Arm Guards or Elbow Guards

Hey guys,

i’m thinking of buying the ROBO body armour and I asked myself a question…and i couldn’t answer it myself so…i thought i would ask for some opinion…

What would you advise…the obo arm guards(that are sold separately)


or the new obo elbow guards


……….i am 14 years old…and i play u16’s club hockey (Pembroke Wanderers) and I am the second choice senior keeper of my school….. The style of play i use is  For short corners I tend to log if its a hit  and i stay up when its a drag. And the odd 1vs.1 I tend to slide… and take the crap out of the player.

What would be the best for me?

Different Arm Pad Set-Ups

With the style of removable arm pads and separate chest pads, rather than a full all-in-one body suit, the goalkeeper has a lot of choice concerning their protection. With the ‘padding down’ style of goalkeeping offering a number of combinations, the goalkeeper can choose how to set up their arm protection in relation to the reflex qualities that freedom of movement allows.

The removable style of arm pads, like Obo’s design, makes it possible and easy to customise protection desired to the goalkeeper’s preferences according to their style of play. Rather than wearing both arm pads for full protection, there are a number of different combinations to allow greater flexibility in fluid saving movements, or that extra mobility to make reflex saves when reacting to an unexpected change of angle, like during a tip-in deflection. Suiting the goalkeeper’s style of save making, the different set-ups give various advantages to aid in their shot stopping abilities.

Right arm padded only

This concept has the goalkeeper removing the arm pad from the left arm, for full movement (useful for defending against well placed quick shots, like fast drag flicks and hard, well struck shots), but keeping the right arm padded for full protection. It is based on the theory of the right arm being used to block shots (being placed behind the stick to cover, on raised shots, if the ball is missed) and spending most of the time on the floor, so therefore needs protecting – when going down in a log, or sliding out to tackle/block, only the right arm will be on the ground. Dropping the arm completely down to be flat and fully connected with the pitch, for covering the shot along the floor opens up the gaps above and below the elbow, which would not be protecting by elbow pads. The arm pad therefore provides full protection, when fully extending the arm on a low save.

With the right side therefore not needing to be so ‘reflexive’ (bringing the glove/stick in to block), only the left arm is uncovered. Even elbow pads can be somewhat restrictive (especially if they are tightly strapped over the arm), so to gain full movement in reflex saves to the glove side, the glove arm is not protected to allow total freedom for the arm and elbow joint muscles to move. This way, the goalkeeper can actively make unrestricted athletic glove saves reaching across, without the stiff arm pad to limit movement.

This style of upper body protection has been fairly popular with the crop of New Zealand’s international goalkeepers; Paul Woolford used it during his whole international career, as did his replacement Kyle Pontifex for a short while. It is quite popular in Germany, with a number of Bundesliga goalkeepers using the set-up, as well as being used by Dutch keepers. There are also a couple of keepers in the Spanish male Divisio D’Honor (like the Club de Campo goalie) using it for its gained movement to the glove side.

It is currently growing in popularity in South America as the general method of protection. Argentina’s number 1 women’s keeper, Maria Belen Succi, and the second men’s keeper both use the set-up, whilst it is growing in use in Chile; with their men’s keepers using it. It is also popular in the junior ranks; with the junior Argentinian goalkeepers using it in the recent Junior World Cups.


Right arm pad, left elbow

With arm pads being bulky and weighted, the goalkeeper can often be handicapped by the thick padding on the left arm, needing to be able to move around more fluidly for reactive glove saves in the reflex style of field hockey goalkeeping. Requiring extra manoeuvrability to power away rebounds in a directed clearance away from the body, arm pads don’t always give optimum movement, so an elbow pad is worn instead. However, the left arm can still be vulnerable to dodgy shots because of

goal mouth scrambles and close-in tips; going down athletically to block with the body, so the elbow pad is often worn to protect the bone and surrounding joints.

The elbow pad on the left arm offers a more suitable alternative to an arm pad on the glove side; protecting the elbow from a shot without fully limiting the ability for reflexive and reactive saves around the body and sides. With the elbow covered, only the forearm and the bicep area above the elbow (which is fleshy and less at risk to breaking, if a shot did pin the goalkeeper there) are in potential danger, thus ensuring the goalkeeper is protected enough for game action. The arm pad left on the right arm enables the goalkeeper to happily make more angle and ‘body’ saves; using it for blocking with an active barrier, knowing the arm is potentially well protected from harm.

