Hockey World Cup 2018: Keep calm, a goalkeeper’s mantra

Goalkeepers of leading teams taking part in the current edition of the Hockey World Cup here share fascinating features of their job.

For Belgium custodian Vincent Vanasch, a ’keeper cannot afford to be lazy even if his team is dominating the match.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Goalkeeping is a thankless job. Often you get punished for others’ faults but rarely get credit for earning a clean sheet.

In a fast sport like hockey, it may not be easy to maintain one’s focus as the job is not just restricted to keeping the post safe but also to alerting the fellow players about their own positions as well as that of the opponents.

Goalkeepers of leading teams taking part in the current edition of the Hockey World Cup here share fascinating features of their job.

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For Belgium custodian Vincent Vanasch, a ’keeper cannot afford to be lazy even if his team is dominating the match.

“I have to communicate a lot. Every time, every second, I communicate. You have to keep talking to stay connected with the game and when the ball is coming just keep it out of the net,” said Vanasch.

“It’s difficult because you have to concentrate really well. During the week I train twice and closer to the tournament it's three times a week. Fitness on Fridays and it is rest on Saturdays.”

Before the match, Vanasch follows certain rituals. “I just try to have a good feeling and try not to be injured because that’s the worst thing for a goalkeeper.”

Germany ’keeper Tobias Walter also prepares himself thoroughly before a contest. “It has become much more challenging… I always try to be calm before focusing on the ball, study a lot of corners of the opponent.

“In every training session, we train corner defences. It is not easy to train because the strikers try to shoot flickers and they are so different around the whole world.

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“We watch lots of videos. For every World Cup match, we watch penalty corners of the whole year of the other team to get a view on that and then decide how we are going to defend that.”

Indian goalie P.R. Sreejesh thinks it is always nice to be positive. “The best way is to concentrate on your game and not worry about opponents. It's a matter of performing on the field and focussing on the basics,” said Sreejesh.