David Harte’s Top 5 Hockey Goalkeeper Tips

We recently featured a “What makes a great Striker, Midfielder & Defender series, so today we are focussing on Goalkeepers.

Who better to ask than one of the best goalkeepers in the world of hockey, Ireland’s David Harte.

I recently asked David what he thinks makes a great goalkeeper, here’s what he said:

David Harte’s Top 5 Hockey Goalkeeper Tips:

#1. Save what you should save

Most goalkeeping videos you will see online will be of an amazing diving save and pulling off the unthinkable stick save or toe save in the corner.

While of course these saves are needed, it is at times making the difficult save look easy and having the consistency of saving what you should save which is vital to being a great goalkeeper! 

Rio 2016 Olympic Games Day 7, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 12/8/2016
Men’s Hockey, Ireland vs Argentina. Ireland’s goalkeeper David Harte in action against Lucas Vila of Argentina
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crumb

#2. Decision Making

The speed of our sport keeps increasing and in doing so the decision we need to make as a goalkeeper is with less reaction time. The decision as to what type of save you make is how you see and interpret the shot or play in front of you.

Great keepers don’t always make the perfectly executed save but the decision they make keeps the ball out of the goal and that is most important.

#3. Mental resilience 

It goes without saying that being a goalkeeper can be one of the most mentally demanding positions on the pitch. The ability to stay concentrated and not phased by the scoreline or faults made is what separates the great keepers from the good keepers!

#4. Reading the play

Having the ability to be a ‘fortune teller’ as a keeper can really help. A great keeper can almost see into the future and what may unfold in front of them and the team they are playing against.

This can be from open play and of course set pieces too. This does develop with video analysis and experience.

#5. Communication 

“Prevention is better than cure”

Clear, concise and informative communication can make a goalkeepers job much, much easier. A great keeper has a command over their defenders and team mates and dictates to them what is expected from them.

Follow David Harte:

Twitter: @davidharte

Instagram: @daveyharte

Photo credit: Inpho Sports and Trevor Collins and thejournal.ie


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About The Author

Lauren Penny

Lauren is a former International Hockey Player, Performance Coach & Mentor specialising in helping hockey players to be more confident, improve their fitness and perform more consistently to get noticed and reach higher teams.