This method is quite rare, with not too many goalkeepers using it. Currently, the Austrian mens’ goalkeeper was seen using it at the recent Rabo EuroHockey Nations Championships tournament (for World Cup qualification), whilst there is at least one goalkeeper in the Irish national league using the arm pad and elbow set-up. It is also taught and slightly popular in Australia; Stephen Mowlam was known to wear it when logging in a short corner defence.


Both elbows

An alternative method to wearing a full arm pad, which enables freer movement at the wrists and shoulders (the turning points of the arm, for those ‘twitch’ actions to make a last moment reaction save, which are often infringed with arm pads too stiff to provide the full range of amount), giving the greatest amount of freedom, bar wearing nothing, is to wear elbow pads on both arms. In comparison to wearing full arm padding, the reduced amount of coverage also results in decreased weight for the goalkeeper to carry, meaning they are not as weighed down as much for moving into reaching saves. The goalkeeper is not completely infringed from moving the arm fully, for reflex saves, and is also covered against the chances of being in the vicinity.

Elbow pads are worn purely for protective purposes, as the school of thought teaches the need to protect the bone (which would put the goalkeeper out of action, if damaged), as well as looking after the muscles: the pads are there to protect the bones, from a direct hit, whilst looking after the muscle joints surrounding the elbow, on the basis that continually landing on the area after a save (when diving or landing a jump/high dive) can result in long lasting damage – causing an ailment similar to “tennis elbow”. Sometimes, they are often simply used to cover bare flesh, with the chance of ‘skinning’ the elbows on a rough sand based pitch.

When standing up against shots, and bringing the arms in to passively block, like against a deflection, where the arms are exposed, the goalkeeper is putting themselves in danger. Elbow pads often have added forearm padding, helping protect the vulnerable bones surrounding the wrist, in case of taking a shot there; furthering the confidence to go down low against hard strikes that would otherwise be dangerous. With the elbows fully protected, the goalkeeper can comfortably go down for barrier saves and block slides with the confidence of being safe from harm, as well as having the elbow ‘backed up’ for blocking a stick side shot, with the chance of it skimming past.

This set-up is popular in Britain, and with the common school of thought with goalkeeper coaches; it is seen quite a lot in the domestic regional and national leagues, as well as at county and junior level. International English goalkeepers George Pinner and Becky Duggan are among the many examples. Welsh, along with Irish goalkeepers, also find it popular; like David Harte, Ireland’s no 1. However, it is not just used in the British Isles: Klaas Veering, the goalkeeper from Amsterdam H&BC (who has been capped internationally) uses this; matching his style for stand-up reaction saves and blocking low with barriers. There are also a few goalies in the Bundesliga who use the set-up, with Kristina Reynolds (female German international, who played as the first choice keeper in the 2008 Beijing Olympics) wearing two elbow pads as well.


Right arm elbow, left unprotected

For stand-up reflexive style keepers who hardly ever go down to ground for a save and prefer to bring their gloves in to block shots on either side of the body, they tend to use a set-up, where only the right elbow is padded, to enable as much movement as possible, without maximising the risk levels. With the left arm left needed for extra movement for those athletic, reflex and dramatic saves against tough drag flicks, only the right elbow is padded up. In case of being hit there, an elbow pad is worn; reinforcing the coverage behind the stick, for stick saves (in case the shot is missed). This also helps protect the joints and muscles, when diving down to the stick side; limiting the chances of damaging the elbow when landing, as well as the chance of getting hit there. Again, with the left arm free, the goalkeeper has full movement on glove saves, for using the glove in all positions around the body in shot blocking.

The main chance of being hit on the right elbow is when going down on the play; diving, sliding out to tackle or going down to block a low shot, with barrier style saves. The elbow pad also gives protection to the elbow when sliding; covering against the chance of skidding along the pitch surface when sliding on the right. It is also possible to safely go down against a shot with a ‘long barrier’ shape for barrier saves; tucking the right arm more into the body to give extra protection (with the left arm also brought down to hip height, and behind the body, to protect the fully exposed arm), to bring the exposed area of the arm (upper arm and forearm) away from the shot; so an elbow pad provides sufficient protection, covering the vulnerable bone.

