Monday, June 24, 2024

Field hockey coaching: How to move effectively as a goalkeeper

Match saver: GB keeper Maddie Hinch keeps out the Netherlands’ Maartje Faumen in the Olympic final shoot-out -thanks in part to the advice of Amber Luzar

In our previous top tips section we explained how to adopt an effective set position. Here we look at good movement in goal.


Goalkeeping is both a reactive and pro-active position. It is key to be able to move across the goal, close-down an attacker, change direction, get to ground and back up again at optimum speed, all while being able to make saves.

It sounds obvious but, when sprinting use your arms as usual and engage the gloves close to the contact areas. Create explosive leg drive for your best speed. Sprint training is an essential part of a goalkeeper’s training programme. Start from stationary and sprint to any distance between 5-20 yards, you can always add a kick or stick clear to hone your skills at the same time.


Footwork, balance and a bit of biomechanics will help. To decrease your speed try to use short sharp steps and use a low and centered body position. This was you will be more likely to keep balanced for any movements left or right you need to make.

When moving sideways try to stay facing the play by sidestepping rather than rotating to run. By doing this you can still move quickly. You are also able to make saves on the move and drop into a ground save at will.

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To improve your agility, use a stopping area in your sprint training and gradually make it smaller. Once you can’t stop any quicker, add a change of direction over 5-10 yards or ask a teammate to roll a ball into space for you to clear.

It is always worth adding some randomisation or skill set into a physical training session. Remember, be adaptable and always ready to make a save, even on the move.

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