Warming up the Dutch way

Another article on warming up, this time focusing on the Dutch method. If you are going to do it, make sure your shooter knows what they’re doing, as I’ve heard a few horror stories!

Before every game, you should complete a warm-up with a shooter to get ready for the upcoming match. It is important to get a good warm up as it will affect your game. If you are alert and ready having done a successful warm-up then you will be able to stop shots in the first few minutes of the match, whereas if you are not prepared, the chances are you won’t do so well. When warming up you should focus on getting your feet moving and watching the ball into the save; copying what will happen during the actual game.



Getting warm

It is important that you warm up before you do a proper warm up! Your body needs to be ready for action, otherwise you could end up pulling a muscle before you have even started. Going for a jog before you stretch is a good idea as it will get your blood pumping and warm up your muscles.



Before you start taking any shots, it is important that you stretch your body, so that you don’t get injured during the game. Work on stretching your body from top to bottom; you can begin with your neck and shoulders, arms, then move down to your legs, doing the splits as well (if you need), before doing floor stretches for the back etc. Once you have stretched properly, you can pad up. It is also possible to do stretches in your kit to help.


Warming up without the helmet

In Holland and Belgium, most goalkeepers warm up without their helmet on, for low shots (I have also seen it done in France, with Julian Thuram of St Germain HC doing it at the EHL). The idea is that you get a better look at the ball, which helps with making eye contact and tracking the shot into the save. By practising this before the match, it will help you make saves with good eye contact; making saves by watching the ball into your equipment. Make sure that the person knows what they are doing, so you don’t get hurt. Before you start facing raised shots, put your helmet back on, unless the shooter is accurate enough with their shots!



Starting low

It is important to start low with the shots to get your foot moving. Your feet are central to making saves; they provide the movement to get into position and are also part of how you balance for a good balance system when stopping shots (you need to have good balance to help control the rebound). Have the shooter take shots at your feet to begin with so you can work on turning away shots with your kickers. Slow paced shots to the sides will also help you with movement; moving across to block the shot in time.



Shots to the corners

Taking shots to the corners will help you stretch your muscles. This is important if you like making splits saves, or play on a weaker team where you have to make a lot of scrambling saves and could end getting injured by pulling a muscles. By having to stretch, you are forcing your muscles to extend and warming them up for these types of saves. Get the shooter to shoot to the sides, wide of your body, so that you have to push far into the save.



Raised shots

Now is probably the time to put your helmet back on! Again, it is important to practise facing raised shots because you are likely to see them during the game. Have the team mate shoot shots high enough to get the ball with your gloves; around stomach/shoulder, body height. If you want to stretch and extend to reach the ball, then you can get them to shoot outside the body and around head height, so you have to work for it.



The team warm-up

Once you have warmed up, you are now ready to get involved in the team warm-up. Even though they are not geared towards the goalkeeper, you still need to give 100% effort. Concentrate on making every save; focus on the ball, have a good stance and make sure you stop the ball. Team warm-ups are also a good time to talk with your team mates and work out routines, like during penalty corners; working out the defence.


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:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt8Eep46xEw (ignore the stance, but rough idea of technique)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybG_VzJ7KU0 (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.


Watch and learn off other goalkeepers

Been pretty busy lately and will be this year, so unfortunately can’t post as much as I’d like. Nothing spectacular, but a basic concept about how to learn by watching other goalkeepers (generally of the higher levels!).

Ever wondered what the best way to learn about how to play in goal is, without being coached or learning by game experience? Well, the simplest answer, is to watch someone else! You can learn a great deal simply by watching another game after your match has ended or watching game highlights over the Internet.

Don’t just be an observer!

Firstly, you need to ‘participate’ in the game. If you just watch what happens and don’t absorb the reason for the goals and a team conceding and losing, then you won’t learn how to prevent that happening in your own games. You don’t want to be a passive passenger to the game, but actively think about and mentally remember what the causes for the goals were. It may sound sad, but taking notes of the game and the goalkeepers (especially easier if you’re watching highlights over the Internet because you can make notes on your computer/laptop!) will help you to keep track of the things you have learnt.

Act like a scout

The best way to watch a game is to watch it as if you were scouting for the best goalkeeper there (out of the two playing). The mindset to have is to think like a scout. Imagine you’re the goalkeeping coach for the international team and you’re looking to add depth to the squad or want to decide on who your first choice will be for an upcoming tournament. I have actually been at a game two years ago where there was a scout doing exactly that and noticed what they were looking at (even if I failed to politely ask a few questions!!). Note: I wasn’t the one being scouted!! I was just watching!

