Drag flick masterclass with Kwan Browne and Sky Sports

A feature in the Telegraph (link at end of this blog post) talks about the importance of the drag flick – and why it’s lacking in Team GB women. It also hails Grace Balsdon as the next drag flick specialist.

The piece also links to a brilliant drag flick masterclass from Kwan Browne. Watch right to the end as he teaches the presenter the total beginner’s guide to drag flick footwork.

  • He approaches at a 45 degree angle for more power
  • Keep head low over the ball. Really important.
  • Pull from far behind body to get more power.
  • Last big step.
  • Follow through with where you’ve delivered the drag flick.
  • Left foot in line or in front of ball.

Kwan says he’s worked with javelin coach John Thrower (that name seems ridiculously apt) who suggested it’s important to break down every part of the drag flick to make sure each is contributing to maximum power. The angle of your feet and more hip rotation can apparently give you a more powerful flick.

Telegraph article

Jamie Dwyer’s secret weapon? Tape near the heel of his hockey stick

This is interesting. At 1:46 mins into this youtube clip, Jamie Dwyer mentions that he puts a bit of tape near the heel of his stick. “I put a little bit of tape on my stick to get that softness of the feel, he says.

It’s across at a diagonal and I wanted to know more so I contacted Jamie Dwyer’s company JDH. A quick tweet did the trick along the lines ‘Wondering what sort of tape and what it’s for?’

Here’s the reply…

that is just medical strapping tape commonly used for injuries. It is placed just above the stick head for cushioning traps.

Capture jamie dwyer

Let me know if you’ve tried this – I’d like to know what you think about whether it works for you or not?


How to choose and buy a new field hockey stick

Apologies in advance, but this post is going to be a work in progress. I need a new stick.  My much-loved Grays Jumbow Grays Jumbow gx10000 review has worn to the point where the hook area is reduced. Time for a new one. But, what oh what to buy when the choice is mindblowing!

Well, I’m definitely going to buy another Grays. I’ve tried TK and voodoo in the past and don’t really like them as much as Grays.

But with hindsight I now realise that my Jumbow is a specialist drag flicking stick –


Ahem, I’m not a drag flicker by trade so maybe I need a different stick this time.

So what does the super player Jamie Dwyer think about selecting a stick? He talks about stick selection on the above clip. He says…

  • Light sticks. The trend is towards light sticks these days. ‘Players want stiffer, lighter, thinner’ with some going for as light as 500g. Light sticks are best for ‘using skills easily’ so you can push and slap easily. But the disadvantage is that a light stick has a really small sweet spot making hitting more tricky.Trapping is also more difficult as with a light stick it can bounce off more easily. (Oh noooo I thought, I want a heavier stick).Easier for dribbling and 3D skills.
  • Heavy sticks. Bigger sweet spot, often best for defenders.Better for trapping the ball ‘with a heavier stick it just sticks to it.’
  • Bow. The lower the bow is to the head of the stick, the better it is for lifting, drag flicks and aerials, apparently. (Hence my jumbow). Jamie Dwyer favours a straighter standard bow stick, which is food for thought. He likes the balance point to be 41cm from the top of the hook.

Here’s what Team USA Katie O’Donnell says about choosing a stick – and she’s such a fantastic player she should know a thing or two about it!

Katie O’Donnell on choosing a stick

She says…

  • She likes a lighter stick because she plays in attack.
  • She likes carbon in her stick because it gives a harder hit. Although this makes the ball tend to bounce off your stick more so you need softer hands.
  • Traditional advice is to choose a hip-height stick, but she likes an inch longer.”That extra inch gives me an inch reach when I’m trying to steal a ball off a defender, or when I’m on the post it’s an extra inch to reach the ball and put it in the net.”
  • She doesn’t like a big bow (that’s how much the shaft of the stick bends) because she’s not a drag flicker. She’s injector so she likes a ball to fit in the toe- some are so hooked the ball won’t fit in there. I’m a tipper so most of the time a bow doesn’t make much difference.

