The top five goalkeepers in South African women’s hockey were put through their paces at an intense training camp in Bloemfontein this week,┬á overseen by one of the world’s top goalkeeper coaches, Joppe de Vries of Holland.
University of North West coach Sheldon Rostron, a former provincial goalkeeper, is part of De Vries’s team, which also includes another overseas expert in Martjin Drywer of top world hockey country Holland.
“This forms part of our top goalkeepers’ preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games,” said SA women’s team head coach Giles Bonnet, the former South African men’s captain and coach, who is also based in Amsterdam.
“After the recent World Cup and Commonwealth Games, which saw our national squad make great strides towards London 2012, I decided to create a team of position-specific coaches who would be paying individual attention to our keepers at a series of specialised camps,” Bonnet said this weekend.
“We have created a team of top SA goalkeepers who are undergoing a programme consisting of intense technical and tactical training, improving on their current skills and knowledge in an environment that is purely focused on them.”
Rostron said that SA’s current top three — Mariette Rix, Sanani Mangisa and Hanli Hattingh — plus the highly talented Elzane Smit of North West and Kaspersky Southern Gauteng’s Leandre Janse van Vuuren — had made remarkable progress in the week.
“It’s been amazing; they have such natural talent but even more significant is their hunger to learn and absorb the advanced technical advice from experts like Joppe, who has also created individual programmes for them that are goalkeeper specific,” said Rostron.
Said Mariette Rix, South Africa’s most experienced international goalkeeper: “It’s a new and exciting experience working with world-class goalkeeping experts like Joppe and the constant feedback and analysis during the camps allows us to grow and improve step by step.”
De Vries added: “Significant progress has been made in just one week and I am eager to keep working with this team of goalkeepers to┬á achieve the goals and objectives set by Giles for South Africa becoming one of the world’s top six hockey nations.”