Drag flick – Canadian national team captain shares his tips


Canadian national team captain Scott Tupper shares a few tips on how he executes a winning drag flick…

# Start moving towards the ball when it has half way across the D after the injector has released it.

# Carry the ball as long as possible

# Really release through to the goal with all your body weight and momentum

# Get a footwork routine that you can just repeat each time so you don’t have to think about it.

# There is no one correct way to do a drag flick. Just find the way that suits you best and keep rehearsing it over and over


The deceptive sweep in field hockey


The sweep is a useful hockey move and this builds on that. This video shows how by opening up your shoulder and getting low, you can fake as if to pass one way and then sweep the ball in another direction. Tricky to defend! The brilliant slow motion footage as 48 seconds shows exactly how it’s done. Go forth and deceive…

Defending – tips from Shiv Jagday

A new video Tackling Drills, Techniques & Strategies for Field Hockey by former Olympic hockey coach Shiv Jagday has some useful tips.

#1 It’s more important to know when to commit and tackle than how to tackle. The skill is in recognising the situation and knowing what to do: poke, block or just channel.

#2 Never over commit with a poke tackle because you will have shifted your weight so far forward you can’t recover. Instead, just hassle with quick small steps and put the forward under huge pressure. Put artificial pressure on so player doesn’t know if you are going to commit or not. ‘Like a cobra, then a cobra strikes you dead,’ he says. ‘Look at the great boxers. They show the left then jab right.’ Put pressure then back off.

#3 If you move your shoulder rather than facing straight on you can channel the player where you want them to go.

For information on buying the video go to


This girl can – how not to pick hockey teams

Why grassroots hockey should never use the ‘captains-pick-teams-one-by-one’ method of team sorting….

Hockey is a competitive sport, but the Back to Hockey campaign is all inclusive. It welcomes players of all ages and abilities.

However, there’s an inherent contradiction in this. A contradiction in the idea of putting out the strongest team and yet encouraging everybody to take part. It’s my belief that everybody should be able to play and to find the right level. So how do you pick teams and deal with this contradiction?

I certainly know how not to do it! Recently, I watched a couple of times as a local grassroots club sorted themselves out into informal teams for club games and training. It was suggested that the club use the ‘two captains pick who they want’ method of sorting teams. A couple of players were named as captains and they had to choose who they wanted one by one. They were too young to know that it might be wise to pick a weaker player first and just went for the stronger players first, looking uncomfortable as they did it.

And guess what? The older Back to Hockey players were picked last – after the gifted youngsters and the more skilled, experienced players. One older player, who loves playing but only started a couple of months’ ago whispered, looking very hurt, ‘I was picked last of course, along with all the bottom team players. I’m rubbish. I don’t know why I bother playing.’ Yet the club is short of players and needs her for the lower division team. She’s a valuable club member. This was humiliating and wrong. I was shocked this is still happening in grassroots hockey.

I can’t express strongly enough how wrong this is. There is no reason to be picking teams in this way. Even the argument that the pickers should pick the weakest first doesn’t work for me. Leaving your Back to Hockey players last to be picked is not good for the grassroots sport.

I was utterly outraged. Not least since I was subjected to this ritual humiliation myself with netball at school. I was tiny and often picked towards the end for netball, along with the other short girls. This is why I now hate netball. Doing this in a club achieved nothing but make people hate hockey and never come back.

I’ve seen the best coaches simply and discreetly hand out bibs, apparently randomly, and nobody notices and feels left out.

Meanwhile, a much better approach at my club Norwich City HC. Coaches randomly numbered players into four groups. Then small unit play between teams with the losing group  swapping to play other losing team and winners playing each other. Allows players to be stretched against stronger players and have some success against weaker teams. Worked really well and was impressive.

What do you think is the best way to sort teams in club games and training matches – and any informal games?

How to defend a drag flick

The latest issue of Planet Hockey (issue 3, see link below to download) is well worth a look and has an interesting feature on defending a drag flick.

It suggests…

#1 Prepare early and decide on a defensive set up. Many teams have set running patterns for a penalty corner. For example first runner pressures drag flicker, second and third runners defend the possible lay offs and deflectors and post defenders cover post.

#2 Point at pressure target (ie drag flicker at top of D) with hips and shoulders. Only turn your head towards the injector.

#3 Adopt a relaxed stance.

#4 Offsetting. This technique that some teams use to defend flicks sees goal keeper covering one side and runner and post defender attempting to channel flicker in the direction GK is covering.