Keeper Stop Motion

A very clever video put together by Dutch goal keeper Anne Veenendaal. Using 248 still pictures of every movement Anne was able to create a movie that showed a goal keeper magically being dressed in OBO gear.

A very clever video put together by Dutch goal keeper Anne Veenendaal. Using 248 still pictures of every movement Anne was able to create a movie that showed a goal keeper magically being dressed in OBO gear.

Anne plays for Amsterdam with my good friend Emily Hurtz and was kind enough to let me post this video of her. I hope you enjoy it

Keeper Stop Motion Video

A Few Words from Rach Lynch

My views on the relationship between team goalkeepers have naturally been shaped by experiences throughout my career and the influence of people I have played with and been coached by.

My views on the relationship between team goalkeepers have naturally been shaped by experiences throughout my career and the influence of people I have played with and been coached by.

The psychology of goalkeeping is multidimensional. It’s not an easy position by any means and the mental game can often be more important than any physical or technical aspect. I decided to explore the topic of competition and the relationship between team goalkeepers.
Goalkeepers spend more time together than any other position on the field. You know the ins and outs of that person, their technique, their weaknesses, their preferences, how they call, what gear they prefer and so on. Just like in a work place you must be able to work well with this person or it will become a very uncomfortable environment.

Other than at a junior level, most teams will have two goalkeepers. In some clubs, training academies and at the top level, there are anywhere from two to five goalkeepers competing for one spot. Unlike other field positions there can only be one goalkeeper on the field at a time. Some coaches may play a different goalkeeper each half but generally one keeper plays. The rules of hockey state that 18 players can be listed for each game and due to the chance of injury usually two goalkeepers will be picked.
ash n i
In a training environment it is a good thing to have more keepers as it keeps things competitive. You can push each other. If you are training by yourself you can become lazy and complacent which is never good for a team. I have been fortunate enough to have played my whole international career with exceptional goalkeepers. When I first debuted for Australia I was playing alongside Rachel Dwyer (nee Imison) who is someone I have idolised ever since I started keeping. She taught me many things in the five years we played together for Victoria and Australia, not just hockey wise but also about how to be a well rounded athlete and person. Rach was an extremely professional athlete who pushed herself to the limit with everything she did and was never afraid to share her knowledge and help others along the way. It would have been very easy for her to keep it all locked away knowing I was competing for her spot but this was not the case. If she saw an opportunity to teach me something she took it and I really admired her for that. Rach retired after 2008 and will always be known as one the best keepers the world has ever seen.
rach n i

The dynamics amongst the Australian women’s goalkeeping group has certainly changed and evolved over the eight years I have been involved. Usually in the Australian squad we train as a group of three or four keepers. During those eight years I have spent my fair share of time on the bench or left back at home while the team tours. In 2008 I did not play a single game before the Olympics and in 2012 only played three, yet I trained day in day out with the two other keepers who were getting picked- It was very difficult! But I have been on both sides of the spectrum and so it is these times that make you really appreciate your selection and strive to be better. You learn very quickly that non-selection is not something you can blame the other goalkeeper for. You will be angry and disappointed yes but if you have any bitterness towards the other keeper then you will never be able to train and work harmoniously.
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As with all team sports you must keep in mind what is best for the team. There will be times where you may be in the form of your life yet still do not get picked. Here is when you can take comfort in the fact that you have pushed the other keeper to be better and the decision made by the coach is in the best interest of the team.
My view on it all: it is about having respect for the other keepers, helping each other learn and improve but never losing that competitive drive to be the best. The hours you put in on the training track gets you in the best shape and form possible so that when the time comes to play you are ready. If on that day you are not picked’ then the priority becomes supporting the keeper or keepers who are, whilst ensuring you are ready to go should the situation change.

Id love to hear others thoughts on the topic. Please feel free to share them below 🙂

Bianca Russell’s choice of kit

Each and every keeper has different reasons for why they use certain pieces of OBO kit. We thought it would be nice for you guys to see and discuss what New Zealand goalkeeper Bianca Russell uses and why she chooses it.

