Field hockey is one of the most popular sports in the US and Canada. Contrary to the more popular ice hockey, this one is a bit more versatile in terms of its playing field and the tools the players use to play the game.
A field hockey team consists of 11 members, your 10 field players, and then the goalkeeper or what we fondly call the goalie. You can even argue that the goalie is the most important part of a team. So what makes for an effective field hockey goalie? Let’s find out!
Field Hockey Goalie
As the name suggests and like other team sports like soccer, a goalie’s main goal is to guard against the opposing team’s strikes for a goal or score.
They wear protective equipment accordingly to protect their body from any hits from the opponent’s strikes as well as to deflect or stop the ball to prevent a score. Also, when the ball is within their circle then they may use their stick, kickers, feet, or leg guards to propel the ball.
Goalkeepers though are not permitted to lie on the ball nor use their protective equipment to harm opposing players as that would incur appropriate penalties. Goalies must wear protective headgears at all times with the exception when they take a penalty stroke.
Field Hockey Goalie Drills
Here are some field hockey goalie drills that you can practice to improve your defensive skills.
You start with something simple. As with any sports, fundamentals are vital for success and a goalie should have a good feel for the ball.
The best warm-up drill for goalkeepers is for a coach or another player to feed them the ball right in the middle. The goalie then has to kick the ball to teammate A or B. Keep this drill running to really warm your goalie up.
The knee block or “knee down block” is a great defensive trick that makes sure to utilize the extent of your leg when blocking a shot. It’s conventional and quite commonly utilized as it is effective as you use the extent of your leg guard to then block or deflect an incoming shot.
Defense for High Shots
After practicing against low angled shots, you practice for high shots next. This is not easy to do and needs good footwork and at the same time use your hands as additional coverage to deflect or block a shot.
Top 10 Tips For Field Hockey Goalies to be Effective
Here are a few tips to help you improve your skills as a field hockey goalkeeper.
Be firm on your stance
Stand tall & wide. This game especially as a goalie is both physical and mental. Your stance when an opposing player whacks the ball your way is an indication of your mental toughness.
It’s only human nature to cower when someone strikes a ball your way but be firm and take the challenge. Standing tall and wide ensures that you have the chance to deflect or block the ball quickly and effectively.
Think fast when using either your legs or tool at your disposal. We’re talking about kicking or using your stick to deflect a shot.
Use your body
Remember that you are wearing protective gear for a reason. Utilize your body well when guarding shots that come your way. This is where both strengthening your mind and body comes in. When you are focused your body reacts accordingly and efficiently.
Always be at the balls of your feet. This puts you in a position where you can do foot saves when necessary. Also, be ready to dive and smother the ball but also make sure to land on your hips and your side.
Keep the 5-second surge in mind as it could happen multiple times in a game. Focus and be fearless and take charge at significant burst during a match.
Trust your teammates
Always keep in mind that field hockey is a team sport and you have your teammates to rely on too. Practice together to build rapport and know each other’s tendencies. You’ll be surprised as to how that improves your team’s game.
Practice does not only apply to your plays on the field but also how you talk to your teammates. Call them out kindly when they have some lapses but also motivate or commend them when they do a good job. In turn, they should also have your back.
Always keep your weight at a forward stance at all times. Your head is key as its weight keeps you forward.
Proper hand positioning
Always keep your hands open and in a high position so you’re always ready to react and defend.
Relax and practice
Practice, practice, and more practice. That’s what should always be on your mind. Whether you are alone or with some friends, try to practice basic drills, improve your fundamentals before moving on to more advanced ones.
And lastly, relax but don’t lack fire and motivation during a game. This won’t cloud your judgment and you’ll be focused at all times.
What does a field hockey goalie wear?
Field hockey goalkeepers wear protective gear like helmets, cage to protect the face, leg pads, chest pads, and kickers to cover their shoes.
Why is a field hockey goalie stick curves?
This is to ensure that the goalie can control and hit the ball with good momentum.
How can I be a good hockey goalkeeper?
Practice your drills, take care of your body, and listen to your coach at all times for you to improve as a hockey goalkeeper.
Where is field hockey most popular?
This port is very popular in North America, especially as women’s sport.
How many goalkeepers are there in a team?
Each hockey team in general can have two goalies.
A field hockey goalie needs focus, determination, and accuracy. Being a key component for the team, it’s vital that you practice the essential skills whenever you can.
Being a team sport, it should be easy to do with your friends. So just keep on grinding and you’d surely reach your goals in no time.