Does kit colour make a difference?


Does the colour of a goalie’s kit make a difference to the opposition. i.e. does the striker get distracted by bright colours?


The studies I’m aware of in regards to colour have been done with football and ice hockey. There are two different schools of thought, one is to blend in and the second is to distract. Blue and green are good blending colours. On the distracting front, red, orange and yellow are good distracting colours. I recently heard mention of a study done by a Canadian university that was done with ice hockey goalkeepers. The study centered on many keepers wearing white equipment to blend in with the white ice. They also did a study as to what colour made pads (all the same size, just different colours) appear to be the “biggest” and yellow coloured equipment was deemed to be the “biggest.” You can make a case for blending in or distracting. If a striker is distracted by your colours they’re not focusing on the goal. If you’re blending in, the striker may not see you. At the end of the day it’s not so much about what the striker sees, but what colours make you feel strongest in goal.

good luck,


WHBS european hockey tour

After 18 months of fundraising a squad of 29 great hockey players from Westlake Boys High in Auckland leave for Singapore today on their way to Holland and UK. I am really grateful to OBO for generously sponsoring my entry in the tour programme and I am looking forward to giving my OBO Cloud gear a real workout over the next 4 weeks of  some intense hockey including the HDM International Youth Hockey Tournament in The Hague over Easter. First game is on Monday in Singapore in 39 degrees of heat – can I get aircon for my body armour please? Oh that’s right OBO is so cool I won’t need it!!!!!!

Keeping warm

Just another quick article on keeping warm during/between halves at a match.

If you are playing on a strong team and face few shots, or share starts (such as playing international test matches for example), then you will tend to get cold, since your muscles are inactive. You will also be at a psychological disadvantage (but this will be explored in another article!). The shots you are likely to face tend to be of higher quality goal scoring opportunities, as the chances are limited. In these situations, you are likely to have to stretch to reach the ball, or be more athletic, which can result in injuring a muscle.


These tips can be applied if you are up against a game where you are not seeing much action, but need to keep alert:


Rebound drill

A simple, but effective way to get warmed up in a short period of time is to have a free player shoot at you quickly, parrying the rebounds back at you so you have to continuously stop them. This is often used to warm the keeper up just before the match restarts (after the break), between halves (to keep warm and build up your reactions) or just before the game starts, to check on the reflexes. It works best when there are multiple players, so that you have to react to changes in angles.



To avoid injury, you need to keep warm. You will often see goalkeepers stretching in times of inactivity, in order to keep their muscles warm. As well as keeping mentally active (focusing on ‘getting in the game’ or right mindset), it is a good idea to do this, as you will warm up your muscles. The worst thing to do is pull a muscle making a great save against a rare opportunity, or at the start of the march, when you are not properly warmed up.


With the ball at the other end of the pitch, this goalkeeper wisely goes about stretching to warm up.




Just a quick article on the technique of ‘bouncing’.

Guus Vogels, the prominent goalkeeper for Holland (who recently a little while ago) was a ‘bouncer’ i.e. he would bounce in his stance before facing the shot! Martijn Drijver coached him and has coached his replacement, who also uses the technique. ‘Bouncing’ is essentially ‘popping up’ off the tips of your feet; preparing for the shot by readying for an explosive movement.


‘Popping up’

‘Popping up’ is simply a way of readying for the shot by popping up in the ready stance, as has been said. As the shooter prepares to strike or flick the ball at goal, the goalkeeper ‘pops up’ off the tips of the feet. The following videos show a rough idea of the technique: (ignore the stance, but rough idea of technique) (better idea, but feet may leave the floor at times)


This video gives a better idea of the Dutch method (as coached by Drijver); watch the goalkeeper’s kickers closely:


Goalkeeper 'bouncing' against a shot.



There is always theory behind everything and as with ‘bouncing’ there is technical knowledge. The idea is that by bouncing around with explosive energy it makes you explosive and gives extra drive for lunges or diving (up or down).




