Alex Stadler is hopeful of representing Germany at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Liege in Belgium, after representing his country at the 2019 EuroHockey Indoor Hockey Championships.
While there is not so much international indoor hockey competition for much of the season, in many countries there is a vibrant club scene, which is where Stadler hones his indoor hockey skills.
‘My first experience with the men’s national indoor team was at the 2019 EuroHockey Indoor Championships in Belgium and I also played the German Championship. Indoor hockey is big in Germany and we start training again in two week’s time ready for the club season which starts in December.
‘We will play every weekend but it is more local than the outdoor league games, so less time is spent travelling to and from the matches.’
For those new to the game, Stadler explains that in indoor hockey, goalkeepers get far more touches of the ball because the game is faster and there are fewer players on the pitch.
‘Goalkeepers get a lot to do at indoor hockey. The game is faster, shots come in faster and decision making is key. You are fully ‘on’ for the full 60 minutes. Just like that, the ball can be in your D again.’
Stadler says the key qualities needed by a goalkeeper in the indoor game are quick reflexes and flexibility. He explains that a lot of the time, the goalkeeper is just trying to create a barrier between him or herself and the goal. This involves getting down on the floor to block a shot with the body and then quickly recovering to face the next phase of action.
‘As a goalkeeper, it enhances certain skills. It adds reflexes and fitness. You have to move quickly in your kit, so you find when you go back outside, you are able to move quicker in your kit. It also helps you read the game better because you are watching all the time and this helps with your ability to anticipate what might happen next.’
In Germany, players of all ages will play both indoor and outdoor hockey, so the skills of the game are ingrained from an early age.
For Stadler himself, events such as the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup which took place in berlin are inspirational. The atmosphere is something that the German ‘keeper really enjoys.
‘There is a roof on top of you, so all the noise is amplified. It is a crazy atmosphere and great to play in front of a packed stadium of people cheering you on.’
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