It takes a special kind of bravery and skill to put yourself in the line of fire when it comes to having hockey balls hit at you with the pace and venom a top international player is capable of. Maddie Hinch has proven to be a huge asset to the GB and England side in this department with the kind of athletic saves that few goalkeepers are capable of. ActivInstinct magazine spoke to Maddie about the England team’s plans for the Commonwealth games later this month, her strenghts as a goalkeeper and the pressure of being the last line of defence …
Have you always played Goalkeeper? What made you decide to play in this position?
Yes I have always been in goal. I joined a school when I was 12 and after playing for the school rounders team my coach said that I was very over dramatic and constantly throwing myself around the field so she suggested I would suit the position of a hockey goalkeeper perfectky and it just took off from there!
Do you feel a heightened sense of pressure being the teams last line of defence?
I suppose I do, but I also try to remember that I am part of a team and it has to get through everyone else before it gets to me. Its very each in goalkeeeping to be too hard on yourself as ultimately a mistake normally results in a goal!
Is playing for Team GB in Rio 2016 your main long term objective at this point?
Yes, my ultimate goal in my career is to play at an Olympic Games and win an Olympic medal however there are so many other big tournaments during the Olympic cycle that I aspire to play in. The World Cup was one which I have just come back from and the Commonwealth Games is another which I have coming up. I like to focus on each tournament one at a time and not think too far ahead.
How has the England team reacted to the results at the World Cup and what’s the strategy to turn things around?
We are all absolutely devastated about how the World Cup went for us and at the minute the memories are still very raw, however with another big tournament coming up so soon, we haven’t had time to dwell on it and instead we have had to quickly reflect on what we need to do better. Our strategy over the next few training weeks is too get back to enjoying playing and get our confidence back. The tournament hasn’t defined us and we know we are more than capable of winning medals so we will be spending a lot of time reflecting on the good times. I am already looking forward to getting back out there and putting things right.
What is the teams approach for the Commonwealth Games, focus on winning gold or take things match by match? We have always been a side that looks to approach tournaments one game at a time and this tournament will be no different, however we will have an overall tournament goal which will be discussed as a side when we get out to Glasgow.
Which teams do you think will be the main medal contenders at the games? On the back of the World Cup Ii think New Zealand will certainly be pushing for medals and Australia’s form over the last 12 months has been excellent, so I feel they will be right up there.
In what ways has the Crazy Catch equipment helped you to evolve your goalkeeping techniques? With the equipment being so easy to use it has meant I have been able to get people to help during my training sessions with feeding balls and having a couple of nets at home I am able to work on hand-eye drills out of my kit in the garden. Plus it’s a lot of fun when it gets competitive with my housemates! I like the element of randomness the Crazy Catch nets create which constantly keeps me on my toes. In a pre-tournament phase I find the nets excellent for sharpening work and when working on specific techniques, the balls can be fed off the nets accurately making the sessions easy to set-up.
Download a PDF of the ActivInstinct interview in full here ActivInstinct Magazine – July 2014