Indoor Legguard Covers

An article about indoor legguard covers and how to make them yourself or purchase them.

I have seen a few questions floating around about indoor pad covers on FHF so I have written this article to try and summarise the information.

Indoor pad covers are made from fabric and a held in place to cover the foam on your pads to help you slide and protect the foam.

You are able to buy some covers; Verbunt offer Indoor Legguard covers for 39 Euros.


Alternatively if you are a bit strapped for cash or fancy getting creative on a sewing machine you could make some. Pillow cases seem like a base point to start from.

Here are a few detailed pictures from of Folmer of his pad covers which should give you a good idea on how they work;

In Summary
The cover is basically a piece of fabric that has the edges covered with thin nylon band. A piece of string runs all the way through the hem of nylon band. At the bottom 2 thicker fabric bands are attached where the points of the legguards go through.
Then pull the string and the fabric “folds” itself around the legguards.

Please let me know via the comments if there are any other tips to add and update the article.

Different Arm Pad Set-Ups

With the style of removable arm pads and separate chest pads, rather than a full all-in-one body suit, the goalkeeper has a lot of choice concerning their protection. With the ‘padding down’ style of goalkeeping offering a number of combinations, the goalkeeper can choose how to set up their arm protection in relation to the reflex qualities that freedom of movement allows.

The removable style of arm pads, like Obo’s design, makes it possible and easy to customise protection desired to the goalkeeper’s preferences according to their style of play. Rather than wearing both arm pads for full protection, there are a number of different combinations to allow greater flexibility in fluid saving movements, or that extra mobility to make reflex saves when reacting to an unexpected change of angle, like during a tip-in deflection. Suiting the goalkeeper’s style of save making, the different set-ups give various advantages to aid in their shot stopping abilities.

Right arm padded only

This concept has the goalkeeper removing the arm pad from the left arm, for full movement (useful for defending against well placed quick shots, like fast drag flicks and hard, well struck shots), but keeping the right arm padded for full protection. It is based on the theory of the right arm being used to block shots (being placed behind the stick to cover, on raised shots, if the ball is missed) and spending most of the time on the floor, so therefore needs protecting – when going down in a log, or sliding out to tackle/block, only the right arm will be on the ground. Dropping the arm completely down to be flat and fully connected with the pitch, for covering the shot along the floor opens up the gaps above and below the elbow, which would not be protecting by elbow pads. The arm pad therefore provides full protection, when fully extending the arm on a low save.

With the right side therefore not needing to be so ‘reflexive’ (bringing the glove/stick in to block), only the left arm is uncovered. Even elbow pads can be somewhat restrictive (especially if they are tightly strapped over the arm), so to gain full movement in reflex saves to the glove side, the glove arm is not protected to allow total freedom for the arm and elbow joint muscles to move. This way, the goalkeeper can actively make unrestricted athletic glove saves reaching across, without the stiff arm pad to limit movement.

This style of upper body protection has been fairly popular with the crop of New Zealand’s international goalkeepers; Paul Woolford used it during his whole international career, as did his replacement Kyle Pontifex for a short while. It is quite popular in Germany, with a number of Bundesliga goalkeepers using the set-up, as well as being used by Dutch keepers. There are also a couple of keepers in the Spanish male Divisio D’Honor (like the Club de Campo goalie) using it for its gained movement to the glove side.

It is currently growing in popularity in South America as the general method of protection. Argentina’s number 1 women’s keeper, Maria Belen Succi, and the second men’s keeper both use the set-up, whilst it is growing in use in Chile; with their men’s keepers using it. It is also popular in the junior ranks; with the junior Argentinian goalkeepers using it in the recent Junior World Cups.


Right arm pad, left elbow

With arm pads being bulky and weighted, the goalkeeper can often be handicapped by the thick padding on the left arm, needing to be able to move around more fluidly for reactive glove saves in the reflex style of field hockey goalkeeping. Requiring extra manoeuvrability to power away rebounds in a directed clearance away from the body, arm pads don’t always give optimum movement, so an elbow pad is worn instead. However, the left arm can still be vulnerable to dodgy shots because of

goal mouth scrambles and close-in tips; going down athletically to block with the body, so the elbow pad is often worn to protect the bone and surrounding joints.

