Do You Want To Learn To Play Hockey?
There is a lot of technique in the game, so playing small-sided games and fun hockey drills is the perfect way to start.
We have put together some top tips for kids that want to learn more, as well as fun facts that you probably didn’t know already about field hockey.
So, let’s take a closer look, below.
How long is a match?
Since 2017, a game of field hockey consists of four periods of 15 minutes. The game includes a 2-minute break after every period, as well as a 15-minute rest at half time before changing ends. The game will start at the beginning of the match and after every goal with a pass from the centre of the field, like in football.
What do you need?
The team consists of 11 players; 10 field players and 1 goalkeeper. To play safely, it’s essential that you have the right equipment. This includes a hockey stick that is the right size for you, a gum shield, and shin pads for field players. Goalkeepers require additional protective equipment, such as padded shorts, chest guards, groin protectors, neck and arm guards, as well as heavily padded hand protectors.
How To Get Started
When you first start playing hockey, you will begin with smaller teams. This will help you to get used to the stick, as well as dribbling and passing the ball. There is a lot of technique in the game, so playing small-sided games and fun hockey drills is the perfect way to start.
What does it all mean?
Before you start training and especially before you play your first match, it’s important to know the specific hockey terms that are used. So, we have included some below to get you started!
- Attacker – the forward player that tries to score the goals
- Assist – this is the play or two before a goal that helped set up the goal
- Defender – the player that works to stop the other team from scoring
- Dribble – this refers to running whilst controlling the ball with your stick
- Flick – moving the stick to lift the ball off the ground
- Push – you push the ball with your stick when you move it along the ground
- Scoop – this involves placing the head of the stick under the ball and moving it forward by lifting it in the air
At the 2012 Olympics held in London, hockey was actually the 3rd most watched sport!
Use a wall or get your siblings or parents involved, so you can pass to them, dodge and tackle them
Fun Facts About Hockey
Did you know that:
- At the 2012 Olympics held in London, hockey was actually the 3rd most watched sport!
- In men’s hockey, the swing speed can reach up to 103 miles per hour – the fastest of any sport!
- Originally hockey was called shinty.
- Hockey is actually the 2nd most played sport in the world after football/soccer.
- The sport is played by over 3 million people across over 100 countries – that’s a lot of people!
- Hockey is one of the oldest team sports in the world. In fact, it dates back nearly 3000 years to the classical Greek era! In the 1700s, modern-day hockey was actually first played in Scotland.
- Three famous celebrities used to play hockey when they were younger, can you guess who they are? They’re Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Middleton, and Emma Watson!
Tips To Help You Learn
Learning something new is really exciting, especially hockey! Although you may sometimes feel a little nervous about trying a new sport, our tips are here to help you to learn to play hockey, so you don’t have to worry about trying a new sport and can feel confident when you try it!
Get A Good Hockey Stick
Part of developing a good technique is to have quality equipment to use. You need to have a good stick from the beginning; otherwise, you may find that it has to be replaced several times. If you want more control and command of the ball, then you should choose a composite stick, as opposed to a wooden hockey stick.
Practice Stick Skills
Once you have chosen the stick you are going to use, it’s time to practice! Stick skills refer to dodging, dribbling, tackling, and hitting, so once you have these foundational skills, then you will be able to expand on these and improve your gameplay.
As long as you have a stick and ball, you can practice at home by watching step-by-step tutorials that will help you to improve. Plus, by practicing at home, you don’t have to worry about anyone watching you.
Use a wall or get your siblings or parents involved when you practice, so you can pass to them, dodge them, and even tackle them. By getting better at home, when you then go to a training session or a match, you will feel more confident when you step foot on the hockey field.
Another top tip we would recommend if you want to learn to play hockey is to watch as many games as possible. The flow and movement of field hockey are unique to the game, so one of the best ways to get yourself exposed to it is by actually watching the game.
Whether you go to watch local games or videos on YouTube, watch the game in as much detail as possible. For example, focus on the different positions and what they are doing; watch them when they have the ball and when they don’t too. Then when you start playing, you will be able to bring these new skills with you and impress your team!
These top tips should give you some things to work on and do before you step foot on the hockey field for the first time. Remember to have fun and practice makes perfect!