This style is fairly popular in Holland; Jaap Stockman, the young prodigy of HC Bloemendaal and the Dutch national team uses it to protect his right side, whilst leaving the glove arm free for reflex saves; the main element of his deep positional, reactive style. It is also fairly popular in Belgium, with national keeper David van Ryssleberghe is a good example. England national goalkeepers James Fair and Nick Brothers both use the set-up, for its reflex style elements, and reacting athletically against well placed drag flicks. Ireland’s second choice international keeper Iain Walker, use of it for its reflexive purposes, shows how its popularity in western Europe is growing. Kyle Pontifex (New Zealand’s new first choice) has been using this set-up since 2007 and the BDO Champions Challenge, again, for its increased freedom of movement for reflex style saves. Juan Manuel Vivaldi, Argentina’s prominent number 1 men’s goalkeeper, who has also recently been playing in the Hoofdklasse (Holland’s premier league) also uses it, for these reasons.


Which to use?

The combination you use for arm protection will depend on the way you play: if you spend more time standing up, patiently waiting to react to the shot, then you will normally ‘pad down’ more to allow greater use of your reflexes, whilst if you prefer to bring your body into play to get in front of the ball, then you are going to cover up more. You should also be aware of the safety aspects relating to reducing protection to allow increased movement for save making; given that you are exposing vulnerable areas by losing protection in order to gain advantages of increased movement, you should be aware of plays in the game that can leave you in danger, like close-in shots with the arms brought, where you could risk a fracture if you ended up being hit on the uncovered bone.

The older and more experienced you get, the better you are to experiment, knowing how you play and the ways you block certain types of shots, and can therefore make well thought out decisions concerning your safety.

Review of Robo Elbow Guards

After a long August, I have finally had the time to write my review of my Robo elbow guards I won during the Review Your Kit Competition. I will divide the article in four sections:

  1. At first sight
  2. First time using them
  3. Tech specs
  4. Overall impression

So…read away.

At First Sight

When my elbow guards came in the mail, It was wrapped in a printer cartridge box, so, I came to the conclusion that the package was for my mom. On my way to the basement, I realized that it had been sent from New Zealand and thought “Isn’t that strange? I didn’t know they made printer cartridges in New Zealand. I then saw it was addressed to me and instantly connected the dots. I grabbed the closest knife and cut off the tape. As soon as the box opened I was extatic. Wrapped in their mesh bag gleaming white, I have never had a better July 30th.

If you ever thought that the elbow guards looked, well, thin, than I can tell you you thought wrong! I had that thought upon seeing the photos during the Beta testing era, but not any more! The elbow guards are possibly the solidest Upper body product ever created by OBO (aside from helmets of course) As they seem to be made of steel compared to my Cloud body armour. The Velcro straps looked solid and the design looked very fitting.

First Time

I received the parcel the day before my Nationals tournament so I did not get to try them in practice before hand. The first time I used them, They felt somewhat itchy but comfortable never the less.  I decided to use them without the forearm cover to make the more breathable. Therefore, the velcro strap that ties the plasticky section with the mesh section was left exposed to the inside of the joint.This proved to be rather uncomfortable while I was sitting on the bench during the first half but not so much of a nuisance while I was playing. Trying them on with the forearm cover, this problem did not occur.

Inner joint pinch

The middle strap pinches when flexing for a long time

I didn’t know the full strength of the velcro straps and at first, it appeared to be glued on! I didn’t have this problem with my body armour so I thought that something might have been wrong. I later found out that you just have to pull really, really hard to rip it off. Kudos to Obo for designing it this way or else it would probably fall off in wet weather (Unless I got an Obrella ;))

The inner padding was comfortable but very breathable and I found my sweat to stick to my arm a lot. They’re now somewhat smelly – and I have no plans to wash them – but nevertheless quite comfortable and move with the body giving great protection and movement at the same. I always thought giving great protection and movement was a challenge to most hockey goalkeepers and the previous chest pad I had used (ice hockey) was clearly meant to be bigger and thicker than increased mobility. Obo seems to have two and two together with the elbow guard and the mix of protection and mobility is superb.

Teck Specs

When I first broke down the elbow guards into their separate pieces, I found one word: confusing. It seemed as if there were infinite possibilities on how to customize the elbow guards. I turns out there were about eight (both arms). The elbow guard is comprised of three pieces:


The core


The inner pad


The outer pad

These three segment provide many different combos on each arm to optimize the protection you want. There are several different types of foam incorporated into the design with a possible hint of plastic. The two I will point out are the two black pads on the outside and the other that covers those important blood vessels on the underside of your wrist.