The elbow pad on the left arm offers a more suitable alternative to an arm pad on the glove side; protecting the elbow from a shot without fully limiting the ability for reflexive and reactive saves around the body and sides. With the elbow covered, only the forearm and the bicep area above the elbow (which is fleshy and less at risk to breaking, if a shot did pin the goalkeeper there) are in potential danger, thus ensuring the goalkeeper is protected enough for game action. The arm pad left on the right arm enables the goalkeeper to happily make more angle and ‘body’ saves; using it for blocking with an active barrier, knowing the arm is potentially well protected from harm.

This method is quite rare, with not too many goalkeepers using it. Currently, the Austrian mens’ goalkeeper was seen using it at the recent Rabo EuroHockey Nations Championships tournament (for World Cup qualification), whilst there is at least one goalkeeper in the Irish national league using the arm pad and elbow set-up. It is also taught and slightly popular in Australia; Stephen Mowlam was known to wear it when logging in a short corner defence.


Both elbows

An alternative method to wearing a full arm pad, which enables freer movement at the wrists and shoulders (the turning points of the arm, for those ‘twitch’ actions to make a last moment reaction save, which are often infringed with arm pads too stiff to provide the full range of amount), giving the greatest amount of freedom, bar wearing nothing, is to wear elbow pads on both arms. In comparison to wearing full arm padding, the reduced amount of coverage also results in decreased weight for the goalkeeper to carry, meaning they are not as weighed down as much for moving into reaching saves. The goalkeeper is not completely infringed from moving the arm fully, for reflex saves, and is also covered against the chances of being in the vicinity.

Elbow pads are worn purely for protective purposes, as the school of thought teaches the need to protect the bone (which would put the goalkeeper out of action, if damaged), as well as looking after the muscles: the pads are there to protect the bones, from a direct hit, whilst looking after the muscle joints surrounding the elbow, on the basis that continually landing on the area after a save (when diving or landing a jump/high dive) can result in long lasting damage – causing an ailment similar to “tennis elbow”. Sometimes, they are often simply used to cover bare flesh, with the chance of ‘skinning’ the elbows on a rough sand based pitch.

When standing up against shots, and bringing the arms in to passively block, like against a deflection, where the arms are exposed, the goalkeeper is putting themselves in danger. Elbow pads often have added forearm padding, helping protect the vulnerable bones surrounding the wrist, in case of taking a shot there; furthering the confidence to go down low against hard strikes that would otherwise be dangerous. With the elbows fully protected, the goalkeeper can comfortably go down for barrier saves and block slides with the confidence of being safe from harm, as well as having the elbow ‘backed up’ for blocking a stick side shot, with the chance of it skimming past.

This set-up is popular in Britain, and with the common school of thought with goalkeeper coaches; it is seen quite a lot in the domestic regional and national leagues, as well as at county and junior level. International English goalkeepers George Pinner and Becky Duggan are among the many examples. Welsh, along with Irish goalkeepers, also find it popular; like David Harte, Ireland’s no 1. However, it is not just used in the British Isles: Klaas Veering, the goalkeeper from Amsterdam H&BC (who has been capped internationally) uses this; matching his style for stand-up reaction saves and blocking low with barriers. There are also a few goalies in the Bundesliga who use the set-up, with Kristina Reynolds (female German international, who played as the first choice keeper in the 2008 Beijing Olympics) wearing two elbow pads as well.


Right arm elbow, left unprotected

For stand-up reflexive style keepers who hardly ever go down to ground for a save and prefer to bring their gloves in to block shots on either side of the body, they tend to use a set-up, where only the right elbow is padded, to enable as much movement as possible, without maximising the risk levels. With the left arm left needed for extra movement for those athletic, reflex and dramatic saves against tough drag flicks, only the right elbow is padded up. In case of being hit there, an elbow pad is worn; reinforcing the coverage behind the stick, for stick saves (in case the shot is missed). This also helps protect the joints and muscles, when diving down to the stick side; limiting the chances of damaging the elbow when landing, as well as the chance of getting hit there. Again, with the left arm free, the goalkeeper has full movement on glove saves, for using the glove in all positions around the body in shot blocking.

