GOALIES CIRCLE: David Harte shares his goalkeeping tips with hockey performance coach Lauren Penny

David Harte was recently named as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Goalkeeper of the Year for the second time in a row. Harte also captained Ireland to their first Olympic Games in 108 years when the Green Machine competed at the Rio Olympic Games. So when David Harte shares anything about goal keeping any ‘budding goalkeeper’ should read or listen because knowledge is king.

Lauren Penny is a well known hockey performance coach and blogger. Go Hockey News values her contributions to the sport of hockey. She has a Hockey Performance Academy where she mentors players seeking to improve their performance. Lauren was able to recently ‘pin’ David Harte down to ask him what makes a great goalkeeper from his perspective. The following information is from Lauren’s website .             

  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

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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 teammates and dictates to them what is expected from them.

Want to see the great David Harte in action then watch this video by Hockey Life Switzerland.

Follow David Harte:

Twitter: @davidharte

Instagram: @daveyharte

Photo credit: Inpho Sports and Trevor Collins 


Lauren Penny  (hockeyperformanceacademy.com )

Former South African Hockey Player, Performance Coach, Speaker & Mentor specialising in the mental & physical parts of sport. Passionate about getting the most out of sports individuals and teams by teaching how to be more confident, manage emotions and become fitter, stronger and faster for hockey. Mental game training & sport specific conditioning is often neglected or misunderstood, without either you will never reach your full potential.

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