Attacking clearances

Attacking clearances are a great way of eliminating a scoring chance, running in to get rid of the ball before an attacker can get to it. Standing up and kicking away, you do not take yourself out of the play as you would with a dive; allowing you to get back into the game if things mess up!

The attacking clearance is one of the best forms of aggressive goalkeeping, without having to commit to the risky manoeuvre of athletically diving in to deny a pass; actively choosing to deny a scoring chance, but also eliminating the possibility of another by clearing it away to safety in a single move. When a breakaway opportunity presents itself, you should be the first one there to meet the incoming ball; rushing out to deny the attacker the chance to receive the intended pass, which would otherwise have resulted in a tricky 1-on-1. However, you shouldn’t just use it in this situation; at times when the ball gets loose within a D, you need to be active in claiming the ball, dominating your area to control the play to your advantage.


The technique for a solid attacking clearance is based on a well executed instep kick, so that you can gain the maximum distance for the clearance, when swinging in. Given that you are running in with speed, to make contact with the ball, you have to be precise and accurate, otherwise you could mess up the attempt, or miss the ball entirely.

  • Begin your run on the angle of contact with the ball (i.e. straight forward, if it is coming down that way, or diagonally); it is important you match up the angle, or you can end up being in the wrong place when it arrives

  • As you run in to meet the ball, swing in with the instep (using an instep kick), for maximum on the clearance – watch the ball in, to ensure you

  • Direct the kick with your instep; turning your foot to angle the redirect (face the area you want to clear it to, to help this)

  • Follow through on your kick as normal, so that the angle of direction is maintained after the kick (i.e. to keep a straight line)

  • Having made the clearance, get back in goal as soon as possible, so you are ready, just in case



  • Be ‘quick off the blocks’ to beat the attacker to the ball; sprint out with speed to reach it

  • Be aggressive – don’t back out, be committed, and go in with

  • Stick to your decision: be decisive; if you think twice and mess up, then you can get in a tricky spot, embarrassingly concede a silly goal

Breakaway passes

The most obvious scenario during a match where you can actively come out off your line to meet the ball and launch it clear, is on a breakaway. By challenging with an attacking clearance, you can eliminate such an opportunity. With the attacker racing forward trying to receive the long pass and then take you on in a 1-on-1, you have the time to come out and clear the ball (away to the sides) before they reach it; denying them a chance on goal. As the ball comes in, sprint out to meet it and then kick clear with the instep technique, focusing on where the open space is, and therefore where to place it.

With an aerial ball into the D (at higher levels) you have to be more ‘on your toes’ and ‘ready for action’ to quickly counter the threat; . Before you know it you can get ‘sprung’ on the play, quickly beaten by the attacker as they run around you, with the ball in the back of the net. At times like this, you need to react in an instant; sprinting in immediately to get to the ball first.


Loose balls

In scenarios when the ball gets loose, you can again actively come out to clear. Whenever a ball has broken free, you can make it your job to get to it and kick it away; eliminating any chance of an attacker getting to it. If the ball gets free in the D, then you can come off your line and sprint into the ball’s path; actively getting rid of it to the sidelines. By doing this, it allows your defence to regroup and ; buying you time to get back in goal and prepare for further shots on goal. By aggressively taking charge of the situation, you relieve the pressure on your defenders to deal with the problem, whilst also nullifying the danger and making it ‘safe’; preventing any further chances on goal. With your kicking ability, you can put the ball to safety with power and distance on the clearance, or pass it to a free player, to get it away from the danger area.


Free balls

Just as you may face game situations when the ball , you will also need to actively ‘make it yours’ when the ball becomes free from the main group of players; aggressively getting into space and challenging out to get rid of the ball, where it is currently a danger. After a tip-in save or deflection, you may find that the ball gets free and needs to be cleared, before an attacker can come in and put away the rebound. There are also times when a defender could get muddled and end up falling over, or mess up a pass, whereby allowing an overlap for an attacker to get through the open space. These are the times when you should look to get the ball clear by yourself.