The first is the perfect material that allows you to log, slide, and dive with ease while “Going Dutch” and offers optimal protection to your elbow while logging on a corner.


Possibly the greatest part about the elbow guards 🙂

The latter, gives the ultimate protection flow between your HPs and the elbow guards so as not to get injured if the ball goes beneath your HP.

Overall impression

Another fine product Obo! I believe you guys have surmounted the challenge combining both protection and mobility. I am very pleased with my elbow guards and always enjoy keeping while wearing them. They have given me confidence where I was doubtful of my protection and allow to play a much better game. Perhaps a suggestion for v2 of the guards is to make the strap around the joint more of a slip on like the Nike Bauer ice hockey guard. Thanks for my prize. This shit really works!


Review on OBO Robo Elbow Guards

This is my review on the new OBO Robo Elbow Guards. Hope you enjoy it.


Hey guys, iv been part of the beta testing programme for the new OBO Robo Elbow Guards, a very recent addition to the OBO range so here it goes. So far iv played about 5 games and had roughly 10 trainings with the Elbow guards and I have to say I love them.

They have a number of features that only OBO could think of, for example their amazing adjustability. The Elbow Guard has a flexible top pad to protect the upper part of the arm and inner elbow and bicep area. This pad is also fully removable to either provide greater protection or mobility according to personal tastes. I myself wear the right elbow guard with the top pad and the left without as I prefer greater mobility with my left and more protection on my right (shown below).

Left elbow guard. As you can see I have removed the top plate.
Right elbow guard. The top plate is present.

Another feature of the elbow guard I have recently discovered is that you can adjust the amount of padding that you have on the arm.  It basically allows you to change how thick the padding is so that you can adjust how much protection you have and how heavy the elbow guard is. This is an exceptional new idea and I am very impressed with the concept.

As with all OBO products I have found that the elbow guards do not restrict movement and are extremely comfortable.  They fit easily around your arm and unlike other arm guards do not move during the game.  I have found that I have complete movement in my arm and the normal movement of the elbow joint is not compromised by any of the padding. Needless to say it does its job extremely well and has saved my arm a number of times in the few times I have used it.

In conclusion and from my experiences I believe the OBO Robo Elbow Guard is an awesome product. It provides excellent protection, is very comfortable and unconstricting, is very adjustable and looks pretty good as well. even though I have worn them only a few times I am already in love.

Ben Smith.

ROBO Elbowguards Review

Here is a couple of stills and a couple of vids that are a bit tongue in cheek.

My comments are as follows…

1. Great adjustability and wearability c/o the amount and placement of the velcro strips.

2. very minor impediment to full movement.

3. Courtesy of my immense bodyweight I regularly end up with burstitis (deep haematoma around the joint) on my right elbow c/o heavy/poor landings on my elbow when diving….I know it is a technique problem but I have not been practising enough to address the poor technique. These elbow guards have negated the problem so far this season.

4. Inner elbow protection when logging is far far superior to anything I have come across before. I dont wear or buy/sell crap and I wear as well as sell these. I cant give any higher recommendation than that. I know what Mrs Animal is getting for Christmas.


OBO Elbow Guard Product Tour

Our ROBO Elbow guard is in the final stages of our βeta testing programme and we are just making the final tweaks before we launch the product. This product will in your local OBO supplier soon.


Here is a quick video displaying how the elbow guard is reversible so you can adjust the product to suit your style of play…. Some keepers prefer to have more protection on their forearm and others on their biceps.

I have also taken a few photos to demonstrate how the guard will work with full or half protection with Hi Control and Hi Rebound RHP’s. To view the presentation click below.


Keep an eye out in our βeta testing section to get more views on this and other new OBO products.

Here is a link to NicfromSweeden’s review

Review of OBO ROBO elbow protectors and OBO Senior Knee protectors

Review of OBO ROBO elbow protectors and OBO Senior Knee protectors

by Niclas Franzén Swedish national goalkeeper and goalkeeper for Partille Sport Club

Please excuse my grammatical and spelling errors
This review consist of three parts “First impression”, “Review after testing” and “Pictures”

First impression

Elbow pads
At first look I was a bit confused with its “weird” design and at first try I thought they were the bulkiest pads I had ever tried BUT then I started to take a closer look at the elbow pads and noticed what I would like to call GENIOUS design! First I started by just adjusting the straps a bit and this made it fit nicer then I removed the “elbowpit”/forearm/bicep protection and I was in love basically all the bulk was gone and they fitted better with my SP gloves especially the right one and when I tried to remove the ground/inner protection the pad became even better!