The main chance of being hit on the right elbow is when going down on the play; diving, sliding out to tackle or going down to block a low shot, with barrier style saves. The elbow pad also gives protection to the elbow when sliding; covering against the chance of skidding along the pitch surface when sliding on the right. It is also possible to safely go down against a shot with a ‘long barrier’ shape for barrier saves; tucking the right arm more into the body to give extra protection (with the left arm also brought down to hip height, and behind the body, to protect the fully exposed arm), to bring the exposed area of the arm (upper arm and forearm) away from the shot; so an elbow pad provides sufficient protection, covering the vulnerable bone.

This style is fairly popular in Holland; Jaap Stockman, the young prodigy of HC Bloemendaal and the Dutch national team uses it to protect his right side, whilst leaving the glove arm free for reflex saves; the main element of his deep positional, reactive style. It is also fairly popular in Belgium, with national keeper David van Ryssleberghe is a good example. England national goalkeepers James Fair and Nick Brothers both use the set-up, for its reflex style elements, and reacting athletically against well placed drag flicks. Ireland’s second choice international keeper Iain Walker, use of it for its reflexive purposes, shows how its popularity in western Europe is growing. Kyle Pontifex (New Zealand’s new first choice) has been using this set-up since 2007 and the BDO Champions Challenge, again, for its increased freedom of movement for reflex style saves. Juan Manuel Vivaldi, Argentina’s prominent number 1 men’s goalkeeper, who has also recently been playing in the Hoofdklasse (Holland’s premier league) also uses it, for these reasons.


Which to use?

The combination you use for arm protection will depend on the way you play: if you spend more time standing up, patiently waiting to react to the shot, then you will normally ‘pad down’ more to allow greater use of your reflexes, whilst if you prefer to bring your body into play to get in front of the ball, then you are going to cover up more. You should also be aware of the safety aspects relating to reducing protection to allow increased movement for save making; given that you are exposing vulnerable areas by losing protection in order to gain advantages of increased movement, you should be aware of plays in the game that can leave you in danger, like close-in shots with the arms brought, where you could risk a fracture if you ended up being hit on the uncovered bone.

The older and more experienced you get, the better you are to experiment, knowing how you play and the ways you block certain types of shots, and can therefore make well thought out decisions concerning your safety.

The Great Stick Debate! Outfield V Goalkeeper

Sticks used by outfielders are actually a good option for us goalkeepers. Their weight and strength makes them good for shot blockers and aggressive style keepers who also like to sweep the ball away with the stick. With some goalkeeper style sticks on the market too light and badly balanced, they are a suitable stick for those wanting an effective save making option.

A normal defender’s stick makes a suitable stick for a goalkeeper; the flat horizontal surface (remember, an attacker’s stick is curved for better flicks!) is capable of stopping shots, whilst the stick properties make it great for an aggressive and shot stopping style of play. Aggressive goalkeepers (myself included) often prefer a flat stick because it makes it easier to stick tackle; instead of rolling over as a goalkeeper specific stick can (due to its curved nature at the head, and more so, if it has ‘kinks’ in the middle), a defender’s stick stays firm when stick tackling, whilst the added weight gives greater clearance when sweeping the ball away.