Going one step further, you should make it your mission to latch onto any free ball; taking that extra step and getting in front of the attacker, in order to beat them to the ball and get it clear.


Rebound dangers

The only problem with an attacking clearance, is the possibility of the player ‘getting something on it’ and redirecting the ball back towards goal, which will end up with the ball hitting the backboard, as it goes in off their stick. A hard enough kick should dislodge an attacker’s stick and make sure the ball gets cleared, but it is worth being warned of the dangers, even if they are very slim. If such a thing happened, then you would need to be quick getting in front of the ball to stop it ending up being a goal. Alternatively, if this could occur, then sliding in to block, or diving in to clear (so that you are behind the ball, increasing coverage with your body in front) will help lower the chances of a goal being scored.

This is more likely to happen at national league level, where they are very skilful at reading the game and deflecting in shots, however, you may face a tricky sneaky forward intent on scoring, so it is worth remembering. Just be aware of attempts on the rebound on the kick; if the kicker carries on through, they may try to deflect it back (at goal), by getting their stick down on the floor.

If a player is coming in with their stick down, don't go out to kick it, as it will probably end up redirecting back into goal!
If a player is coming in with their stick down, don't go out to kick it, as it will probably end up redirecting back into goal!

Attack the ball!

Ultimately, it is a good skill to be able to clear the ball before the opposing players get the chance to take it; shutting down scoring chances by eliminating a shot on goal, or second shot. You need to be aggressive in your approach; actively going out with commitment, so that you can close down and deny opposition forwards their chance of glory. Self doubt and rethinking will be problematic; causing you to mess up the attempt (with disastrous consequences), so you have to be decisive and do it with conviction (solely focused on the task at hand).

If an opportunity to get rid of the ball, away to safety arises, then you really need to take charge of the situation; making the ball ‘yours’ and dominating. During the game, whenever the ball springs free, you should be the first one there; taking charge, in order to immediately get the ball out of the danger zone.

Staying mentally strong

The mental game is often ignored by goalkeepers and coaches alike. However, it is essential in order to succeed. The best goalkeepers are those who believe in themselves; nothing can ‘get them down’. To play well, you need to play with confidence and it’s worthwhile working out for yourself how to encourage this!

You train twice as hard as everyone else, are expected to stop all of the 100+ shots blasted at you in training, get bruised black and blue, then go and be told you’re still not ready skill wise. If you make a mistake it can cost your team the game. When it comes to game time, you’re expected to pull off amazing dramatic saves at the drop of a button. You have to take bull in the form of pointless advice from team mates and comments from the opposition trying to get under your skin. Once you’ve done all that, you have to go back and do it all again.

Your role forces you to take on the responsibility of the team (something that can kill your ‘mojo’ if you let it get to you): if they are playing poorly, you have to ‘pick them up and carry them, making the big saves to keep them in it, and if you are down on the scoreboard a screw up can cost you the game. At the decisive development stage where you are a young keeper looking to develop into a no 1 at top domestic level, it’s back breaking work training hard twice a week and then playing at weekends. If you look at pro sport (and any other type), you’ll find out that the best players are those who have stuck with it and worked their way through to be the best in the world.

Despite the smiles, it's not always this easy! If you want to be the best in your club, or even the world, then you need to persevere, as it will be a long time until you peak.
Despite the smiles, it's not always this easy! If you want to be the best in your club, or even the world, then you need to persevere, as it will be a long time until you peak.

Mental strength

A goalkeeper stands against a tough mental battle, given the role of the task to ensure the team wins. In comparison to the other players, you can easily be everybody’s mug of the month. If a defender makes a mistake, you’re supposed to mop up after them, and if it isn’t a striker’s ‘week’, then it’s just put down to not being given the right scoring chances by their team mates. Being mentally strong is essential to any chance of achieving success. As you start to go up the ladder of hockey, you will come under intense pressure not only to succeed, but dominate, in a game where you won’t seem many shots in a defence orientated game. There are some keepers that will fail to take their game to the next level and progress in their development because of their inability to develop a mental ‘game’: don’t let that be you.