Don’t just scout just watch the goalkeeper you follow or are rooting for, but also the opposition goalkeeper at the other end. You may miss out on exciting battles in the midfield, but your focus is after on the keeper and how they work with their defenders. When watching any game, try to keep track of both goalkeepers and evaluate who was the best. Goalkeeping duels are always fun to watch!

What to look for

When watching any game, there are certain things you want to look for. Focus mainly on the successes and failures to isolate what is good about their ‘game’ and what is bad about it:

  • What the goalkeeper does well – if they make significant saves to turn the game around and when they make the save e.g. an important, timely save to keep the game tied
  • The goals the goalkeeper allows (if they do!) and why – think about the reasons i.e. over active in their D and straying too far from their starting line…

What to listen for

Watching is not the only thing you can be doing. You can also listen in on the action and work out what the goalkeeper is saying to his team mates; what changes they are calling for etc. Knowing how a goalkeeper interacts with their defence will help you improve on your own skills in organising your team.

What to analyse

You can also analyse more deeply the things they are doing. In terms of technical skills try to apply what you’ve been taught (or what you know from experience if you don’t have a coach) and see how the goalkeepers are acting in relation to that. Sound technical goalkeepers should make few mistakes.

Here are some ideas:

  • How the goalkeeper controls rebounds
  • When the goalkeeper takes command of the situation instead of letting his defence deal with it (such as coming off the post to tackle)
  • How the goalkeeper positions themselves in their ready stance
  • How quickly the goalkeeper recovers after a low save

Where to watch games

The best action is obviously going to be watching it in person, so if you are lucky enough to live close to top division national league hockey, then go and watch a game at the weekend (in England most national league games are played or have been played on a Sunday, with everyone else mainly playing Saturdays, so there’s no excuse!)! When I wasn’t playing, I would go down and watch East Grinstead or my home club Oxted. If possible, try and make it to international games (some nations will also play friendlies, such as England’s series of friendlies last year) to really get a feel for the highest level of the game.

The Internet

If you can’t get to high level games because you aren’t local, then the Internet is your friend. Here’s a few links to some prominent websites that have highlight footage of games:


YouTube is another great place to look for hockey highlights to watch and learn from. Hockey nations like Holland, where matches are televised, will consistently upload videos. Do a search for a team you know, like HGC of the hoofdklasse and you should be able to find some matches.

For example:


Warming up

Warming up is an essential part of a pre-game routine. By warming up properly, you will be ready to go as soon as the whistle is blown.

Warming up is an essential part of getting ready before a game, so that the goalkeeper is prepared to deal with whatever the opposition throws at them. Without it, the goalkeeper would basically go into the game ‘cold’ without having done any preparation (making it easier to get injured). It would be like sitting an exam without having done any revision – you can’t expect to do well! By warming up, you make sure that your body is efficiently warmed up and you are mentally ready to stop shots, having just stopped some practise shots (in real life, it is harder to simply start stopping shots immediately after the game has started because you are not ready).

Top level goalkeepers are fortunate enough to have goalkeeper specific coaches who know how to work their goalkeepers properly. If you get to watch the pre-match practise before EHL games or international matches, you’ll be lucky enough to see the ‘professional’ and proper way of doing it; focusing on getting the goalkeeper ready for the game by building up the level of focus. Warming up is all about reaching the optimum level; peaking in time for the match, so that you are at your most alert and during the game.

Obviously it’s not a perfect world and not all of us are blessed with an understanding team or coach who will give us a proper warm-up. Warm-ups in some teams normally constitute players just smashing the ball at you for a bit before the game starts! This is not the best way to prepare for a game, but can be resolved if you apply a proper approach and talk to your team mates about the importance of it.

Talk to your team

Sometimes teams can be a bit lax on giving their goalkeeper a good warm-up, but being the most important member of the team (they can’t win without you!), you should be able to bargain yourself a deal. In order to get the best out of a warm-up and the time you have before the match, you need to communicate with your team about your needs. A chat to the captain to sort out arrangements will help things along. Having someone that is free to work with you is important, so try and find a member of the team who’d be happy to warm you up.

