Maddie Hinch's gold dust

MH1 camps

Almost a year has passed since that historic night in Rio when Great Britain’s women made history in spectacular fashion, winning Olympic gold for the very first time.

 

As if you need reminding, goalkeeper Maddie Hinch played a key role as she helped her team be crowned Olympic champions in a nail biting shootout. I was sat in the GB Hockey office watching the twitter explode with tweets from JK Rowling through to ‘what can’t Maddie Hinch stop?’ trending! It was a very surreal moment watching the love pour in for our women’s team, for our sport.

 

She has put goalkeeping on the map. Previously not many people wanted to pad up and ‘stand around’ in goal but that has changed. Since Rio 10,000 more people have joined hockey clubs up and down the country, with many clubs also finding people wanting to play in goal. The days of running around trying to convince your one goalkeeper to play three matches over the weekend are seemingly gone. Or at least people are more happy to volunteer than before!

 

“It seems things have gone a bit goalkeeper mad with people wanting to put the pads on – which has never been the case! It is normally a position that I know schools and clubs have struggled to fill and now they can’t get enough sets of gear for the demand!” the FIH World’s Best Goalkeeper smiles.

  

 

“It’s incredibly strange, for people to say they want to put the pads on off the back of Rio and what the team did and the role I had to play. It is massive. For a goalie that Olympic final doesn’t always go like that but it did.”


MH1 camps

 

Over the past weekend 240 goalkeepers attended Maddie Hinch’s MH1  goalkeeping camp in St Albans. From as young as eight to as old as sixty! The first thing I hear when I step out of my car on arrival is her voice, cheering on others, giving bits of advice, just loving being on a hockey pitch like you and I do.


Maddie is an athlete in demand; she has 34 thousand followers on instagram and is an ambassador, alongside Alex Danson for women’s title sponsors Investec. Despite her hectic schedule and full diary of commitments, these camps are something Maddie has dreamed about for years;

 

“It was so cool, to see it all come to life, it has been my dream to deliver something like this ever since I have become England No1. I wanted to give back to the hockey world. A lot of work has been put in and my management team and Fortitude really made it possible. When I arrived it was an army of goal keepers – just incredible!”

 

“It is a very athletic position and requires you to be active in your kit; this is what we are trying to show here. The adults were knackered yesterday; they couldn’t get their heads around how tired they were. We are not just that person who stands there in goal anymore!”

 

I was in awe of how many keepers were in one place, something I had never seen before! I had a quick catch up with a few of the attendees; Sunday’s session was for teenagers, so not your most talkative bunch.

 

As I chatted to a group I noticed people had come from across the country to attend, from the depths of Cornwall all the way up to Birmingham. But they all had one thing in common; they were all grinning from ear to ear. Well once the helmets were off!

 

“I love taking people out and not letting people score any goals past me.” Something you wouldn’t normally hear a 14 year old girl say. However it wasn’t just girls in attendance, there was roughly a 50/50 split across genders; something hockey as a sport is very proud of.


Of course I brought up Rio when chatting with the mini keepers and they all burst into life, wanting to share where they were, how they felt, how proud they were to be a goalkeeper.

 

“I was on holiday and we watching it – it was amazing to see. I was telling everyone to be quiet!”

 

“I thought I could be like that one day, how she handles shootouts is so good. She comes across like there is no pressure; it just shows how much effort she puts into it and how much they wanted it.”

 

“After you save a goal it is a really good feeling and you feel really proud of yourself – and it’s great to have your team support you when you save.”

 

This is the legacy the team set out to create: To inspire a generation. This is something they are achieving and Maddie has certainly inspired plenty to put on the pads.


The World Cup ballot opens on 19th August, register your interest here.

Photo credit Tom Haigh