Unlike the recent types light weight ‘goalkeeper’ and indoor sticks used by goalies, they have greater mass on the save; stopping the ball from pinging off (and potentially into the back of the net) during the save action, which is something the Dutch have known about for a long time. If you look at the best Hoofdklasse goalies Vogels, Stockmann, Veering and Blaak, you will notice they all use outfielders’ sticks. This gives greater rebound control, for ‘dead-stop’ saves (where the ball is stopped and dropped to the floor, to kick away), or enhanced ability in turning away the ball on the shot, to safety on the redirect. Martin Drivjer (the well known Dutch goalkeeping coach and guru) has been coaching the Spanish international goalkeepers, which is why you will see their current crop of keepers using outfielders’ sticks; with Fransisco Cortes (who plays his club hockey for Club Egara), a good example of this trend. The German goalkeepers are also aware of the benefits of using such sticks, with the majority of the Bundesliga goalkeepers making use of them. Belgian goalkeepers too are using outfield sticks for these reasons.


When purchasing an outfield stick, you should be aware of the way the stick curves in relation to your ability to make saves with it. A forward’s stick is often designed for drag flicking, or ball control (where the ball is kept at a distance, in a circular width away from the body), where the stick is curved, and has a greater bend (a ‘bow’) for raised the ball up with momentum when driving forward through the flick; this isn’t good for a goalkeeper, as the ball can redirect off the stick into goal. A defender’s stick, on the other hand, offers a flat blocking surface to stop the ball flat without the danger of it rebounding oddly. The width of the stick also affects save ability; a wider stick would give you more surface area for coverage when shot blocking, whereas a slimmer stick would obviously offer less.


Outfielder’s sticks also have a better balance on the stick, compared to some ‘goalkeeper’ designs of stick that have been produced, like the Grays, which is very unbalanced. This is why more goalkeepers are switching back to using the ‘standard playing stick’, having learnt about the advantages. Simon Mason, has recently switched over to a Mercian defender’s stick, is a good example. With a properly balanced stick, the goalkeeper has the advantage of being able to make efficient saves with the stick, able to move it into position to block, without swinging or having the stick pull down. With a good centre point, for a well balanced stick; rather than a head-heavy, or tilted stick, over weighing to one side, the goalkeeper is better placed to make accurate saves with the stick.


The majority of the English national premier league goalkeepers (excluding the second choice keeper) actually currently use outfield sticks: Nick Brothers, James Fair, George Pinner and Ian Scanlon all use an Adidas, whilst Chris Bristow uses a Gryphon. Allan Dick, the capped Scottish international from Azurri Kelburne, used a TK stick in his time at Surbiton. James Bailey, the touted Junior GB U21s keeper, also uses a TK stick. Goalkeepers in the national conference leagues, like Old Loughtonians’ Stuart Hendy, are also aware of the benefits and have begun using them.


You can also get varying weights of stick, from the large amount of different sticks available. The problem with lighter sticks is that they do not give good power, for clearances on the ground (when sweeping the ball away), or when slide tackling. With a heavier stick, in comparison, the goalkeeper can actively power away the ball. Wooden sticks are good saving tool in their blocking mass and strength of clearance. However, they can be quite heavy, therefore limiting the movement of the right hand (weighing down the arm) and save opportunities, such as making a blocking save with the rhp on a drag flick. The modern fibreglass composite designs reduce the weight; giving a more medium weight, whilst still retaining the mass and blocking features. Although the lighter they are, the less power they will have for making long clearances.


Ultimately, outfielders’ sticks provide a good stick for those goalkeepers who like to make stick saves, as well as being able to clear the ball with distance when faced with a loose rebound, or trying to get the ball clear when down on the ground (to get it away, or give enough time to recover). Being more ‘meaty’ than indoor sticks, they also provide more mass on the save to prevent the ball awkwardly redirecting back. Features that can’t always be provided for this by other sticks are provided by the design of the outfielder’s stick.


outfield stick



  • Lower positioning, (stick not raised up by ‘kinks’) for full contact with the ground means no gaps, and strong blocking surface against the on-ground shot

  • Easy to get hold of

  • Affordable prices

  • Greater mass within stick ensures that ball does not deflect off, but is blocked, compared with a light composite design

  • Weight provides a better clearance on the save

  • Better stick tackling capabilities; no chance of stick rolling over with ‘flatter’ design

  • Stick head gives enough coverage for making saves to the top of the stick

  • Wide variety available to suit individual preferences (including weight, length etc.)