When to warm up

Warming up before a game is not the only time when you should warm up properly. There are other times when it is just as important to get an adequate warm up:

Before training

It is also important to warm up before training. The saying goes that . In order to make the most of training, you need to have had a good warm up to be able to put up a good percentage of shot stopping. Whilst the players are warming up before drills, you can take a player aside to get them to take shots at you. It might be possible to work with other goalkeepers; that way you can do more specific practise, like kicking to each other.

Between halves

If you watch international matches you will also notice that the goalkeepers will often warm up at half time, or just before the restart. Goalkeepers, like players, need to be warmed up to achieve peak performance. In the recent Champions Trophy games, I saw Korea’s goalkeeper warming up between halves to prepare for the second half. If you can, it is a good idea to get warm for the second half of the game; prepared to be in the action as soon as a shot comes your way.

Warming up on your own

Unfortunately sometimes your team isn’t kind enough to let you get a good warm up before they start drilling shots at you. If this is the case, then you will have to make do with warming up on your own. On the other hand, if you have kitted up and have some time to yourself between taking shots in the team warm-up, then you can use it wisely.

Here are some ideas:

  • Take a spare ball and find a suitable place where you can practise kicking by kicking the ball back and forth to yourself
  • Do some agility drills; doing foot work patterns to work on your shuffles and changes in direction
  • Hand-eye co-ordination work; making sure you track the ball, you can do this by bouncing a ball off your glove/stick and trying to keep it up for as long as possible

Warm-up routine

Having a set routine is important to helping you warm up your body and mind. No matter the pitch or conditions (obviously playing away from home you will come across different pitch conditions), your routine will be the same and help you find a comfortable centre to help you relax.

The following is a routine generally used by international level goalkeepers:

  • warm up generally (i.e. running, footwork) and stretch for about 15 minutes (working your entire body from head to toe, covering all areas)
  • put on your lower padding (jock and shorts), kickers and pads and do further stretching
  • start to bring in ball work, with players slowly knocking shots at the kickers, or throwing the ball lightly at you for you to block
  • pad up completely, speeding up the shot and increasing the power
  • work on shots around the body for you to reach in to cover
  • round off the warm-up with some specific shots to work the reflexes; often quick-fire from balls lined in a row
  • finish and enter the team drills of full stick and ball work and short corner practise


  • Before you do the warm up, it is a good idea to go on a jog. This will help warm your muscles and increase blood flow.
  • It is a good idea to start your warm up early, so you have enough time to be , before the team want to start taking shots at you in their drills. You therefore need to get there earlier than the team, or at least be ready early (when the team goes off on a jog to warm themselves up). 10-15 minutes is a good length of time to give you enough time to pad up and warm up.

Taking shots

The work out of taking shots needs to be progressive; starting off slowly and building up ball speed and power progressively. Distance affects your ability to react and stop a shot (the further away it is, the more time you have to react), so by starting with shots from a distance you can start out easily. You can then decrease the distance, having the shooter taking shots at least five feet away and reducing the distance again so that you have less time to react to the shot and work on quickening your reflexes.

Some teams normally have goalkeepers warm up away from the team in the corner/side of the pitch, as they jog and do basic stick work. Otherwise, if the goal is free, then you can go in the goal and practise from there; making it easier to focus on goals and prioritise .

Starting low

When taking warm-up shots to get your muscles working and blood flowing, you should start low. This allows you to get your body moving; stepping onto the angle and pushing into the save. As well as working on your angles and reaching out with your foot to block, it is also working on your footwork; getting you to work on moving across to get on the angle. Try to get equal shots to each side so that you work on equally practising possibilities of real in-game shots.

Shots in the corners

Taking shots to the corners is a good way of making yourself extend into the shot; forcing you to stretch out and try to reach the ball. By being having to extend into the save, you are stretching your muscles, which can become torn when making athletic saves to stretch across; if you end up facing few shots in the game. If the goalkeeper is warming up inside the goal, then the shooter should target the corners. If they are warming up outside the goal, then shots wide and outside their body will do the trick.

Raised shots

It is a good idea to work on raised shots as well. Again, start slow and then build up speed and power. To get a better work out, ask the shooter to get as high as reasonably possible, so you have to reach and/or jump up to block a lob. Having shots wide of you will also force you to stretch to reach the ball and even possibly high dive in to reach; forcing you to be active in your save making (i.e. as you may face such a shot on short corner drag flicks). Try to work each side, working your right hand as well as your glove to practise shot blocking with your RHP.

