Top Goalie – The Australian search
Over the next six months Ash Wells and myself will be travelling the country in the search for Australia’s next top goalkeeper. We aim to share our knowledge and use our combined experience to help find goalkeepers who will keep Australian hockey in safe hands into the future.
This unique and specialized position requires speed, power, agility, high-level technical skill and resilience. Throughout the search we hope to not only find male and female keepers eligible and suitable for the next two Junior World Cups but also train and develop the skills necessary to keep the level of goalkeepers high right across Australia.
During each session we will assess the basic skills and physicality of each keeper. High level basic skills are crucial if a goalkeeper is to be successful. Kicking, glove saves, set play skills, decision making and movement in the goal will all be covered.
In the first two weeks of the search Ash and I have been very impressed with what we have seen. Starting at the Australian Hockey League where I worked with 4 under 13 Victorian Keepers Bridget, Stevie, Em and Mia. These girls were young, keen and all with varying levels of experience. What was the same was their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. I also ran into a few little stars who I have worked with before. Two were from my Bundaberg clinic and Em a tall keeper, who was a ball girl for AHL, that Id met at last years under 13s in Hobart. The final little star was Evie, an under 13 Queensland keeper who had contacted me through my website for some advice. It was great to catch up with these guys and many of the other under 13 keepers at the tournament. I didn’t get to see them all play unfortunately but heard fantastic reviews from those involved at the tournament.
Upon arriving back in Melbourne Ash and I were straight into it. Only hours after landing I ran a clinic at Doncaster Hockey club for a keen young keeper named Henry who had flown over from Tassie with his family to do a session with me. Standing at just under 6 foot and only thirteen I was excited to see that Henry had high-level basics and a fierce determination to learn and improve. I left Henry with a few things to work on and a video to review so hope to touch base again soon to see how he is tracking.
Next up were two super clinics the following evening. Ash headed off to Footscray Hockey Club where we both have run many a session in the past and I made the long trip from Warrandyte out to windy Altona. I was lucky enough to have access to a ball machine for my session, which helped give the kids some consistency with shots. The Altona group all had an obvious training base. Having Taylor Brenan at the club has meant most of the up and coming kids get regular sessions with her and you can tell.
Ash felt a similar vibe at Footscray with most of the kids showing very good basics. Too often we see that young gks are just used at training for the field players to hit balls at, Footscray HC is one of the first clubs that we have seen that is trying to change that. They have a lot of kids wanting to put their hands up to play in goals purely because they put the effort in to ensure they have quality coaches and the GKs are recognised as an important part of the team. A prime example of this is six year old Charlie. So keen to put the pads on that they had to make specially modified gear for the little guy! Ash was particularly impressed with a young keeper named Josh. Ash coached Josh for his very first goalkeeping sessions a few years ago but after moving to Perth hasn’t seen him play since. Not only has he shot up in size but he has also been working on all the things covered in those first couple of sessions to become a very capable young gk!
The third session for me the following day involved a road trip up to the beautiful Ballarat where my mum grew up. Mum joined me for this one as by this point she had hardly seen me the whole time I’d been home. The session was with 4 keepers from Blaze hockey club. They all did extremely well battling the cold and windy conditions. I had a good chat to Zaige Porra who was very new to the goalkeeping world but had some very natural insticts and an ability to grasp what I taught very quickly. Zaige was recently identified and included in an academy that’s training in Melbourne so him and his dad will make the big commitment many country kids make and travel to Melbourne on and off during the week for training. I look forward to staying in touch with Zaige and helping him and the Ballarat kids in again in the future.
Next up will be my home club of Greensbrough where I’m holding a session this Saturday with the “Burra rebounders” (GK club) and some other kids on Saturday. Developing the keepers at my club is super important to me so I am looking forward to that very much. In the calender I also have Gold Coast in November and potentially a regional WA trip in December
If you or your club would like Ash or I to visit please contact me via this page. We will do our best to get to as many regions as possible before starting back training in January next year. In the mean time keep working on your basics and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.