  • try to keep it minimal i.e. don’t over do it to the point where your feet literally leave the floor!
  • keep your balance by keeping your head forward


When to bounce:


  • at penalty corners or when the ball is just outside the D (and being brought in) when you have time to get ready for the shot


When not to:


  • against shots at close range: you can easily wrong foot yourself and not have enough time to bounce and then react properly to the shot/flick
  • when moving side to side – you obviously won’t be able to side step and bounce without a lot of difficulty


To bounce or not to bounce?

To bounce or not to bounce? That is the question. Or at least one of the many questions that face us goalkeepers (who to be fair are very analytical and like to pick up on the technical aspects of our position)! Believe it or not, I didn’t come across the technique until recently and don’t know where I stand on the matter. Drijver is a well known and knowledgable goalkeeping coach, so there must be some reason for doing it!



However, I was always told to ‘sit still’ in my stance and prepare for the shot before the ball was released, but others believe it has its benefits, so here’s a look into it. When I was training with a top level goalkeeper (National Premier league and junior international), I was told that when readying for a shot popping up or tilting away is the worst thing you can do as you are moving away from the ball. I would therefore be against it generally, but it’s something to consider to add to your repetoire, or disgard if it doesn’t work for you. It may work wonders at lower levels, but when faced with national league and higher shooters you may be undone by attacking players.



Sorry for not writing more this past year; been more busy than I’d hoped with studying. Here’s a very quick article to point you in the direction of baselayers if you didn’t know about them before!

You will now see a lot of goalkeepers wearing ‘baselayers’; a special type of top worn by sportspeople to keep themselves free from sweat. Rugby players, footballers and other types of athletes all wear them, and they are now becoming popular in hockey. The clothing is used to keep the goalkeeper cool and dry; reducing humidity and wicking away sweat from the body. Canterbury is one of the most famous brands. Baselayers are simply worn under the chest pad. Instead of wearing a t-shirt, you just wear the baselayer. Baselayers are long-sleeved and will keep your arms warm in the cold weather. Baselayers are easy to get hold of. Sports stores stock them, as do some camping outlet stores (they do a different type designed to keep you warm as well as sweat free, which is useful for the winter months!).


Simply put, they are a good way of keeping cool when you are working up a sweat, although that’s not to say your muscles won’t keep optimally warm!




OBO joins FHF

For the next 12 months OBO will appear as a sponsor of FHF ( Look out for the OBO logo in the top right hand corner of the forum…

In particular we will sponsor the ‘Goalie Zone’…

FHF made the announcement on their fifth birthday. OBO had this to say on the happy event 😉 …

Happy Birthday to FHF! For 5 years FHF has provided an invaluable medium for passionate hockey players to exchange information and ideas, improve their game, and generally chew the fat with like minded people. Congratulations !

OBO is really happy to have the opportunity to support FHF, and particularly the goalie section. Because there are so few of them, goal keepers have fewer opportunities to communicate with other goal keepers than field players do. They play a very technical game, both from the role and the equipment perspective so being able to seek and share information with other goalies on FHF is invaluable. Goalies are amazing people … FHF is an amazing place for them to meet!

Hockey shoes!

Hi everyone!

I’m trying to develop field hockey shoes for goalkeepers with strap ridges cut out of the grips on the sole of the shoe.  My idea is to develop a waterproof shoe but  bulky enough to fill out the kickers nicely and never slip out of the kickers because the straps slot into nice grooves just for them and the goalkeeper also has better surface traction because there is no risk of slipping in the straps.

What do you think about the idea?

Do you like it?

OBO training equipment review.

I’ve just submitted the following reviews to the Barrington Sports website and thought that I’d share them here too.  I’ve had the Obo training gear since September 2010 so feel that I’ve used the equipment enough for me to write a well informed review.   I have a pair of Deflecta’s, a Flicka stick and a bag of Bobbla’s.


This is an excellent piece of training equipment that really helps to sharpen and hone the reactions.  It is very expensive in my opinion but that’s what you expect for anything to do with goalkeepers and their kit (economies of scale certainly screw us all here).

