I am a 16 year old goalkeeper in England and want to progress to playing National League hockey with my club. My problem is that I am only 1.73 metres tall and am probably not going to grow a huge amount more. I have done a lot of work on my speed and agility using the SAQ training method. I was wondering if you had any views or general tips for shorter keepers, particularly anything to do with increasing flexibility, in order to reach those shots struck in to the corners. Any feedback would be great.
Nigel, while I don’t have any tips specifically for shorter goalkeepers, I’ve addressed some of the adjustments shorter keepers might need to make to be more effective. Please look at the Basic Positioning: Angles tip as that applies most directly. The word of caution on angles is not getting caught too far off your line as to get lobbed. Flexibility is addressed in the Previous Q&A section. Speed isn’t limited to sprints off the line. It’s equally applicable in speed of decision and execution of skills. It applies to reactions. As you’ve noted, you can’t do much about your height, but you can do something about your speed and flexibility. Smaller keepers can play big and big keepers can play small. Size is only one part of the equation for playing with presence. If you can communicate, anticipate, organize and execute, size doesn’t have to be a factor. Most coaches pick a keeper based on his ability to keep the ball out of the net, not on height. Good luck!