This video from The Hockey Performance Academy is worth a look if you want to perfect the spin – turning the ball in a circular movement to escape a defender. It’s demonstrated here by Ryan Julius from South Africa U21. He says …
# It’s particularly useful for left-side players
# You need to stay low and keep your stick angled low to the ground.
# Keep weight on left foot and pivot off this foot.
Left midfield as a defender
# Your role is defensive marking role first and foremost A thread from Craig Boyne on field hockey forum says the left half should mark their opposing winger. Another adds that if you are eliminated by that winger, sprint back behind your full backs in case they get beaten. You have to retreat into the circle as the last line of defence.
# Last line of defence? Australia’s 80’s era David Bell used to save many balls going into goal even when the keeper was beaten. In Pakistan, apparently, the theory is that LH is the second goalkeeper and the last man.
#1 Left mid tips and techniques
#1 Act as a great outlet on 16s
- Left midfield is a tricky but crucial position on the pitch. One of the roles can be to act as an outlet when your defender is taking a 16.
- This screengrab above is from a national league UK match between Reading and University of Birmingham. Look how left mid is positioning herself right on the line ready to take a pass from her defender – who in this instance is looking for a pass more infield. Note how the left mid is right on the line to open up the space.
- Also her feet are in a ready-to-go position, facing in the direction she’ll want to head if she gets the ball.
- Her body is angled towards the defender. She’s ready to receive and drive.
- Below is the video so you can see what happens next. It’s in the first few opening seconds of the video. The defender actually messes up because she takes too long to pass and a Birmingham attacker makes a run at her, nearly stealing the ball. Another defender has to step in and help out to clear it safely.
Click here for more on playing left midfield
- Score if possible. Very rarely take the odd ball from the top of the circle and take a shot at goal, but arguably LH shouldn’t be in the circle too much.
- Take free hits on left side Responsible for taking the majority of free hitson the left hand side of the field
- Priority passes include Inside Right, Right Wing, Centre Forward, Centre Half• Outlet passes include Right Back, Left Back
- The midfield is the engine room of the team. It is required to support and contribute to the attack (especially the Inside Right and Inside Left), but also has key defensive responsibilities – ensuring the opposition can not make clean breaks through the middle of the field.
- Midfielders must be good distributors of the hockey ball and have exceptional game awareness. Creativity separates the best from the rest!
Key attributes of a good midfielder:
• Fit, fast and agile with good acceleration
• Strong all-round basic skills, including passing, receiving, ball carrying and shooting
• Vision and game awareness – understanding of where other players are, and where the best opportunities are
• Ability to switch play or change the point of attack i.e. move the ball from one side of the field to the other efficiently
• Understanding of both man to man and zonal defence, and ability to correctly decide which approach to use
• Ability to appropriately weight passes
• Understanding of angles and lines of attack and defence in midfield play
- Aggressive running on an arc
- Keep your distance – don’t get too close to an atacker
- Side on and under the ball
- Midfield you can over press because then the defender can elimate striker line and your line with a hard pass.
- Front mark in midfield to deny the person getting the ball, goalside mark nearer the castle.
- Aggressive running on an ac. Not necessarily making a tackly but forcing an error and putting pressure on to force turnover.
- Deny all passes!
Positioning yourself available for a pass on the baseline is a great way to make space. Defenders hate it. Look at what the player in white does around nine seconds into this clip of Bowdon Hightown v University of Birmingham. She heads for the baseline giving the player who has moved the ball wide a neat passing option with an angle that eliminates the defender on her non-stick side. The first player then cuts into the D for a pass which leads to a shot on goal. Didn’t work this time, but a great routine.
In another match (watch at about 1 minute in) here’s another great example of the base line being used on the left. It led to an attack on goal then a penalty flick.
That moment when the ball is coming to you, you’re in the D, last player standing and you need to deflect from the left to score. No pressure then!
To help ensure you actually capitalise on those lovely passes from your teammates -here’s how Hockey Australia suggest you can deflect the ball from the left.
# Receive the ball slightly to the right side of the body.
# Hold the stick stationary at the desired angle of the deflection. (This is key as you don’t have to do a massive sweep with the stick).
# Allow the ball to hit the stick – again Hockey Australia say you don’t have to sweep.
# Also if you’re trying to score, make sure you are still inside the D otherwise you’ll still need somebody else on the end of your deflection, to deflect into the goal. Hmmm!
Here’s a few clips I’ve found that can help you learn more about block tackling in hockey.
A block tackle is a useful way to steal the ball from an opponent – but what’s the best way to do it perfectly?
# Force player on to your strong stick side by lining up your right shoulder with theirs. This forces them to your strong stick side. Take a 45 degree angle with your feet so you can rotate your body.
# Don’t get too close or you risk being eliminated. Be about a step and a half away from the ball carrier.
# Don’t necessarily look to get ball straight away. Jab tackle, not to get the ball but to force them into where you want them. Then block tackle – see 4:38 into the Ryde Hockey video below.