Each and every keeper has different reasons for why they use certain pieces of OBO kit. We thought it would be nice for you guys to see and discuss what New Zealand goalkeeper Bianca Russell uses and why she chooses it.

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Q: List of Gear you use and why?

Everything on top is OBO, everything underneath is Mizuno – why? Because it’s the best. Oh, and believe it or not, I wear a possum fur belt in cooler weather by Nature Support to keep my back toasty and warm, otherwise I’ll get stiff and sore!

Carbon helmet – worth the extra weight for the supreme protection.

Robo armour – light, good fit, non-restrictive.

Robo shorts and overshorts – tried and true you won’t get more mobility than this and they are more slimming than clown pants!

Robo custom logo pads and kickers – I go for hi control kickers for best control, protection and durability. They sit nicely over Mizuno Wave Ascend shoe – I’m often asked what shoe I use and why. This one is actually an off-road runner. It has a low centre of gravity and multidirectional grip allowing me to take off quickly – no slipping.

Stick, I’ve tried a few but gone back to the OBO fat boy, mainly because with the lighter sticks I started ‘waving’ at the ball and on occasion leaked goals against the men strikers purely because they hit the ball so hard, lighter sticks rely on wrist strength to stop the shot whereas heavier sticks all you have to do is get in the path of the ball with the right angle to control the ball nicely over the baseline. The depth of the fat boy also allows for sweep clearances without snagging the turf grain.

Under all the OBO kit I’m outfitted by Mizuno and typically use mid-thigh bike shorts, any shirt so long as it’s light and quick-dry fabric but often compression gear in winter or when I’m needing the muscle recovery.

What do you use and why?

Always Helping

Tour Update: Champions Challenge GOLD

The Hockeyroos have won GOLD at the Champions Challenge tournament in Ireland after beating the USA in the final 6-1. The tour was a very successful one for us. We came here to win and dominate the tournament but more than that, it was about playing well and putting all the skills and tactics together that we have been working on all year. This tournament was crucial for us! Our win here means qualification in the 2014 Champions Trophy and also a rise in our world ranking. Both of which have a huge impact on the future of the Hockeyroos.

The Champions Challenge started off well for us with 3 solid wins in the round games. Our game against India, who we play often, was a very strong game for us as we managed to put away 8 goals. Belgium and Wales are teams we don’t often face which means we have limited knowledge of how they play. Watching video and researching teams is a big part of our preparation and we are lucky to have access to hours and hours of game footage from games and tournaments all over the world. Every game we play is filmed and coded so we can view old games against certain opposition with the click of a button. Of course the main aim when approaching a match is to focus on our game plan but knowing your opponents does help a lot. I certainly have never played Wales during my career and not Belgium for a long time. European teams also bring a different set of skills. Belgium for example have a girl who can rip a slider better than anyone in the world. This is a powerful and very deceptive type of pass/shot. I was a victim to this slider in our first game against Belgium but luckily managed to save two before she got one passed. We comfortably won the game 4-1. Wales were our third opponent and certainly put up a good fight. It wasn’t until the last five minutes that we secured the win with two goals. Emily Hurtz played a stunning game scoring 3 of our 4 goal total. A hat trick in any sport at any level is a pretty cool achievement.

Our finals campaign started with a quarter final against South Africa which was a tough match. Having faced them recently at the Olympics in an equally tight match the team was feeling reasonably confident but equally a little nervous as with all finals. We prepared as we always do; breakfast, team walk and a stretch in the morning, lunch, pre game meeting then put the tunes on and start getting ready. Music is a big part of our preparation and tune selection is very important 😛

We played well against SA and created numerous scoring opportunities. They threatened us on just a few occasions so 2-1 was not a great scoreline but in a final you take a win no matter what the score. Our semi final was quite similar. We played Scotland who put up a good fight but thankfully our twin towers (Jodie Schulz and Anna Flanagan) both slotted a drag flick each to win the game 2-0.