  • Covers less space on low/ground shots due to shape (straight design with no added ‘kinks’ for a larger barrier against the shot); less blocking surface area for playing percentages

  • Heavy weight can mean the goalkeeper struggles to move their right arm for saves with the rhp

New Zealand NHL Wellington Vs Central

Highlights of New Zealand NHL game between Wellington and Central, plus an interview with Kyle Pontifex.

Here is some NHL game highlights between Wellington and Central mens game. The Wellington team featured Blacksticks keeper Kyle Pontifex. The game became a bit of a goal-fest so check out the highlights…

Check out Kyles custom pads; more info on this custom design soon.


Standing when the ball is outside your half

When the ball is outside of your team’s half, you can actively step forward to be nearer the action. Ready to react as the game develops, you can play aggressively to gain the advantage; already ready to move into intercept an attacker or pass into the D, to prevent a scoring chance.


A lot of goalkeepers like to stay inside their goal when the ball is outside their half and then move out as the play gets through, allowing them to cover the posts in case of an inrushing attack. However, the more dominant goalkeepers will stand confidently at the top of the D, so they can intercept any stray balls, also giving them a better chance to immediately tackle a forward as they run through the D. 


Being aware of the need to be aggressive and acting correspondingly, will further your ability to control the play; able to shut down attacking chances by acting with confidence and awareness of the game’s development.


Standing on your line

Rather than coming off their line to prepare for any offensive breakaways into the D, you will often see a lot of goalkeepers staying back on the line, even when the ball is in the opposition’s zone. Passive goalkeepers who are not as comfortable aggressively stepping out to cut off a breakaway by actively running out to tackle, will often stay close to their line, even when the play is outside their half; ‘rooted’ to their goal line. By being so deep, they can play a shot, if a breakaway occurs; covering all options in order to block the incoming shot, rather than challenging out; allowing them to play to their strengths in angle play and reflexes, for a reactive save according to the incoming shot.


Staying nearer to the goal line means that the goalkeeper is further way from the play, often unable to react in time to a breakout play from the opposition, through their own defence (facing 2 on 1s, 3 on 2s etc.). As a result of being so deep within the D, you will have to be a lot quicker ‘off the mark’ in reacting to a lone player breaking into the zone, if you intend to tackle them successfully; immediately sprinting straight out, off your line to the top of the D, when you need to confront an open player running into the D, in order to make the interception.




Staying further back leaves you significantly more vulnerable to the incoming attacker, with speed and multiple options on their side.
Staying further back leaves you significantly more vulnerable to the incoming attacker, with speed and multiple options on their side.


Standing at the top of the D

At higher levels of the game, where the action is more fast paced and open, you will often see goalkeepers standing far off their line; readily anticipating an attack when the ball is in the opposition’s half and 25. Standing at the top of the D, you are nearer to the action. With a better view of the action, by gaining a closer view (rather than staring at a distance), you can also get a clearer look at things that are happening and are therefore able to make more accurate calls to your team; relating the dangers of free and mobile opposition players. Other than showing outward confidence to the team and opposition alike, as well as getting a better view of the pitch, from where they can shout commands to their team mates, it allows you to be ‘quick off the blocks’ in responding to defensive breakdowns and resulting scoring opportunities as they occur.


By confidently stepping so far out, you are closer to the action; able to quickly intercept a free attacker or pass into the D, without having to move into position to do so (by running in etc.). Ready and anticipating, instead of being ‘on the back foot’ and ‘slow footed’, you can see the danger developing from the outset, and respond immediately to it: showing good anticipation skills and a positive thinking aggressive mindset. This way, you increase your chances of disrupting passing plays simply by being in the right place and the right time.




By being active in positioning at the top of the D, you stand a better chance of making attacking interceptions.
By being active in positioning at the top of the D, you stand a better chance of making attacking interceptions.


Against a breakaway, an inactive goalkeeper in this situation would normally stand near, or even on the goal line, making it much more difficult to make the interception, as they have to race out in full kit to make the tackle. Being off your guard and not watching the play will leave you an easy target against skilled shooters. However, by being ready for an incoming player you stand a greater chance of successfully making the tackle.