I’m wearing them around the house for the moment to get used to the feeling (I have not used elbow protection for a long time so it’s a bit odd for me at first) without having a go with them in goal yet I really think OBO have designed a product that able to catch a really really wide audience. When using all protection it’s like a full arm guard and when removing the first pad it becomes a protective elbow protector and when taking the last part away it becomes a super flexible elbow protector (of course I understand that protection will not be as good but for me who is used to not having anything at all its still much better than nothing. I feel that the elbow bone is well protected and so is the forearm I think it will be great for PCs when going down because the most brittle parts of the arm is protected it’s just like I want it

The only slight downside with the pad is that I don’t think some of the elastics is tight enough when removing all the extra protection but it’s a easy fix with the good old sewing machine and maybe it says more about the size of my biceps than the product itself 😉

as for the kneepads they don’t hinder the movement to bad actually and after wearing them for a while they started to get the shape of my leg however I can’t get used to the straps at the back of my knee because of the straps but it might not be a issue when wearing long socks also I have yet to see how they fit with my girdle.

Review after testing

First of all I want to say FINALLY a elbow protector that’s designed for fieldhockey instead of a ice hockey elbow protector sold as a fieldhockey one.
After testing the elbow pads for one and a half month I feel I can give the pads a fair review after breaking them in properly. I like these elbow pads a lot and I they are certainly the best I have ever tried I like the idea that it’s possible to remove/add protection to make them fit the needs of the user. One might like to have full protection for training but just wants to wear the “shell” for games, personally I’m extremely sensitive when it comes to bulk and for over two years I have played “dutch” and I can honestly say that these elbow pads are the only reason I have even considered moving back to joint protection. With all protection they act like a small version of the full arm guards (a pair of full arms that fits the sp RHP much better than the actual full arms) with just the inner protection added you get added protection against the ground and also against balls that hits the elbow bone. Lastly with just the “shell” you get a good hard shell with some soft damping on the inside which is the way I use them I feel it gives me the best mix of protection and flexibility the full lower arm is protection and the elbow bone which are the pars of the arm I feel the need to protect. I lent the elbow protectors to another goalkeeper in my club who normally are using full arm protection and he was impressed by the flexibility and he still felt just as confident as when he use his full arm protection so I really do believe they fit all goalkeepers from the ones who loves playing “dutch” to the ones who swears by their full arm protection it might also be a good way if you want to go down from full arm protection to more flexible protection as you can remove the extra protection when you feel confident to do so.
I would say no matter how you use them the protection is still great both against the ground and against balls the hard plastic panels combined with the soft inner makes a perfect combination.

When I was testing these knee protectors I never got hit so I can’t comment on the protection but I was actually surprised how flexible the kneepads were after breaking them in, I would say that they don’t hinder my movement a bit and they fitted well both with my old OBO girdle as well as the newer model so that was not really a problem. They also managed to stay in place fairly well but could move a little after making several saves in a row but it was an easy fix as soon as the ball left the circle. Personally I have had a hard time adjusting to the feel of having something around my joint and even if it does not hinder me it’s a mental block to me so personally I’m not a huge fan of these. However I would have loved these as a junior when I got hit more on my knees and I could see why goalies who slide a lot would like these but these are really for everyone because we all get forced to do some more or less “ugly saves” from time to time (I have even heard a rumor the these kneepads were the reason Ali McGregor could play on after getting hit on the knee during the Olympics). I also lent the knee pads to the same keeper in my club who got to try the elbow pads and as I write he still have not given them back to me he just loves them (mental note I have to buy a pair for him when he has his birthday so I can keep mine for myself).
I think some goalkeepers will absolutely love them and some would hate them me myself is somewhere between these two camps I can’t say I love them but I can’t say I hate them either because after all it’s a good product who are going to give many keepers out there a little more confidence to know that even if they give the little extra during the match they will know for sure that they will be able to go to work Monday morning because let’s face it most of us got work on the side of hockey.

Pictures and explanation

Picture these are the parts of the elbow protector
Elbow protector with all parts

Elbow protector on arm with SP right hand protector

Elbow protector with just the “shell” no added protection

Elbow protector without any extra protection on arm with SP right hand protector

I hope people will find this review helpful and that it has given you a better idea of these great new OBO products.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.