Of courses it hasn’t all been about hockey. We have had a bit of time to explore Dublin, find some nice local coffee shops and go for some walks. Naturally, being the age we are, the internet consumes most of our time. My roomie Jade Close and I have tried to start a ‘no phone at meal time’ revolution but as you will see in the photo below it has not really taken off. Our excuse is that we like to stay connected and admittedly most of the time we are either skyping home or chatting to friends and family on Whatsapp. Oh and there is Twitter, facebook and blogs like the one you are reading. Ah well, its all good fun.

How it all ended:

Australia reclaimed their place at the top table with a comprehensive victory over USA to claim the big prize, the Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge 1 title, along with a place back in the Champions Trophy. In a 6-1 thrashing the Aussies controlled the game certainly outclassed a spirited US side.

Thanks as always for following and for the support. Bye for now




7TH Ind v Wal 4:0
5th RSA v Bel 1-2
3rd Sco v Ire 2-2 (IRE won 4-3 on penalties)
1st AUS V USA 6-1

The Vic girls

Trying to stay warm at the hockey

Trust, trust, trust

Trust, trust, trust. Trust in yourself, trust in the coaching staff, and trust that you are doing exactly what you should be doing.

I was so grateful for the Olympic experience that I had. I have been playing hockey at this level for 12 years, and this is the first time I have been to a tournament as the only goalkeeper. Before the tournament I thought that maybe it would be a lonely time, mainly before and after games, but it wasn’t. The times that I had to myself were good for mental preparation.

The extra pressure that I normally put on myself about whether or not I will play the next game was eliminated. I could just play and for me that worked. I was the best prepared I have ever been. I have had many experiences over my career both good and hard, and all were a driving force to get me prepared for the Olympics. This also fuelled my determination to perform to my best during the tournament.

Over the years I have learnt to deal with distractions. Like the distraction of already being a couple of minutes behind in your warm up, walking out from the change room to the pitch and realising once you get out there that you have forgotten your right glove. My on ball warm up can’t start without my right glove. So I asked the girl warming me up, very nicely, if she could run to the change room and get my glove. I just grabbed a ball and started juggling it to warm up while I waited for her. There was no need to make a big scene, I am sure most of the girls and some of the coaching staff didn’t even realise that I left my right glove in the change room. She got back out to the pitch, both of us were very calm and we started the on ball warm up. It was our 3rd game of the Olympics vs USA, I saved a stroke that game and we won 1-0. Being able to deal with distractions both on and off the field is very important.

All the best … Toni

Bianca Russell: Notes Post Olympics

Hi Goalies, here’s a few comments on my personal experience of the Olympics. I hope it inspires you young keepers to train hard and aim for the top so one day you can have an Olympic experience of your own.

London was my first Olympics and given that I’m 34 now, it’s likely to be my only one – but it was definitely worth the wait. We’ve all been in the situation where there’s an incumbent goalie holding top position in a team that means we have to do the ‘bench time’ and wait until they stuff up or retire before you get a chance to play. I think persistence is the key, don’t ever give up, keep pushing them and training hard because one day your time will come.

In preparation for this tournament I took advice handed down from other Olympians both successful and not so much, that had gone before us. We knew what to expect in theory with the hype, the pressure, the public attention that hockey in NZ just doesn’t usually get and the general idea was to separate the hockey tournament from the Olympic ‘event’ as much as possible. I thought I’d just treat the hockey like ‘business as usual’ and then just enjoy the colour and atmosphere of the village and games in general. Good plan but there was a flaw in that I hadn’t factored the hockey side of things to be as intense as it turned out. Every team there had spent the last 4 years building to this campaign. Every team had no doubt trained as hard as we had. Olympic games is every sports pinnacle event and I can honestly say that I just played the most incredible, high quality, full on intensity, enormous pressure games of my life. There’s no more playing with different combinations, trying out structures or patterns, resting players or building for the bigger picture – this is it, this IS the bigger picture. When the first whistle of each game went, I got a tingling – goose bumps sensation because I was so excited to be there. I was distinctly aware that a soft goal or a great save could make or break our whole campaign and that created more pressure on myself to make sure I got it right. I found that focussing on the present moment and endeavouring to keep things simple and go with gut instincts rather than overthink situations was the key to playing well. Communication was key to our defence and something I personally had worked on prior to the games. Because the stadium was so loud I had to scream at full volume to be heard by my own players and I lost my voice almost every game. It’s taken a full 10 (quiet) days to be talking normally and not croaking like a frog.