During a game, how you feel and how you look to the other team can affect the final outcome. If you start to show emotion and look beatable (getting wound up, which can cause you to make rash decisions like bad tackles), then the team will really start to test you and get as many shots as possible on goal to find your weak spots. Learning to grow a backbone to resist nasty comments and shake off mistakes will set you up for the ‘professional’ game, mentally able to beat off anything that comes your way.

Developing strength

As they always say, sport is 99% mental and 1% skill, not to mention the hard work needed to beat out your peers. In order to succeed at a high level, you need to have a solid mental ‘game’ as well, otherwise you won’t be able to play to your best. In the face of allowing costly goals that can affect your team’s chances (letting the lead slip), you need to be able to stand up and carry your team. If not, then you will crumble and end up giving away a defeat because of it; losing confidence as you get shelled by the opposition, and consequently your team losing faith in you. How you develop a strong mental character is more of a personal skill, as it is something that cannot necessarily be ‘taught’, you need to work out what works for you, and build up a system to resist negative thoughts.

Self belief

Goalkeeping is all about confidence, which relates to how you play; if you are playing confidently, then you will be able to compete at your best (regularly, week in week out), but if you aren’t happy with your game or the situation, the chances are you will play poorly; rethinking situations that would normally be easy to deal with and doubting yourself. If you are nervous, then you cannot perform at your best, and therefore let your team down. A confident keeper will make those unbelievable, amazing saves that deny the opposition’s best chances, whereas a shaky keeper will let in soft goals. It’s all about confidence: if you play confident, then you will succeed, but if you get upset with yourself, you will sink, costing your team.

Examples of encouraging yourself:

  • Wear the no.1 shirt: if you believe you’re the best, then you’re likely to go out and prove it

  • Build a video of ‘Hollywood’ saves and then watch it before the game to really psych yourself up

  • ‘Roar like a tiger!’: it may sound stupid, but doing the clichéd trick of looking into a mirror and putting on your ‘game face’ can really help

  • Work out phrases to say in your head when training or playing (encouraging your self to perform)

  • Take pride in your ability; acknowledge something if it’s done well (i.e. making a timely save to keep the score even, or getting a clean sheet)


Learning to become mentally unbeatable, is a personal thing that varies for everyone, but in order to succeed, you do need to establish a strong mental game. Positive mentality will define whether or not your team succeeds; if you have a ‘mental collapse’ and get shell shocked, making yourself beatable as a result, then you have made the opposition’s job all too easy. Don’t: never give up and always fight no matter what; don’t make it easy for them to score on you . Leaning to shrug off goals and people’s comments will help you maintain consistency in your game, always being unbeatable.

Here are some ideas staying mentally strong in practice:

  • Focus on your game; don’t get phased by what’s going on around you – only you can , so concentrate on your

  • Don’t show emotion: don’t get harassed by players getting in your face or your own team stabbing your in the back – learn to ignore and use it as a motivational driving force – look weak and the opposition will think you are easy to beat

  • Never give up on your team; stay in the game no matter what to keep them in it, showing commitment and will help make the big saves when they really matter

  • Develop a thick skin; learn to ignore people’s comments and let mistakes wash off you like water off a duck’s back (make them the reason to perform better rather than having a negative impact); that way, you can really prove them wrong

Ultimately, you need to be strong in yourself and your own ability; it is your game and essentially your problem (if you’re having a bad spell), so you have to work out methods to help yourself.You truly have to believe in yourself: no-one else matters. If you can’t go onto the pitch thinking your God’s gift or the best around, then you will struggle to play to your best, doubting your own ability and letting your confidence slip.

Foam wear on Kickers

Does anyone have any tips on foam wear of Kickers?

I have a pair of the Yahoo Kickers and have been using them for about a year and I’ve found that on the surface that touches the ground the top layer has rubber off and the foam is starting to wear down, especially on the toe. On the old pair of Grays kickers I used at school I coated the surface with a two part epoxy glue, however i don’t want to dive in and try this on my pair as they’re expensive and the last thing I want to do is folk out for a new pair because the foam melted away!

