I’m out injured at the moment – torn calf – so I’ve been watching my team from the sidelines. I have learned just as much watching as playing this last couple of weeks. Firstly, I’ve noticed that the winning, best teams always play the ball wide and make the best use of their mid and wings to beat defenders and send the ball into the D. The losing team is almost always the team that tries to plough the ball down the middle of the pitch because they inevitably get stopped.
Also, I’ve spotted that a crucial ingredient of a winning team is their ability to intercept the ball. Intercepting means jumping in and getting to the ball when it’s being passed. Basically, you get to the ball before the opposition when they are passing it between themselves. This is a powerful hockey tool – and marks out the team that really wants the ball. Slower, less-drilled teams, and more inexperienced players, will simply wait for the ball to come to them instead of running forward towards it. This leaves them wide-open for you to jump in first and steal the ball from them. If you are speedy this is also a great weapon.
Next time you play a match, have in your mind from the start that your aim is to jump in and steal the ball when it’s being passed by the opposite team.
I can’t find a video of how to do this yet – but in the meantime this web site offers quite a good explanation. Click here… Interception