your role as shot stopper, is not the right idea), you are ready and raring for the save; your gloves up for the incoming shot.

It is no good just getting into your stance when the play gets in close; if you are caught off guard when a change occurs, like a deflection, then you are responsible for your lack of attention that led to that goal, by simply not being ready to make a save. By getting set before a play develops, you also help reduce the mental stress of waiting to see a shot in a tight game, since you are ‘switched on’.

Rule of thumb

The best way to judge the play is to watch and stay with it the entire game. As the ball gets closer, you need to ‘switch on’ and get to where it is on the pitch; moving with the ball as it moves and staying in your stance, ready for anything to happen.

By point of rule, if the play is in your half, you should be within your ready stance, ready for shots outside the D: you never know what’s going to happen next and should therefore always be alert and ready for anything (i.e. a pro technique is to put in a ball for a runner to get on the end of for a deflection, or a two on one that develops after a defensive mishap).

By getting ready in your stance, with your hands up and body forward, before a play is even made, you WILL be ready for an unprepared save, compared to other keepers who will get caught short by their inactive laziness.

Just watch the pros and see how they do it, like recent games in the Olympics (Vogels is a great example, except vs Australia) and you’ll understand. As the play gets closer you are nearer and nearer to, you are ever more likely to face a shot.

Look at this keeper: he is not even in his stance and just watching the play - if a shot came in, he would not be ready for it.
Look at this keeper:
he is not even in his stance and is just
watching the play – if a shot came in, he
would not be ready for it.

However, this keeper is ready - his hands are up and his legs are apart, ready for action.
However, this keeper is ready – his hands are up
and his legs are apart in his stance, ready for action.

Key points:

  • When the ball is past the half way line, you should be in your ready stance
  • Always move with the play; adjusting your angles to suit where the ball is
  • Be active not a ‘ball watcher’ – be ready to take control of the situation, instead of just being an observer to what’s going on in front of you

Watch and learn

This is not just a problem that plagues our sport: if you watch (on Match of the Day [British TV] or anything similar), you’ll notice how the keepers that don’t bother to get set lag behind the play and allow goals out of failed ability to prepare for the shot.

In national league games I’ve watched keepers stand there stock still not even bothering to get into a ready stance, on free hits and plays around the D, when they should honestly be set in their stance, ready for a shot. Just because a team is weaker than you are and you are winning, it doesn’t mean there is any reason for you to switch off and sit back; for all you know the next play may go against you and you are beaten, when you aren’t mentally or bodily (position) set.

Self awareness

You have to be aware of your own attitude to the game to really succeed. If you don’t look ready, then shooters will pick up on this; rather than taking a ‘back seat’ during games, concentrate on being there all the time to deal with whatever comes your way.

As always, practise is key to success: train yourself to ALWAYS be in your stance and on the angle of where the ball is, to be set. At training, focus on getting yourself in your stance immediately and in line for the shot, allowing you to maximise your chances.

OBO Face Off

Check out these limited edition custom Face Off paint jobs produced exclusively for Verbunt Hockey, Netherlands.


The range of graphics are sure to give you attackers a scare on shortcorner plays. To get one of the exclusive Face Off designs click here to go to the Verbunt pages.

About the Face Off
The OBO FaceOff has been developed specifically for the short corner phase of Field Hockey and is not intended for full game usage. It is designed to reduce cuts, abrasions and bruising of defenders.

Wide and comfortable elastic strapping…easy to pop on and off. Rigid yet light polyethylene shell…unbreakable. Total shell weight is 150 grams. Anatomically shaped eye sockets designed to maximise vision while still providing excellent protection. Medium density polyethylene foam inner provides comfortand aids protection of key areas…forehead, check bones, temples and chin. High density polyethylene foam goggles reduce frontal and side impacts over key areas…the bridge of the nose, eye sockets and cheek bones.