Leading in an arc – how to create space

This drill with coach Steve Lancaster shows a tactic for creating space behind a defender. He asks the players to run in an arc. When they just run straight across to receive the ball he explains that the defender can just easily move with them and get the ball in front of them.

When they run in an arc it brings the defender with them and they then run back quickly in the gap created behind to receive the ball.

“Make the defender come with you and it creates space behind you,” says Lancaster.

How to score tomahawk backstick goals

Netherlands vs Argentina – Women’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Semi Final [12/6/2014]

I love this goal.

There’s a fine tomahawk goal by Dutch player Xan de Waard on this clip around ten minutes into the match (21 minutes in on this video). It’s a textbook example of how to create space by changing pace. She receives the ball in the D and looks for a conventional hit goal but can’t see any space. She changes direction, leaves the defender floundering and then powers in a lovely backstick shot. Wonderful stuff.

The commentator says: “She knows as soon as the ball comes to her and she drives forehand that the defender has to stay reverse stick. She peels back in. Space to swing.”

A beginner’s guide to choosing a field hockey stick

By Sean Nelson

Editor Field Hockey Review

Just starting field hockey or need a new stick? There are so many different options that finding the right stick for you can be a daunting task, writes Sean Nelson, editor of Field Hockey Review

Money: Unless you are playing at a high level, you’re probably not going to get your money’s worth with a $400 (£250) stick but, on the other hand, a flimsy stick might hold your game back. A decent entry level hockey stick can cost anywhere from $70-$150 (£45-£100) with the top tier at $250+(£160) .

Position: Another important factor to keep in mind is your position and personal play style. Backs tend to prefer a heavier, more solid stick for traps and tackles while forwards typically go for a lightweight design for skill and speed with midfielders somewhere in the middle.

Bow: Another important design feature of the field hockey stick is the bow (see diagram below) This is the curvature of the stick that help in overheads and drag flicks. Some sticks designed for drag flicking, for example, have a pronounced bow low on the stick to help sling the ball faster during this tricky move.

bow of a stick

However, these skills are usually the preserve of more experienced players so it would be wise to steer clear of sticks with a large or low bow and go for a flat or regular bow.

Materials: Modern sticks can be classed into two main material categories: wooden-core and composite-core with both having their own set of pros and cons. Composite hockey sticks are made from a mix of  kevlar, carbon and fibreglass,. These have a high strength-to-weight ratio, are more rigid and hit harder. Wooden-core sticks offer a softer touch and feel to the ball. The more forgiving nature of the wooden-core stick would make it ideal for beginner and intermediate players looking to hone their skills as well as the bonus of often being cheaper that their composite counterparts.

Size: A common belief is that the stick should sit a couple inches below the waistline. Others favour a longer stick. Slightly larger sticks offer the obvious advantage of a larger surface area and longer reach but can be too big or too heavy. A shorter stick can be more comfortable while also encouraging the player to get lower to the ground. Adult stick lengths vary from 33-37 inches depending on personal height and preference and there really is no wrong choice, it is important to find what works. (In the UK most adult sticks are sold in either 36.5 or 37.5 so perhaps not that much choice when it comes to selecting. Basically, either short or tall!)

Feel: The final and most important thing to look for when buying a new stick is the overall feel. Try to test a range of sticks to find one that you feel works and are comfortable. Borrow a stick from a team mate or test out as much as you can in the shop.

Good luck with finding your perfect match!

2015-16 season rule changes for hockey. No more long corners

There are some FIH rule changes for the coming 2015-1 season. Click here to find out more detail about the 2015 rule changes

The key ones players need to know about are…

  • No more long corners. If the ball is sent over the back line unintentionally by a defender, it won’t be a long corner now. Instead, the ball will be moved back to the 23 line, in line with where it went off the back of the pitch.
  • If an attacking free hit is awarded just outside the circle, it can be taken from that point and will no longer be moved back to the dotted line. The ball still needs to move five feet or be touched by another player before entering the circle.

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How to inject the ball on a short corner

how to inject the ball on a short corner , penalty corner.

It has various names – drag out or injection. It’s all the same move and involves sending the ball out from the backline on a penalty short corner. It’s pretty difficult to do well and there are lots of variables that can be adjusted to suit your playing style and likes and dislikes. There are a lot of techniques. None are right or wrong, it’s what works for you. Here’s a few pointers…

Foot distance from ball: Glen Turner likes his back foot a little further away from the ball than most elite players. “I feel like it gives me more power to be a bit wider,” he says. “It depends how flexible you are.”

Glen Turner drag out foot position

Injection starting position

Top image: Glen Turner foot position on drag flick. Bottom image: From another Youtube video to show a different elite player who positions their foot closer to the ball. 

Back foot: Behind line. Then follows through afterwards to create even more power.

Head: He always looks up to look where he’s sending the ball and then back down again. He looks at the person he’s sending it to first. Looks back at his stick and gets the ball in position.

Front foot: Glen Turner has his pointing towards the direction he wants the ball to travel. He puts quite a lot of weight on the front foot before he goes because he feels this helps disguise cues from the runners.Try to have as least movement as possible to disguise what you’re going to do.

Glen Turner 2

Shoulder: Stance in line with target.

Hands: Can have finger of right hand pointed down the stick – or not. It’s a personal choice. The lower hand is the main controlling hand. In the following video, showing the German women warming up, watch a push out injection with the finger-down technique.

Stick: Top of handle pointed at target.

Ball: Gains momentum by staying on your stick as long as possible.

Elbow: Loads of momentum coming from left elbow. Some have arms relatively straight as Glen Turner does in the video still below.

Glen turner three

Just as further food for thought, there is now a trend towards a moving approach to a short corner. Find out more on this video link Movement v static penalty corner