Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch has two Commonwealth Games gold medals, and has coached young, aspiring goalies across the country. She hopes to inspire the next generation of kids to don the padding and have hard, plastic balls whacked at them.
Lynch gave Inside Sport some tips on hockey positioning and shot-stopping.
Getting in the way
“Positioning is a key thing! You’ve got to make sure you’re in the right spot a majority of the time. You want to get hit. There are times it will hit you and deflect and miss the goal, and people think it’s luck. But, yeah, I put myself in that position, it wasn’t coincidence. I was standing there for a reason.
It’s more about your instinct and understanding of where you are in space. We do a lot of work on that, because the feedback you’re getting is behind you – the goal is behind you. It’s about picking up cues across the field, knowing the little markers on the field that gives you the feedback of where you are in relation to the goal.”
“They always find the gaps, and there are a few gaps. Then there are the other times when they come so hard, it can be quite painful. We have to rotate our kickers regularly because of the pressure of being hit with the ball there. We go through three or four a year.
“We get hit in the legs a lot, the inner thigh area, because we have to rotate to make a save and it opens up that area. Also because of the design of the equipment – your shorts have to be made in a way that you can still run around. I got hit in the neck once – we do have a protector there, but it managed to sneak through. And then the other usually is the arms, you get hit on the edge of the elbow.”
“The maturity and having an experienced head helps, because one of the main parts of our job involves looking after everyone else in front of us. You can’t be the one that turns up and says, ‘I’m just going to do my job today.’ Because your job involves everyone on the field. You can’t be that selfish athlete. If I’m having a bad day, I still need to help everyone else has a good day. And that comes from experience – there are so many different aspects from leadership and communication, because the defence relies on your organisation.
“I’d say, compared to soccer, we’re not as crazy. That’s not my style at all. I want to make sure I’ve got good relationships with the girls. It’s not about yelling at people for making mistakes. I’ve never understood why they do it in soccer.”