Taunton Hockey Club pic 1


Taunton Vale is a progressive hockey club turning out five men’s and four ladies senior sides weekly and a host of junior teams on a regular basis. They can boast excellent facilities and are constantly looking to improve their coaching and player development.

Clare Hayes is a professional hockey coach working in schools, clubs and colleges throughout Somerset. She also trains the men’s IIs at Taunton Vale and has recently become an enthusiastic BOLA Hockey Machine user.

“I love the machine because it allows me to isolate a skill without relying on the delivery from another player. Knowing that the ball will arrive in exactly the right place and at the right speed lets the player concentrate on the skill,” explains Clare, who is also the Assistant National Welsh Ladies Coach.

A good example is a drill to coach deflections. Clare sets up a situation where three attackers approach two defenders and encourages an early shot from a wide position. The machine is situated in a wide position on the other side of the goal (which is unattended for this drill) where a keeper would most likely deflect the ball. The machine delivers the ball across the goal and creates a situation for one the attackers to deflect the ball into the goal. Clare starts the machine at 50 mph and increases the speed, as the players grow more adept.

TAUNTON VALE are always looking for NEW PLAYERS and COACHES. Vale is particularly interested in developing goal keepers and is starting a GOALKEEPER ACADEMY. Anyone who is interested and lives in the area should contact Taunton Vale Hockey Club on 01823 252 225 or

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Beeston Hockey Club
BEESTON HOCKEY CLUB and LOUGHBOROUGH STUDENTS both train their goalies with BOLA Hockey Machines and have SPARTAN INTERNATIONAL as their goalkeeper coaching experts.

Grahame Mansell-Grace and Steve Bayer formed Spartan International in 2004. Grahame is Assistant Coach at Beeston and Wales Senior Goalkeeping coach. He has also coached England and USA national sides. Steve has fifteen years experience as a National League Goalkeeper and is now manager of Loughborough Students. He has worked with the England Academy and England U18s.

The BOLA Hockey Ball Machine is a key part of their arsenal and they use it on a regular basis to hone skills. The accuracy of the machine’s feed allows forwards and goalies to work together with crossing and tip in type drills.

Spartan are working with top goalkeepers at all levels and regularly hold schools for goalies at Beeston HC and Loughborough University. They currently coach George Pinner (Beeston & England) and Ali MacGregor (Loughborough, GB & Scotland).

Grahame said that he thought the major benefit of the machine was: “The fact that I can be confident in developing skills that demand consistency of feed. I also have the ability to use the varying speeds to monitor and evaluate exactly how the goalies cope in different situations. We use a lot of video analysis when we coach and it enables us to give consistent feedback as well as ensuring goalies go back into practice with developed and clear objectives.”

Safety is a key part of what Spartan do and Steve commented that, “We are creating lots of exercises specific to the ball machine and we take time designing drills that minimise the risk of injury. The BOLA Machine is an awesome tool and time must be spent in understanding is multi faceted capabilities.”

There are training drills and camp details on Spartan International’s website at www.spartanhockey.co.uk or ring (07815) 100575.
Goalkeeper Training
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