Pitch talk and calling during a game: here’s a clever call hockey players can make

I’ve just attended one of the new England Hockey coaching workshops ‘Coaching for Club Players’. It was led by England and GB hockey international, and talented coach, Darren Cheesman and was full of valuable information.

During the course, Darren talked about noise and calling on the pitch – and how effective it can be in upping the energy as well as being useful tactically.

For example, a player can call out loudly to a team mate explaining what they are doing – so the defender can hear it easily. This could be telling a team mate you are going to take a defender with you to create space deliberately.

“This defender will come with me,” Darren explained that you could say to a team mate on the pitch as you are moving back to leave the goal more open for other attackers. Or “The defender is coming with me.” The talk seems as if it is meant for a fellow team mate, but it’s deliberately loud enough for a defender to hear – and it’s really aimed at them.

He explained that this kind of talk is something the Australian men do very well – they call loudly and more than other teams to create high energy.

“By telling the defender what you are doing it is a double edged sword,” says Darren.If you tell your opposition you are effectively tricking them out of the game by deliberately pulling them away to create space, psychologically they will be in two minds about whether to follow you or not. Their natural inclination might be to resist the trick.

They might not want to do it and might not go with you. In which case it leaves you free  to get the ball anyway because you don’t have a defender with you. If they do come with you, you are then creating space for another attacker. A double-edged sword indeed.

You might just find that calling like this, leaves them lingering somewhere ineffectively in between.

Obviously, it’s not a good idea to call and say things like I’m going to lead here, when it gives no advantage. But you can shout things like ‘we’re in a two v one here with this defender’ – it can up the tempo.



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