Thursday, February 22, 2024

Field hockey coaching: Goalkeeper’s ready or set position in seven easy steps


To be set for a save is vital. It is also very controllable and easy to practice. Depending on the individual goalkeeper’s strength, stability and flexibility everyone will be slightly different. Here are some key steps you can follow; for arguments sake let’s call it the set position.

Feet – They should be roughly shoulder width apart. Too wide, a very Australian style, and you’ll find anything close to your feet more difficult whilst also risking the nutmeg. Too narrow makes it harder to transfer weight left and right. Find what works for you. Ideally your weight should be towards the ball of the foot and heels ever so slightly off the ground.

Legs – Bend at the knee and hip, adopting an athletic position. Try to find a position where your muscles are loaded enough to move quickly and with agility. Too much flex and you’ll be unable to move your feet with much speed.

Upper Body – Shoulders and head should find their balance in line with your knee. Try not to sit backwards through your heels. Too much weight leaning forward is better than a little leaning back.

Hands – They are no use by your sides so get them up somewhere just below shoulder height, comfortably in-front of your torso with each hand just outside the line of your body and unstuck your elbows. The right hand is often slightly lower than the left, so try to keep them on the same level. This will improve your right-hand gloves saves. Make it a habit early on, you will see your balance and co-ordination improving.

Head – The steadier your body is, the steadier your head will be, the better you see the ball and therefore the quicker your reactions are likely to be.

Position – Find your best set position that works for you and make it stick. If you have trouble setting in enough time, make it a focus for a few sessions. Ask another GK to call “SET” during a session – perhaps put a forfeit on it every time you’re not ready. Twenty burpees usually do the trick.

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