Hand grip while striking in field hockey

For months at training I’ve been striking hard – at least I can do that now – but missing the goal by an inch or two to the left, or even hitting the left-hand goal post.

I couldn’t work out why this was happening. I tried pointing my shoulder at the goal, pointing my foot at the goal, but it still kept happening. Then my coach advised me to take a closer look at my hand grip while striking. As I went to hit the ball my lower hand was always twisted too far round to the right.

To strike on target make sure the V between your thumb and fingers are both in line with the top line of the stick. Twist the bottom hand to the right and the strike will go to the left of the goal – which is the mistake I was making.

I am tempted to draw a line along the top of my stick handle when the toe is pointed upright – this will help me line up the V between my thumb and fingers correctly.

Here are a couple of terribly poor quality snaps taken in my office(apologies for that I will try to upload some better ones at some point). They are designed to illustrate what I mean.

I wouldn’t usually have my thumb sticking up like this but I’ve done it here so you can see the V between my thumb and fingers better. In a real grip your thumb would grip round the stick!

The first picture shows the correct grip and the second one what I was doing before that made me hit the ball slightly to the left of the goal. What I am trying to show is that the incorrect grip is where my bottom hand twist slightly round to the right which makes the ball fire off towards the left more – and made me miss the goal!

Changing my grip in this way has made a huge, huge difference to the accuracy of my shot. The challenge is remembering to do it in the heat of striking and when there is so much else to think about – head down, footwork, etc…

Ignore sticking out thumb - this is to exaggerate V between thumb and fingers. In essence V of top hand and V of bottom hand should line up with top of stick (shown as white chalk line on my stick).
Correct striking grip: Ignore sticking out thumb – this is to exaggerate V between thumb and fingers. In essence V of top hand and V of bottom hand should line up with top of stick (shown as white chalk line on my stick).

 

 

This is what I was doing - and which made ball fire to left of goal. Again ignore sticking up thumb which is just to show you exaggerated V between thumb and fingers). In this grip my bottom hand twists too far to the right and the Vs of top and bottom hand are not aligned with white line on top of stick.
Incorrect striking grip: This is what I was doing – and which made ball fire to left of goal. Again ignore sticking up thumb which is just to show you exaggerated V between thumb and fingers). In this grip my bottom hand twists too far to the right and the Vs of top and bottom hand are not aligned with white line on top of stick.

Happy striking!

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Author: Liz Hollis

I am a journalist, media and content consultant.