Dragflick secrets revealed: Drag flick technique in slow motion with adidas TX24 stick

Admittedly, this youtube clip is designed to advertise the adidas TX24 stick. However, because it’s such a high quality bit of film, rare on youtube, it’s great for seeing in huge detail the body positioning and stick position for executing a fast and furious drag flick.

At the start of the clip you can see her hand positioning – she has her the index finger of her bottom hand pointing down the stick, for example. You can also see where the ball is in relation to her feet when she first makes contact with it – and how far from the stick her forearm is at this point too.

Here’s the same player, or at least I think it’s the same one, explaining to kids how she does a drag flick. It’s 21.30 minutes into this clip..

Plenty to try for those attempting to learn this tricky shot!



Hockey gum shields – review

What hockey gum shields do you use and why?

I’d had the same gum shield for four seasons (eugh I know) but unfortunately forgot to take it out of my hockey skirt during a hot wash. It emerged as a gluey mess attached to the fabric of the skirt.

Time for a new one then. But it’s not as easy as it seems to find a comfortable, well-fitting gum shield.

I bought an Opro http://www.opro.com/ silver gum shield. It all looks impressive. There’s a special key thing to keep the air holes open while you are moulding it and help you get it out of the hot water more easily. But it didn’t fit well and I don’t like it. I followed the instructions to the letter – with perfect timings. But still found the gum guard loose and uncomfortable, especially at the top of the front. It seems too loose and threatens to fall out the whole time – not what you need in the middle of a match.

So I’ve now opted for a shock doctor Gel Max guard https://www.shockdoctor.com/gel-max-mouthguard://. It’s more tricky to mould than the Opro but I much prefer the final result. The gel seems thicker and moulded round my teeth better. When I take it out now I almost feel as if it’s going to pull out my teeth – which has to be the sign of a tight fit. In comparison, the Opro falls out far more easily.

The Shock Doctor doesn’t look as good. I’ve got the black and blue version which isn’t a good look to be honest. I prefer the pink Opro. But for performance and ability to speak while it’s in the Shock Doctor is winning every time.

Field Hockey Forum http://www.fieldhockeyforum.com/threads/gumshield-review.2958/ has lots of discussion on gum shields.

Scroll down the page a bit on the above link and you’ll find an post from a dentistry student recommending dentist custom-fitted guards. (Well I guess you can argue that they would say they’re best wouldn’t they).

Anyway, this post says that these are vacuum formed exactly to your teeth, cover les of your palate and fit much better which tends to make them feel more comfortable. You can also breathe and talk better with them in. They are also balance against your lower teeth so won’t dislodge as easily. But they are a lot more expensive. Ask your dentist for more information – and they will probably advise you to have one. (But again they would wouldn’t they.)

I’d love to hear from anybody with experience of a custom fitted one and whether they found it superior in fit and performance.

Finally, here’s a link to a specialist gum shield online shop. I’ve not used them personally – and they haven’t paid me to be on here – but i thought this looked worth checking out. It looks as if they offer an at-home service for a custom fit guard where you take an impression of your own teeth at home then send it off.

The Mouthguard Shop

Finally a tip on fitting gumshields from Total Hockey that seems sensible. Get the temperature up in your mouth before you put the heated gum shield in. Take a few sips of hot tea or a hot drink and then the moulding process is more effective.


Secrets of goal shooting from a baseline pass

This clip by high performance coach Larry McIntosh is excellent for learning how to receive a baseline pass and then shoot at goal from both right and left.

When you get a baseline pass from the right side of the goal he recommends positioning yourself with your feet in line with the goal so you can immediately strike. However, he shows that having one foot slightly back rather than planted feet will make your stronger and less liable to be taken off balance by another player.

At 1:47 in he praises the striker for getting their bottom hand low on the stick when receiving the ball. If you look carefully that hand is actually really low – giving much more control. He also recommends pushing the left hand forward to trap the ball more easily – but not too much or the ball will deflect in the wrong direction.

All you need now is to train a team mate to be on the baseline to send a pass to you…

An amazing trick for scoring: aim above keeper’s shoulder

Here’s a little trick to take the keeper by surprise and fire the ball straight in the net. Apparently, keepers find it particularly difficult to save balls that are just above their shoulder so there is a vulnerable sweet spot just there.

This video clip shows you how to set up to aim and lift the ball straight to this spot. Here, the coach ties some cones on to the back of the net to mark where the attacker should be aiming.

There’s a particularly interesting bit at the end of the clip where the coach trains the striker to fire over the keepers shoulder or head from right of the net. It looks an impossible shot and most keepers would expect the player to send the ball to a goal hanger. But instead, the striker aims and hits the back of the net unexpectedly.

Tricky skills, but worth it if you can master them.

Olympic hockey players reveal their secrets

Olympic hockey secrets
Alex Danson 

England Hockey’s magazine ‘The Clubhouse’ is a handy resource that’s designed to pass on useful tips, tactic and advice to players, coaches and club officials. For more info see England Hockey website

In the latest issue some of England’s biggest names have shared some handy skills tips. Here’s a few of the best…

Alex Danson: To get the ball in the air with more control, try bending your knees and lowering your knuckles towards the ground. This allows your stick to slip under the ball more easily and get it airborne. See the excellent Sportsister website for more about Alex Danson.

Henry Weir: For a more consistent ball-stopping technique, trap the ball inside your right foot while keeping it in line with your head. This makes co-ordinating your hands and eyes much easier.

Mark Gleghorne: When trapping a ball in the air, or bouncing ball, keep head as still as possible and cushion the ball with your stick. Don’t snatch at it because you won’t make as good contact.

Shona McCallin: When eliminating a player think about what you do with your body rather than just thinking about what you do with the ball. Use movement to fool your marker by shifting weight and faking to move the opposite way to where you want to go. It’s easier to control your body than the ball anyway.

Helen Richardson-Walsh: When making a dummy look in a different direction to where you want to go to convince a defender to sell themselves early.

Sally Walton: Work hard early it will pay dividends. Get yourself into position early to receive the ball so you can take it under less pressure and have a better idea of what’s around you.

Kate Richardson-Walsh: When making a one v one tackle on the run don’t get square on to the attacker. Instead, get your feet going in the direction you want the attacker to go as early as possible and shepherd them away from the danger area.

Simon Mantell: In deflection shots on goal, keep your feet facing towards the target to be able to extend and dive if the ball ends up being played in front of you. Also when shooting on reverse stick, make sure the face of the stick is facing directly up. This means you can get a clean connection with the leading edge and generate more power.



Jinking 3D skills to beat a field hockey defender

Just discovered this useful masterclass on jinking from coach Darrin Rupecht. I was an assistant coach last weekend with a group of under 12 girls trying these skills out for the first time and it was incredible how quickly they picked it up. The thinking now is that youngsters should start learning and using these skills immediately, at all levels of hockey. Nothing like starting as you mean to go on…

I like how this video shows you close up how to position your hands and the stick for a jink. And how useful it can be to beat a defender’s stick in the D and then take a sneaky shot on goal. Watching the Rabobank world cup earlier this year I can see that these are the tricks the most skilled attackers are using when they appear, against the odds, to beat a circle of defenders blocking them and find their way into the circle.

Here’s a video skills clip but the bit I want you to watch is in the opening sequence at 20 seconds in. It’s a superb reverse stick jink over a defender’s stick.

Master these jinking skills and you’ll be unbeatable. And just to show how unbeatable here’s a vine clip showing the best of the best jinking skills…