Being aggressive

Standing at the top of the D means you are able to shut down plays more easily by being effectively “already there”; not having to sprint out off your line to meet an attacker or loose ball, but simply being on ‘the doorstep’ to the action. By being closer incoming play, you have less to travel to meet the attackers; setting up in an advanced position, ready to deal with overhead aerial passes into the D, leaving you up against an open breakaway situation, or multiple player scenario (with further attackers running in as the ball is held). An aggressive attitude in being ready and alert makes sure you are ready for the challenge; able to spring immediately into action as the player breaks through your defence and in onto goal.


As a result of being decisive and aggressive in your play, there are a number of possible actions that you can take against opposition plays breaking through the ’25. Disrupting such attacking plays allows your defence to get back in time to help out, as well as shutting down the present scoring chance, to deny the opportunity of a goal against.


Such scenarios include:


  • Making attacking clearances by clearing loose balls into the D (like aerials or strong hits in), which incoming runners are attempting to latch onto for a tip-in or breakaway chance

  • Making interceptions at the top of the D; running out on the angle of the attacker’s run, to slide tackle, to relieve the attacker of the ball and eliminate a scoring chance

  • Challenge the attacker coming into the D: meeting them early to challenge (staying on your feet and looking big, forcing them to go round you), and forcing them wide, so that you can force the shot wide, or move back with them to block a shot on goal they attempt


Being agile

Being aggressive in coming out to the top of the D to challenge coincides with agility and being mobile around the D; in order to get back in time to meet a shot if a pass is made around or into the D for a play on through to goal, you need to be quick enough and athletic enough to get back to cover the open ground. Working on overall fitness (to build up the required ) and practising roaming around the D at training, via respective drills, will help you learn when and how to come out to challenge, whilst being comfortable doing it.


Where should I stand?

Ultimately it is up to you to decide where to stand, according to your individual style of game; if you prefer to hang back and play the angles to limit a shooting chance, then you are more likely to play deep within your D and not step out to the top ready to challenge incoming plays. However, to take full control of your D, you need to be aggressive in stepping forward; ready for any attack and following the game play, influencing it as best as possible in ‘dominating the D’. By challenging with your positioning, you are able to control the play and shut down scoring chances; denying the opposition goal opportunities by acting like a spare defender.


If you are happy to act aggressively, and confident in your tackling abilities and aggressive style of play (being decisive, so as not to back away from a challenge and give the attacker the upper hand), then you should definitely be active in standing further up in the D when the ball is under control. Having a strong defence to rely on is helpful and important, but communication and awareness of where they are is crucial to success.

OBO Training Names and Nicknames

Hello hockey fans,

We have been informed of a few nick names people have thought of for the training products such as the egg, bat wing and the shark fin which is cool we like them!

We thought we should explain the names we have chosen for the products are based on what the product does…

The Bobbla Ball…bobbles unpredictably although it does look like an egg.

bobbla ball

The D’flecta mat…deflects the ball in height and width although it does look like a shark fin or bat wing and to an Australian it maybe a boomerang?


The Flicka… allows you to flick the ball easily although it does look like well nothing that I can think of…


If you have any ideas on a cool nicknames for products in this range please drop us a comment with your thoughts.

Floortje Engels

Here are a few snaps of Dutch goalkeeper and gold medal winner; Floortje Engels.


The Dutch women recently won the Rabo Euro Hockey Nations championships and Floortje won player of the competition 2008-2009 which is a very special for a goalie. Congradulations Floortje!


Here is a few shots of Floortje in action at the 2009 Samsung Champions Trophy in Sydney.



Photo credit; Stanislas Brochier

Field Hockey Pitch Template

Here are some useful Field Hockey Pitch templates that may be handy to coaches to explain the all important top secret plays and short corner attacks.

Full Pitch


Download Full Pitch PDF

Half Pitch


Download Half Pitch PDF

The D


Download The D PDF

Check them out on our Facebook Album…