Thursday, 21 May 2015

Van Essen has "a bad day at the office"

Hockey games aren't known for their Lacrosse like high score lines (I think the PanAmerican readers will appreciate that analogy more!), and they're not exactly the norm. And they're sure as anything not the funnest games to be a part of as the goalkeeper (unless maybe you're on the other end of the kicking, otherwise it's boring as you're not testing your capabilities). As they say, sport is 95% mental, 5% physical. And as the one who is picking the ball up out of the net after every goal, it becomes a bit soul destroying, requiring you to keep pushing on and focus on keeping the score down rather than some miracle comeback.

Derek van Essen recently had one of these 'mares of a game' for Amsterdam against Pinoke, with the scoreline being an incredible 11-1 last month on the 12th of April. It just goes to show that everyone has bad days and no-one is perfect (even if we think we are ;) edit: I'm definitely not), elite level goalkeepers included! However, on an analytical note, I have always thought of Van Essen as playing with a style so laid back he's on the floor! He predominantly plays a stand-up reaction style (common in Holland as the 'stereotype), but without the hybrid save selections needed for a good all round game.

As an analyst or just another goalkeeper observing one, this makes it hard to bear as he doesn't play with much 'fight' (like ice hockey goalies that are known for their 'high energy' games) and doesn't seem to bothered about allowing goals. However, being scored on corners that your defence are giving away, by a drag flicker as good as Justin Reid Ross, isn't going to help to be fair!

Save/goal analysis:

  • Weight goes back on the backfoot seeing him lose balance , unable to push forward into the leg-block save
  • Commits a little late , but picks the right channel and angle to go down
  • Challenges well, stays big and plays patient (doesn't overcommit right away); not helped by defence; not much you can do against 'spinorama' as a goalie
  • Unlucky, gets across, covers, but ball squeaks through (note - doesn't wear arm guards, so looking to protect himself with gloves rather than cover space with arms) due to power of shot
  • Needs to have hands higher and not overcommit on the right side (moving himself away from goal against a moving shot/player); otherwise giving away 'top shelf' glove side
  • Just misses the ball if you watch closesly against the flick - low leg height is really difficult to - steps out well to challenge, gets across, basically millimetres away from ball = not exactly at fault
  • Defence gives away stupid PC by not stepping the 5 against free hit. Same placement as before. Balance affected as moves into save which means he leans back and away from the ball, opening up space. At this level, it's the finest details that make the difference.
  • Unlucky with the intercept attempt - does superbly to get out, challenge, and read the game to meet the ball, and then misses, allowing the goal
  • Save selection could have prevented the next - here, his stand-up style limits him. Diving backwards actually gives him time and space to stop the ball. Normally you don't want to dive back (i.e. forward/horizontal in save making), but here, diving allows him to reach the ball. Not physically possible to go back with the leg save!!
  • Defence again not playing well and JRR slots ball exactly the same place with the same result. Worth noting that once a shooter has 'figured out' the goalie, they will exploit it at every opportunity for the easier goal as they know they don't have to test the goalkeeper this way (i.e. better chance of scoring)
  • Weight set on his left side, so slows down when moving to the right to attempt the save. At this speed the ball is going at, it makes all the difference.
In terms of psychology, notice how his head drops after the third goal, in terms of body language, and even how he literally turns away from the game and loses interest, 'switching off' after the eigth goal.

How to deal with a tough loss

The long and short of it, is just to forget about it. You're not going to win every single game in life, you're going to have times when you struggle and feel responsible. But, move on from it. Dwelling on it merely brings self destruction as you destroy your confidence; the backbone of successful goalkeeping, negativity and even depression etc. Don't bother being your own worst enemy. Be eager to get back to the training ground and 'work it off'. Push through it, and let your desire to win take over and better your performances. Get angry (just not chopping opponents in game!)!

1 comment:

  1. In Holland, Gk's are taught not to show to much emotion. So after a goal, you can't really show it hurts.

    To be fair, Van Essem seems to be a GK using a style that doesn't really suit him. Making it a surprise to me that he keeps getting selected for Dutch Premier League teams. (especially considering the talent walking around in the 2nd division)