My name is James Mizzi, I am 29 and live in Malta. (A very small island in the Mediterranean) I was actually born in Australia where my parents lived for more than 10 years. However, as both of them are Maltese, they decided to return to Malta when I was only 6 months old.
I’ve been playing hockey here as a keeper for the past 17 years. The last 7 of which, I played for my Club’s first team i.e. Young Stars.
I have all your tips so far and also those previously compiled by Rachel. I find them to be of great help to me especially because due to our limited facilities, I have never had any goalkeeping coaching. Thus, I find it very useful to go through your tips every so often. In fact, last year I started coaching my Club’s junior goal keepers and its seems to be going very good so far.
I have two questions for you if you don’t mind…
1. All my equipment is from the OBO range (except for the protective pants which I will probably be purchasing very shortly) and am extremely satisfied with both the material and protection they provide. Well done! However, about two months ago, I bought the OBO body armour and can’t quite yet get use to the elbow part of it. Is it suppose to be so stiff at the elbow? There is a rectangular part which is worn on the outer elbow and I’m finding that to be limiting my hand movements. Is there any way that I could maybe make this part more flexible?
2. Can you suggest any additional material that I can purchase to help me with coaching goalkeepers or do you know of any goalkeepers camps anywhere in Europe where maybe I can attend to help me both in my play and in coaching?
Thanks again for your tips and I look forward with interest for your reply.
James, I know of Malta, my wife has worked there and thinks of it as one of the most beautiful places she’s been. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get there together. Moving on to the questions, many keepers who have not played in body armour find it to be stiff when they first play in it. The padding that prevents injury, especially along the inside of the arms, can be restrictive. The padding will loosen up with time and use. You can accelerate the process by simply bending the arms. If you’re sitting around, take the arms and just bend them like you would if you were wearing the pads. Usually, it’s just a matter of getting used to them. As far as coaching resources in Europe, several of the different national hockey associations offer player/coaching development courses. www.fieldhockey.com has a links section from a club in the Netherlands that has addresses for many of the associations as well as a number of other resources. I know the English Hockey Association offers a number of courses and you might contact them directly. Good luck and let me know how you make out.