Have a good warm up!

Ultimately, a key part of game success is having a good warm up; building up to the optimum level and then maintaining it throughout the match. By warming up in this way, it helps you find a comfort zone and ease the pressure of facing a shot from the get go. Having warmed up properly, if you were to face a shot within the first few minutes of the match, it would not come as much of a shock because you had already practised and faced some similar shots beforehand.

Shots outside the D

For a shot to be a goal it needs to be scored within the D. If a shot is taken from outside the D and no-one touches it within the D, then it won’t count as a goal. By leaving it, you will give your team a 16 and the chance to restart play to their advantage.

When a shot is taken outside the D and it is not touched by anyone within the D, then your team will get to restart play with a 16 (free hit from the 25). For example, a failed pass that has gone through your defence with no-one on the opposition to get on the end of it, or if and your defence has chosen to leave it (so that it can go off the pitch for a free hit). Instead of kicking it away, straight back into play, you can essentially ‘leave it’ to give your team a sixteen; the rules of the game mean that your team will restart the play after the ball has gone off the pitch.

Ball into the D untouched

Instead of stopping balls that make there way through the D without an opposition player touching the ball, you can leave it for a 16. The rules state that if an opposition player does not touch the ball inside the D, there is no connection, meaning that your team gets a free hit. Shots outside the D don’t count as goals. It is therefore a good idea to take advantage of this, to give you team control of the play; restarting play from a free hit. Learning to leave the ball in this way will benefit your team by giving them the chance to start breakouts, instead of giving the other team a chance to score from your mistakes.

Letting the ball past you

If a shot taken outside the D is untouched and does not get redirected within the D, then, your team will be able to restart the play from the sixteen. A sixteen will be given, so you can let the ball hit the backboard, with your team gaining a free hit. Therefore, if a shot is taken and there are no opposition players within the D with a chance of touching the ball, you can happily leave it and let it go off the pitch.

Remember: any shots outside the D aren’t goals, so leave it for a 16!

Tracking the ball

You need to track the ball all the way through until it is off the pitch; just like you watch and follow a shot into the save. In case you are not paying full attention and another player moves into the D when you weren’t looking, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the ball to make sure nothing goes wrong. Watch the ball’s path; tracking the ball to see if any other opposition player gets on the end of it, just in case, and also to ensure that it goes safely off the pitch without getting touched. Afterwards, go and collect the ball to give to your defender to restart the play from the sixteen.

Moving out the way

In order to successfully play the situation to make sure the ball goes off for a sixteen, you need to move out of its way. As you get more experienced and improve your technique, you can soon pick up the ability to ‘dummy’ any players by pretending to kick it; stepping out to “meet” the ball, before dodging its path, before letting it roll off the pitch, or into goal, without touching it. This way you fool the player and make sure it goes off at the same time.

  • Move out the way: simply step or shuffle out of the ball’s path, which gives you the further option of being able to watch and track where it ends up
  • Lift the appropriate leg up and out of the way;
  • Jump out the way; jumping up and over the ball as


  • Make sure you move out of the ball’s way
  • If you do touch the ball, accidentally, then you need to kick it away, as the sixteen will no longer count because you (a player) have touched it.

Turning round

There is always a danger that the ball could hit the post and go back into play. By turning round, you can check that the ball does not hit the post and ‘stays safe’; ending up hitting the backboard. If it did hit the post, then you can easily get behind the ball to kick it away from danger, so that an attacking player can’t get to it. Act instantly and rush to get behind the ball (to block if needs be), or kick it away as far as possible to a safe area.

Rule of thumb

    • If in doubt, kick it out!

Tips and deflections

There is still often the chance of a player running into the D and getting on the end of the pass to redirect it. If they get a touch on the ball, even the slimmest, and it goes past you, then it will still count as a goal. If you are worried about a goal being scored and can’t tell if , then you can follow the maxim of “kicking it out if in doubt”. If a deflection does occur then make sure you close off holes in your stance (i.e. bringing your legs together and bringing your gloves in to help cover) to block the ball.

Being set for the shot

When making a save, you need to be in position in time. If you are still moving, then you can put yourself off balance or turn away from the shot. Instead, it is important to cut down your movement and pre-set for the save.