Here’s a guide to looking at the different stick bows and what they can do for you…


So maybe I should get  the Grays GR7000 Composite Hockey Stick – which is a straighter stick. The straighter sticks are cheaper than the drag flicking sticks too – why is that?

I’ve been happy with my Jumbow, but maybe I’d be even happier with a straighter, heavier stick. But I play a lot off my reverse stick and love backstick shots, which apparently the Jumbow is also good for. What to do? Any ideas or comments gratefully received…

Here’s what I’m looking for in a stick… probably impossible to find all in one product, but anyway in an ideal world!

  • Good for trapping and receiving the ball – probably my number one requirement.
  • Good for stick skills
  • Good for striking on goal
  • Good for reverse stick hits and backstick shots

Backhand shots. It looks to me as if the low bow, such as on my Gray’s Jumbow, and the adidas tx 24 are designed for harder hitting back hand shots. See the tweets from adidas hockey below, publicising the tx24…

As it stands at the moment I’m leaning towards going for the Grays Dynabow  Grays Dynabow not least because it’s used by one of my favourite women players in the whole world, Korea’s No 10 Park Mi Hyun.Park Mi Hyun I watched her do the most amazing backstick shot I have ever seen just in front of me, when Korea played New Zealand at the world cup in June this year. It was mind blowingly impressive. If she has that stick, I want to channel her backstick awesomeness and use one myself.


Short or tall – don’t look at others, play to your own strengths, says Mark Knowles

Mark Knowles talks to juniors

In this clip Mark Knowles is talking to some junior players. At 19.20 minutes in he talks about why it’s important to play to your strengths. This resonated with me as I’m very petite!

“Don’t look at what everyone else is doing. Play to your own strengths and attributes,” he says.

Dubbed the best player in the world, Jamie Dwyer, is small but excellent. Mark Knowles says that there’s lots of smaller players and they play to their strengths “size isn’t everything. Not every

He also says trapping is one of the most important skills in hockey. If you don’t get that right you can’t do much on the pitch.

He says he’s not the strongest himself but plays to his strengths which are outletting and reading the game.

The big guys also have their role to play in hockey. They are strong on the ball and hard to get off the ball.

“If we were all the same we’d be no good as a team,” he says.

What takes you to a higher level is movement off the ball. When juniors pass they often stay still but when experienced players pass the ball they immediately move.



Timing your food for games

Hockey nutrition guide

New Zealand hockey has come up with a nutrition plan for hockey players (see link above) that advises on how to time your food intake before games for optimum performance…

More about what exactly to eat in the booklet link above too…

Mealtimes For Games
8.30am game
Breakfast 6.00am-7.00am
Game 8.30am
Post Game snack 10.30am
Lunch 12.30am
Afternoon snack 3.30pm
Evening meal 6.30pm
Supper 9.00pm
10.30am game
Breakfast 7.00am-8.00am
Game 10.30am
Post Game 12.30am
Lunch 2.30am
Afternoon snack 5.30pm
Evening meal 7.00pm
Supper 9.00pm
13h game
Breakfast 7.00am
Pre Match 10.00am-11.00am
Game 1.00pm
Post Game 3.00pm
Afternoon snack 5.00pm
Evening meal 7.00pm
Supper 9.00pm
Evening game
Breakfast 8.00am
Morning tea 10.00am
Lunch 12.00pm
Pre match 3.00pm
Game 6.00pm
Recovery 8.00pm
Evening meal 10.00pm

What to eat before, during and after a hockey match


Push pass – getting the follow through right

This video is a little dull but bear with – right at the end it shows the difference in the stick follow through on a good and weak push pass.

To get a great push pass you have to follow through and point your stick in the direction you want the ball to go.

  • Weight on back foot
  • Follow through with stick higher and pointed where you want ball to go
  • Rotation in upper body rather than stiff shoulders