England Hockey’s official magazine, called (ahem) ‘Hockey’ (Winter 2013 issue) has tips from Beeston and England’s number one George Pinner. I’ve summarised them here – and posted a video of George in action. For the anorak drag flickers among you, there’s some quite good slow motion action here too. The shot looks positioned to just tuck in the top left corner but George gets there first. Impressive hockey skills!
- The secret to a consistently good clearance to your block saves is, he says, using your weight correctly. Get into position with small, fast steps rather than big strides. Lead with your head and keep it in line with the ball at all times. Rotate your hips to maximise the force you impart to the ball.
- Stay balanced – avoid letting your hands or head lag behind your body as you move towards the ball. You need all your weight – ALL your weight! – moving forwards to generate maximum power in your kicks.
- Don’t drop your trailing knee to the ground as you make contact. This makes it tricky to reset yourself quickly if the ball comes back into the D fast.
- Keep the front of your trailing foot on the ground as you strike the ball.
- Send the ball to the sidelines not back where it came from – a disaster.
- You can practise kicking enough. Take an old pair of boots and highlight your instep with a marker pen. Get someone to film you in training and look at whether the ball is making contact on this sweet spot.
- Drill penalty corners but vary who takes the shot so you avoid getting stuck in predictable routines. Get them to take close range shots to hone your reactions.
- Unless you play at a high level remain standing for a penalty corner – you need to quickly realign yourself for a rebound shot.
- Choose a good post player – they need to be brave with excellent trapping skills and good reactions.
For more information about England Hockey see http://www.englandhockey.co.uk or twitter.com/EnglandHockey or facebook.com/EnglandHockey
The magazine is produced by TriNorth Communications, email firstname.lastname@example.org
England Hockey also sell a goalkeeping DVD you may find useful. http://www.englandhockey.co.uk/page.asp?section=938§ionTitle=Goalkeeping+DVD