If you have ever seen a goalkeeper running out in the attempt to get in front of a shot, only to miss the ball and end up allowing a goal, then you will have seen first hand the inability to save on the move; it’s simply just not possible to move a limb to block whilst moving at the same time. In contrast, if you stop moving, you will be able to make a balanced save (whereas running would throw you off balance). By limiting your movement (which often involves playing deep within the D and close to the goal line; cutting down the distance you have to move), you are able to get behind the angle and therefore stop the shot successfully. Obviously, though, whenever a breakdown occurs in the defence and the goalkeeper is forced into moving out to challenge and cover space, then you will need to move across.

Still moving

If you are moving with the play, there is very little likelihood that you will actually be able to make the save. Racing out to instantly cut the angles and pressure the shooter, you will normally end up losing balance within your ready stance. Unable to stop within the stance and properly move your legs in order to block the incoming shot, your forward momentum will carry you away from ball and the result will be an allowed goal. Staying up is more advantageous as you cover more of the goal, so you need to find a way to cut down the movement you have to make to get behind the shot.

Effectively, the only time you would purposefully choose to make an active save on the move, is when opting to slide out against the play to block; choosing to play the percentages and cover as much as possible against the shot. Whereas normally you would have no chance of blocking on the move; like moving across laterally against a passing play, which you cannot stop upright as you simply cannot move with the play in time, trying to save with a piece of equipment; forcing you to leave your feet and dive into the save.

Problems surrounding being still ‘on the move’:

  • you are still moving, so cannot stop in time, or stop your momentum, in order to be able to make a save
  • you cannot get set (in your stance, or in relation to your angles and goal positioning), if you are still moving
  • you are unable to properly balance and therefore make a ‘good’ save
  • with your momentum, you are also moving away from the shot, rather than into its path

These problems essentially mean that a successful save is impossible: the chances are in favour of the ball ending up in the goal because of loss of balance and moving away from the shot.


In order to get set in a balanced ready stance on the angle in time, you need to consciously get yourself prepared; getting into position before the shot. Setting before the shot, rather than setting on the shot, or trying to attempt a save whilst still on the move, allows you to make a more efficient save by being balanced in a solid ready position. Properly balanced and prepared for the save you will next have to make, you are in a better position to keep the ball out of the net. Even if you are not on the best angle, you are still ready in your stance; giving you are better chance to make the save, than if you were trying to move onto the angle and still moving when the shot was released.

Notice how the goalkeeper in this picture is in a good position, with a balanced stance, to make a save immediately, if he is forced into action.


  • try to minimise movement; take less steps and cut down on , so you have more time to prepare
  • get set early before the shot is released (e.g. instead of taking another step, stop and get into your stance, so that you are ready)
  • make sure you have a balanced ready stance in order to maximise your chances of making the save
  • always maintain your ready position throughout moving around in the D, so that you are already set in readiness for getting ready for a shot (minimising the time needed to get into a good stance), regardless of whether you end up facing a shot or not

Rule of thumb

– If it is a point shot you are facing, then get into a good position and be well balanced before the shot. However, if it is a passing play, then you will need to be agile to get across in time.

In essence, you don’t want to over step: still moving means that you are not ready for the save, so by being precise and conservative with your movements, you are more capable of shot stopping by simply arriving on time as it were to meet the shot – being in the right place at the right time for a successful save.

Get set!

Ultimately, you need to pre-set for shots when you are seeing straight shots at you. If you are faced with a 2 on 0, then you need to react to get across to block the ball on the pass. You need to consciously think about getting set, so that you are always moving with the play; ready to get into the correct position against the incoming shot. Try to play a smaller D so that you have less to do; moving less and being able to get on the angle quicker. Maintain a balanced ready stance all the time, so that your task is made easier by being already prepared for the save.

Lateral movement

Moving in shuffles is an essential part of getting around the D; staying in front of the play where you can block, rather than being side-on and turned away from goal.

Lateral movement (side to side) is the key area of movement around the circle. Think of your movement area as a mini semi-circle of the larger D you play in; this is the space you need to cover to protect your goal. By moving sideways, you can change your angle against the opposition; moving across to deal with the new attacker as the pass is made.



Shuffling is the essential form of movement for a goalkeeper to move across the face of goal. If you watch soccer goalkeepers, the move is very similar; basically, it is sidestepping across to the side you wish to move to. When pushing across from the pushing foot (depending on your left or right direction), make sure your keep in your ready stance, holding your hands up ready for a shot.










