SP Kit Report by Jimi Lewis of the GB Mens’ Team
– SP Pads.
The new design of pads is absolutely wicked – it combines the ultimate in protection, movement, comfort, technology and last, but by no means the least, STYLE!! I think this design is a giant leap forward, not just for OBO as a company, but for us GK’s too. Although the original style pads were groundbreaking and revolutionised hockey goalkeeping they needed updating and modernising. I found with the old style pad that shots across my body would tend to skid off the pad when I was full stretch, not anymore they don’t, now the flat edge of the pad not only blocks the ball but also guides it away safely to the side. Whoever thought of making the pads half HR and half HC is an absolute GENIUS!! Shots across the body or to side can be deflected away in a totally controlled manner and yet I still get the power and pace off the inside of the pad for the shot that comes down the middle of the goal, you know the 1 that goes through your legs sometimes and makes you look like an idiot!! The new SP pads have even stopped me getting nutmegged so often thanks to the new straight-lined shape of the inside. I’m naturally bowed legged (only slightly) so this coupled with the in and out design of the originals led to me letting a few shots through my legs and cries of “shut those taxi doors” from my team mates, but thankfully those days are long gone and now those shots go out faster than they came in!! Now that’s what I’d call modernisation!!!!
In brief the pads have more surface area to save shots with, no more shots skidding off the pad when at full stretch, I’d like to say ‘no more’ but I‘ll have to be honest and say ‘less’ shots going between the legs (it still happens occasionally, no more blaming the pads now though), a mixture of HC and HR (genius) and still I get the comfort and range of movement that you only get with OBO pads.
– SP Hand Protectors
Although the change to the left hand glove is only to turn it from HC to HR I’ve found that it makes a hell of a difference to how I’m able to clear the ball to safety. Whereas before I either had to play my hand towards the shot to get enough rebound off the glove to direct the ball to a safe area now all I need to do is angle my hand towards where I want the ball to go and glove does the work for me. This makes my job a lot easier as we all know the speeds shots can travel these days (especially with the introduction of composite sticks into our game – whoever thought of that has a lot to answer for!!) which means our reaction time is less so just being able to get your hand to the shot is a hard enough task, let alone then trying to play at it to clear it to safety. So the new left hand glove allows me to concentrate solely on saving the shot safe in the knowledge that the HR design will do the rest for me.
Don’t know if I should mention say what I’m about to say on this site or not, but here goes anyway – I’ve always been a big fan of the TK right hand glove, I’ve always thought it’s design to be almost perfect, it’s only downfalls are you can’t get any movement with your wrist or hand and also when you put your hand to the floor the stick points up to the sky. Not the greatest angle for your stick to be when you’re trying to keep out a 100mph PC strike!!
So it’s with great pleasure that I can tell you that the new OBO SP right hand glove has neither of these design faults and has helped me to save shots that I couldn’t with the old style glove. I like to try to use my stick as an extension of my arm (i.e. keep it at the same angle as my forearm so when I reach for a save with my stick it’s like trying to save with my right hand but only about 18 inches longer. This I feel improves my hand eye co-ordination and reflexes) which means with the new SP glove I now have a big flat surface area to save the ball with and as I don’t where any arm/elbow protection the glove now covers most of my forearm, which is a godsend because it means no more big black and blue bruises up my arm!! The stick angle is very good too and I have no problems getting my stick down to low hits or flicks at PC’s or when smothering 1v1. If you’re a die-hard fan of the old style glove and you’re thinking of changing to the new SP then theirs is only 1 slightly negative factor that I can comment on – hand/wrist movement. Although the SP isn’t in the (here’s that word again) ‘TK’ league of non-movement it is more restrictive than the old style OBO right hand, but given a bit of time/practise (or a swish or 2 of a Stanley Knife) then this problem will soon become no more and leave to enjoy the confidence and ability to save a whole manner of shots with you’re new goalkeeping accessory!
In brief – the right hand gives more surface area to save shots with, more confidence and protection to make those saves, (forgot to mention this – it’s much lighter for quicker hands), but offers a little less movement than the old style.
The left hand gives much more rebound so you can concentrate on getting your hand to the shot and not worry so much about trying to control it to clear or clearing it 1st time.
Enjoy your keeping,
Kisses Jimi Lewis X