As they are made from recycled tyres, you should expect them to be quite heavy….. and they are!  This is great in that they stay put once placed on the pitch but they’re a pain to carry to and from the pitch.  As you can’t bend them (because otherwise they’ll break) I recommend you carry them at the bottom of a spare goalie bag with the rest of your coaching equipment or use a couple of ladder lock straps to hang them off your shoulder.

I have found that they work better in pairs as they cover more area in front of goal as not everyone is skilful and accurate enough to get the ball to hit a single Deflecta every time.  It also gives you option of having the mats facing opposite ways and therefore giving a high and low profile for more unpredictability.

I definitely recommend that you have a look at the Obo Goalkeeping YouTube channel to see how they suggest you utilise the mats.

All in all, the Deflecta is an excellent coaching tool but the price is prohibitively high and likely to only be affordable to more well off clubs.  Thankfully I have a forward thinking and supportive club that see the importance of supplying quality training equipment to both outfield and goalkeepers alike. Twitter – @SutColHockey


I had high hopes for the Bobbla balls but have been very disappointed with them.

I was expecting them to be unpredictable and to actually “bobble” about but unfortunately they don’t do either.

The only way to have the balls “bobble” about is to use them slowly but this makes them all too easy to follow and kick.  If you bring them up to a realistic playing speed, it makes the balls act like a normal hockey ball and therefore is totally readable.  I have tried many various ways of rolling, hitting, throwing, bowling and spinning the balls and just do not think that they are worth the money.  I feel that there are plenty of better ways of spending £76 on training equipment (price related to as of 12-April-2011).

My other issue with the balls is that they are made from a very soft plastic compound and they don’t look like they’ll last.  Unfortunately for me I train at a very poorly maintained council run pitch and most of the goals have metal backboards.  Footballs and idiotic vandals do not mix well with hockey goals and the metal backboards are all seriously dented and pulled away from their frames.  This leaves some sharp edges sticking out and quite a few of my Bobbla balls have been damaged with deep cuts.  The normal training balls do not appear to have the same problem and are impacting at much higher speeds.

In conclusion, the Bobbla is a nice idea that just doesn’t seem to work that well.

If you want to see more about how Obo think you can use the Bobblas then have a look at the Obo Hockey on YouTube


The Flicka is so much fun!  It is relatively easy to use and you can become fairly proficient after a session or two.

I feel that the most impressive feature of the stick is the way that it is effective at any speed.  I am able to lift the ball fairly slowly and accurately in order to train with lower level keepers and then ramp the speed all the way up to eleven when I train my National League keeper.

The stick is well made and as it’s made of wood, I’m sure it will give me many years of use (unlike my Obo Fatboy stick which lasted three months before shattering so maybe Obo have improved their quality control).

Like any hockey skill, you need to keep practicing in order to get the best out of the stick.  Most people will be able to lift the ball within 5 minutes and then build it up to being able to hook the ball high and wide to the left after another 10 minutes.  This skill with this stick is being able to flick to the right and you need to learn to open your shoulder and make a deliberate rotation to your right to get it to go that way.  Once you’ve got this skill sorted, you’ll be having great fun with the keepers you train.

As with my other reviews of the Obo training equipment, I recommend that you have a look at their YouTube uploads to see how to get best use out of the equipment

When I first got my hands on the Flicka I hadn’t quite got the technique right and thanks to YouTube and my iPhone I was able to watch the video and repeat the action – easy!

I highly recommend this stick for coaches of all abilities and coaching keepers of all abilities and out of the three Obo Training products would rate this as my number one purchase, followed by the Deflecta.

Refurbish or replace – mouldy helmet……

Having had my head protection for some 10+ years now, the foam is somewhat mouldy and nasty. I can get replacement foam from local retailers but want to know

A: Is it worth replacing it, and

B: How do I go about removing the existing foam without damaging the shell?

Can’t really afford to buy a whole new lid, especially as being the kit-tart I am it would have to be a custom graphic version!