Has anyone got any ideas for something can coat the foam with to protect it from wear?


Lukas Graser OBO Profile

Austrian mens goalkeeper Lukas Graser’s OBO profile.


What club you play for: AHTC Wien

What Country you play for: Austria

Great achievements: Indoor: Winner of the U21 B-Pool Indoor European Championships 2005, 6th Place at the Indoor World Championship 2007 in Vienna / Austria, 3rd Place at the European Championships Indoor Pool A in Ekaterinburg / Russia, Austrian National Champion 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009; 2nd place at the European Championships B Pool in Lissabon / Portugal and promoted to the A Pool 2007, Euro Hockey Championship A Pool in Amsterdam 2009, Participation at many European Cups with my club. Playing in the first German Bundesliga for the HTC Stuttgarter Kickers in 2007.

List of gear you use: OBO Robo Hi Rebound Kickers and Legguards, OBO Pants, OBO Tackle Box, OBO Chestguard, OBO HI Rebound Gloves, OBO Fatboy, OBO Carbon Helmet

Best goalie memory: Saving 3 penalties during the penalty shootout in the half final at the European Championships B Pool in Lissabon / Portugal 2007 and through that getting promoted to the A Pool in Amsterdam / Nederlands 2009!!!

How often do you train: Club practice 2 times a week, national team practice 1 a week, gym and athletic every hockey free day 🙂

International caps: approximately 32

International debut: against Scotland 2003

Any secret tips: train hard, never give up, buy OBO and everything`s going to work out 😉

Goals in life: having a job, that makes me happy, staying healthy, being able to play hockey for a long long time.



OBO Helmet Safety

The amount of energy in a hockey ball is huge… the concussion and face injury danger to goalies if not well equipped is real. Find out all about the OBO helmets, what speeds each helmet protects to and the lab tests OBO performs.

The best … for the best. Strength, design, comfort. No comprimises, no shortcuts.
A bit of a no brainer!
In 1999 we asked goal keepers where they get injured most? Their heads they told us. The idea of amazing people getting brain injuries sent us screaming to specialists in the Czech Republic and Argentina where they make the most effective and durable helmets in the world. We then worked with them to develop helmets especially suited to field hockey. Helmets with an official CE and safety approval, all models impact tested to official safety standards.
The F.I.H. says hockey helmets should be tested, but HOLA! Hold-up! They are not. Go ask our competitors for their test certificates. (Ours is EC type – examination certificate number E-30-01488-02, CE certified in accordance with directive 89/686/EEC, standard reference EN ISO 10256:2003 (replaces EN967:1997), technical body CEN/TC-158, Reference Mkp P004357). Yes, some of our competitors sell cheaper, untested helmets (not quite made of China, but made in China). We could do this too… we don’t because while Obo as a company is all for challenging the rules and  taking risks, we draw the line at doing it with our goal keepers brains! What do you think?

The amount of energy in a hockey ball is huge… the concussion and face injury danger to goalies if not well equipped is real.

OBO designs a range of goalie helmets designed for different levels of play and different ball speeds.


The Poly P (Polypropylene) is designed to provide appropriate protection at balls speeds to 95 kph.

View the Poly P (Polypropylene) on the OBO site


The PE (Polyethylene) is designed to provide appropriate protection at balls speeds to 120 kph.

View the PE (Polyethylene) helmet on the OBO site


The FG (Fibreglass) or CK (Carbon Kevlar) will protect up to speeds of 160 kph.

View the FG (Fiberglass) and CK (Carbon Kevlar) on the OBO site

All the OBO helmets above are safety test approved (the Poly E designed for kids under 13 years and sold only in 3 countries is not a safety tested helmet, however our lab research shows they provide adequate protection for young players.) The amount of protection a helmet offers is a combination of the materials used in the main helmet body, the foam liners in the helmet, the cage, and several other design related / shape aspects.

Regardless of the ball speeds you face, if you want the highest possible protection we suggest you use the OBO FG (Fiberglass) or CK (Carbon Kevlar). Helmet bodies made using these materials offer the most protection, and longest life. The concussion protection offered by the OBO FG and CK is up to three times greater than some helmets on the market. Check out this video of the OBO FG in action:

Some helmet bodies in helmets sold by other brands break or even shatter.