The following diagram illustrates the shuffle off the right foot moving to the right (the shuffle is a sideways movement, with you moving left or right to move into the space to your side):




Closing holes

With the shuffle opening up a large space between the open legs when moving, a lot of keepers (up to the pros; Stephen Lambert is a good example, and you could find footage of him actively doing this, playing for Australia in the recent Olympics). This closing off of open space when moving makes sure you have no space showing, in case of a shot; when facing a screen or in-close action when facing goal mouth scrambles, or when facing a deflection as you move across goal – more important in higher levels when shooters like to go for this area, as it is easy to expose.


When pushing across, lead the back leg into the lead leg, in order to close gaps by pushing to lock the pads together, or be as close as possible to block. This extra coverage against shots, with the security of no gaps. However, comes at the cost of movement (since it slows you down when moving to force your legs together, which can be costly when moving with speed against the play is vital). So if you’ve got to dash across the D to get back into space, then you have to balance the importance of speed, by ignoring the need to cover gaps and sacrifice coverage for extra movement.




Moving around your D

Moving around your D is just as important as controlling it; if you’re not moving into position every time the ball moves, you’re not going to be into position to make the save. Shuffling is the main vehicle for moving around, for sideways movement across the D and between attackers, but don’t rule out running sideways, backwards or forwards – how else are you going to charge down the shot, or rush back to fill up space?


Moving with the play

To be able to react to the play’s development and be ready to make an immediate save when called upon, you have to constantly be moving with the play itself. With the change in pace and direction, you have to be adapting your position to match. If you are not and caught unawares, you make the opposition’s life all too easy; not being set on the angle and leaving a wide open net to shoot at.


Moving constantly to re-position in the arc (that has been talked about in previous articles; http://blog.obo.co.nz/2009/05/18/the-arc-around-goal/) will dramatically improve your shot stopping and ability to play the angles to your advantage, instead of being forced into a difficult save as the ball moves into the open space you were not ready for.




Focus on the ball

You can arrange your movements by where you are in relation to where the ball is; moving with the ball to keep up with the scoring chances and angles for incoming shots. Your head should be on a swivel, constantly checking to see where the ball is, in case a long pass or run has been made, and then moving your body to adapt to the change in play; kind of like a turkey in a farmyard!


When the ball gets past your half way line you can relax, but once it’s over the line and an attack can easily appear out of nowhere you need to be ‘switched on’ and alert; ready to spring into action.

Finding The post

Sometimes when moving around goal and focusing on the play around you, you can forget where you are in relation to the post and lose your angles; ‘tapping’ the post is a simple way of getting round this.

To help you gage where you are when you cialis 5mg move on or off the post, you can use your hands effectively to help you out: the further you are away from the post, the further you have to reach back to find out where you are in relation to the goal and your angles. Once you’ve found the goal post, you should be able to step backwards successfully onto the post, ready to cut off a possible shot. This allows you to reset your angles and set your positioning for a potential save or block: aware of where you are in relation to the amount of net space you cover (by standing over or away from the post) according to the expected shot; ready to move off, into a save off and outside the post, if the shooter decides to target that area instead.


Knowing your angles is essential to finding your whereabouts in order to move around the posts in order to make saves. If you happen to watch GB’s current no. 1, Alistair MacGregor of Loughborough Students, you’ll notice this is a technique he has perfected down to a tee.


‘Tapping’ the posts

When moving off your glove side goal post to step out into the play, you can reach back and out with your glove arm; tapping the post with your glove to check your positioning in relation to the goal. Just like soccer goalkeepers that ‘punch’ the post with the side of their bunched up fist, or tapping with their fingers, you can tap the inside post with top of your glove, or push against it with your palm. You can basically ‘feel’ your way around to work out where you should be standing. This way, you are able to find where you are in relation to the post (and goal in general) and then reset your angles accordingly to deal with the action around you.




For movement onto and off your right post, you can use a similar technique to find the goal post with your stick; swinging it round to tap against the post to check the line of angle. Like ice hockey goalies who regularly tap their posts to check their bearings, you can use your stick actively; pushing out to tap the post. Check the noise made; the louder, the better. Theoretically, the louder the sound is, the closer the post is (helpful if you are too busy focusing on the play to look at the post itself), whereas the quieter it is, the further away the post is. The distance you have to reach out with the stick will also tell you how far you are from the post – if you have to extend the stick to reach it, then you are too far away from it.




First picture comes from England Hockey; the second is supplied by Alex Master’s action photos – www.alex-masters.com