When the GB hockey team won Olympic Gold in Rio in 2016 after a penalty shoot out one of the heroines was undoubtedly the GB keeper Maddie Hinch. Since then, inspired by the achievements in Rio, there has been a huge increase in participation in hockey across the country and Maddie, along with local GB GK Kirsty Mackay , who was also out in Rio as the GB no 2 keeper , have been inspiring many young keepers to put on the pads and kickers and take up the position between the sticks!
AKS have also followed this trend with an upsurge in budding keepers who regularly attend the school’s GK Academy led by England GK Coach Kay Hanham. In the weekly sessions a large group of enthusiastic keepers from Year 4 though every year group to Year 11 , affectionately known as the ‘ AKS Goalie Gang ‘ pull on their pads, kickers , helmets and a lot of other protective equipment to learn about the art of keeping the ball out of the net. The girls practice the full range of techniques including saving with their feet and their hands together with the more advanced skills of diving and smothering.
The regular technique practice is obviously paying off as six of the ‘goalie gang’ Tara W, Eva E, Scarlet D, Beth R, Mady R and Daniela H attend the Lancashire Goalkeeping Academy, while Emily P has reached even greater heights with selection for the Pennine Pumas U15 side in the summer and then being part of the England U16 Assessment group as one of the top five GK‘ S in the country.
The school teams are also benefitting with every year group having excellent defensive records with pride of place going to the U13 A team who remain undefeated so far this season with the even the more impressive record of not having conceded a goal thanks in part due to the efforts of GK Mady R.
The hockey goalkeeping future at AKS is definitely looking bright !