Cages are an integral part of the level of protection a helmet provides. Our cages use the highest quality steels and bend less than others.



Find out more about OBO’s lab here

What do the F.I.H say about Helmets?

The F.I.H. says hockey helmets should be tested, but HOLA! Hold-up! They are not. Go ask our competitors for their test certificates. (Ours is EC type – examination certificate number E-30-01488-02, CE certified in accordance with directive 89/686/EEC, standard reference EN ISO 10256:2003 (replaces EN967:1997), technical body CEN/TC-158, Reference Mkp P004357). Yes, some of our competitors sell cheaper, untested helmets (not quite made of China, but made in China). We could do this too… we don’t because while Obo as a company is all for challenging the rules and taking risks, we draw the line at doing it with our goal keepers brains! What do you think?

Finally here is a really good video about helmets and concussions. Although its about Baseball the ball speeds and impacts are very similar to what a goalkeeper will face within hockey:

New Look Faceoff

Great article on the new FaceOff. Coming soon to OBO.

Hey Everyone!

Here’s something i thought might interest you. Its an article by the Manawatu Standard Newspaper on the top secret, brand new OBO FaceOff mask. Its an excellent article and shows just how committed OBO is, not just to hockey goalkeepers, but to defenders and other codes as well.

Want to fire a ball at Simon Barnett’s face at 160kmh? Bring it on, says the director of Palmerston North sports equipment company, OBO.It has taken three years, a four-strong team of designers and a sum of money that he would rather not think about, but Mr Barnett reckons he has the world’s best frontal-impact sporting mask.

Called Face-Off, the mask is designed for players of sports where the danger of being hit in the face by a high-speed ball is high, Mr Barnett said.

“It can instantly deflect a ball travelling at up to 160kmh , not only from damage caused by the ball – abrasions, bruises and cuts – but by attenuating the shock to the brain.”

OBO is a sports equipment mnew faceoffanufacturer, exporting protective gear for hockey goalkeeping to 62 countries.

For Face-Off, Mr Barnett and his team built a laboratory to determine the best materials and design to deflect frontal impact.

They tested masks by firing balls at them at speeds of up to 160kmh, videotaping the impact at 2000 frames per second.

Footage taken during these trials, and destined for the OBO website, show masks exploding in showers of plastic, cracking and bending, or sliding haphazardly off the dummy’s face.

The testing on cricket face protectors in particular was “frightening,” Mr Barnett said. “They just don’t work.”

After the team had finalised their design, they handed the prototype mask to professional sports players for their opinion.

This was invaluable, Mr Barnett said. English wicketkeeper Matt Prior loved the mask, but said it was uncomfortable when sweating and made hearing difficult. So OBO inserted a layer of padding, and modified the side panels for the finished design, Mr Barnett said.

The mask’s launch is in its final stages, with buyers being sourced and marketing beginning in earnest.

A boost of $217,000 from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology helped in the making of the mask but Mr Barnett “wouldn’t like to think about” how much money he had spent. He expected enough interest in the product to see a return within three years.

Face Off is one of nine inventions from around the country featuring in the HotHouse exhibition at Lower Hutt’s TheNewDowse gallery until February 14.

Via Manawatu-standard

Keep an eye out for more information coming soon…

Tips On Using The OBO Training D’FLECTA Mat


Product info
Balls will be hit at the D’FLECTA, which alter ball directions in both height and width. This simulates deflections and helps train reaction times and hand eye coordination of goalkeepers.

Tips on using the D’FLECTA mat

Fast ball speeds and striker deflections now play a big roll in scoring goals. The mat enables a coach, assistant or even parent to simulate deflected shots targeting high or low shots without needing to include the field players in the exercise. Its also a whole heap of fun for goalkeepers! If not being used the mat can be placed also be used within team drills to simulate defenders who can often deflect the ball.

Here is a video showing a few tips showing the correct technique for using the mat…