All the keepers were playing exceptionally high standard and mistakes were rare throughout the competition. Everyone looked sharp in customised kit, great helmet spray designs and all were brimming with energy in the electric stadium atmosphere filled for every match with 16,000 fans. For Olympics, everything is turned up; stadium set up is bigger, brighter, louder, players emotions are clearly visible in their expressions with pure elation for a win and utter heartbreak for a loss. Our team had a ‘have a go’ attitude and it seemed to do well for us. We held nothing back and won the hearts of the people back home. It’s still early days but I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. It’s been the best hockey and most incredible life experience I could have imagined but our 4th placing is hard to swallow and I suspect will haunt me for a long time to come. Overall was it worth all the hard training, early mornings, late nights, injuries, stress and financial hardship that comes with the elite hockey lifestyle? You bet it was! Real life is boring guys. If you fancy international travel, stadium hockey and carrying the pride of your nation as you go – best you get training!

Reflection: The Year 2012

After the high of winning Gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi I knew that I was going to do everything it took to replicate that feeling and achieve the same goal at the Olympics. Gold at London 2012 was my goal, my focus, my dream. I was picked in the Olympic squad late in 2011 and had the process of achieving my dream all planned out. Unfortunately, in sport, things do not always go to plan.

During an olympic year the whole squad is based in Perth and becomes full time athletes meaning we are not allowed to work or study. Our training schedule consists of about 12 or 13 sessions a week plus meetings and recovery so every day is very busy. Our squad is made up of 27 girls including three goal keepers so all year we have been subject to selection for the various tours and international games. Things did not start well for me with the first tour to Argentina being released and my name was not on the sheet. Now I have missed out on teams before. I understand that playing for your country is a privilege you must earn and not a right. I also knew that the only way to ensure it didn’t happen again was to train harder than ever before and leave no stone unturned. So, I spent the next three weeks training hard to get myself in good form and ready for the next trip. We played a series in Perth in which I got a couple of games and did ok. But so did the other keepers. The next big tour was to NZ. We had played 3 games against the USA in Queensland before this selection, one of which was my best game for some time. As a goal keeper, sometimes a single goal can be the difference between winning or losing and getting selected or not selected. Unfortunately letting in two goals in the previous game cost me so again I missed out on the tour. Now it was starting to hurt.

The final tour before the Olympics was the London Cup. On this tour the team would get the opportunity to train on the Olympic pitch and make any final adjustments in tactics and combinations before the Games. I had four weeks of training, practice games and club games to prove myself worthy of a spot on this trip. The training was tough, food was invaluable and sleep was the only way to mend my sore muscles. I gave it everything. Selection time came and Lynch did not appear on the list. I was devastated. I was told I had been training and playing better than they had ever seen but it still was not enough. So for the fifth time this year I had to turn up at training and push myself as hard as I could knowing that may dream was slowly slipping away.

Now this story does not have an ending. Well not yet anyway. This week we were given five days off in order to recover and also be in our desired location when the team was announced. I chose to head up north to Exmouth WA with my brother as it was somewhere I had always wanted to visit and he was the person I wanted to be with on the day. We had a fantastic time!

The team was announced on Sunday and much to my disappointment I was not selected in the 16 or as a reserve. I was devastated but in all honesty I have had several weeks to prepare myself so this time no tears. It is heart breaking but it does not mean an immediate end to this journey as the Olympics are not for another 37 days and up until the first day of the Olympics the team can change. Any injured player can be replaced with someone else from the squad so the group of us that weren’t selected have to keep training and make sure we are ready…just in case. And I can tell you from experience that this is one of the hardest things an athlete will ever have to do. But I vowed to have no regrets and it’s not over ’til it’s over so I will continue to give my all in each and every session until the end.

I love playing hockey and representing my country so I am not about to stop. In sport as in life there is always the chance of failure but the rewards are great so nothing is going to stop me trying.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me along the way. My family are so patient and always there for me, as are my friends. I have the best club, state and national team-mates any one could ever wish for. Thanks to The Butcher Shop Vic Park, Supa IGA Waterford, Dair, Eltham College, OBO, Atlas and Super Advice Services for sticking by me and helping me out this year. And thank you to everyone who reads my posts. I really enjoy writing them and hearing all the feedback so keep the comments and questions coming.

Reflection: The Year 2012 |

Gym training time

Hey keepers,

I am often asked about conditioning training for keepers so here is my 5 cents worth.

I am a goalie not a personal trainer so I recommend you work with a professional to get your technique and program sorted. There is a high risk of injury with some of this training so please seek proper advice; this might help getting your trainer heading in the right direction.

Gone are the days of the keeper being the chubby kid that plays in goal to avoid all the running the field players do, the modern keeper needs to be fast, agile and powerful.

At the same time you don’t make your race horse plough the fields… As a keeper when we move we have to move FAST but I seriously doubt we will ever be running 10km during a game like the top field players.

So how do we become fast, agile and powerful?

The majority of power required for goal keeping will come from the lower body (legs and core), to get this power you will need a reasonable strength base. If you jump straight in to power training without a strength base you will be in danger of breaking down with injuries.

Exercises I have used to build a good strength base are:

Squats – Back or front squats
Lunges – I find step lunges to be the best and mimic keeper movements well

(These two are your bread and butter for a keeper, increase your strength in these areas and you will likely improve as a keeper – simple as that!)

Don’t forget to train your Hamstrings, Glutes, Groin and calves to maintain a balance and avoid injury (60% of gym work is to improve your keeping 40% is injury prevention)

Core strength is the link to transfer all your lower body power to full body power, there is nothing worse than your lower body moving to make a save and your upper body moving in the opposite direction preventing you from making the save.

Once you have a good strength base you can move on to the explosive power training.

Over the years I have tried many things with my conditioning training, one of these was basing most of my gym training on loading up specific keeping/save actions. Looking back I don’t think this type of training helped me too much. I still do the odd exercise that mimics keeper specific movements but it is not the sole focus of my training.

If you are more powerful as an athlete you will be a more powerful keeper.

I have found that Olympic style lifts are a good way of becoming more powerful – Clean and Jerk and the Snatch are the key lifts but these can be broken down to smaller lifts like a high-pull, hanging clean or hanging snatch. I will not get in to the technique of these lifts as they are rather technical and I recommend you seek expert advice to get your technique sorted.

Jump squats are also good but be careful of your knees.

My view is that upper body strength/power is not as important as the lower body for a keeper as most of our saves start with our feet on the ground.

It is good to have reasonable strength through your upper body—the key muscles to target for me are the Chest, Back and Shoulders. Strengthening these areas will help speed up your hand saves, make you faster to your feet after diving plus they should help you handle the knocks better (both from shots and diving).

Again take care in the gym, we go to the gym to become a better keeper not an injured keeper.

Let me know what works for you keepers out there.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them.



Goalkeeper speed work

Two attributes that are very important for all goalkeepers are speed and agility. Being able to move your feet quickly both forward and laterally gives you the best chance of getting into the right position for every shot.

Below is a video I have put together with the help of three of Australia’s greatest men’s goalkeepers. Nathan Burgers, Stephen Lambert and Stephen Mowlam are all inspirations to me, setting the bar so high with their abilities and success at an international level.

The footage is from a session they did back in 2008 in preparation for the Beijing Olympics. The guys are all very quick and coordinated so check out the video and try using these drill suggestions and see if you can get your speed and agility up to this level.

I use ladder drills as a way of getting my legs moving before a game or training so when I get my gear on I know that I will be feeling quick and sharp. It is also a great tool to use during the off season. Please ensure you seek the guidance of a coach or trained professional before trying these drills. As with all exercise, there is risk of injury.

video –

For warm up I like to use a variety of ladder drills but my favourites are:
– Single step in each square
– Two steps in each square
– Two steps in each square with high knees
– Lateral with two steps in each square once each way

This does not take long but make sure each one is done as quick as possible and with good technique

For more ideas have a look at this video I found on youtube…

Goalkeeper speed work |