#1 How to play left midfield in field hockey: be a great outlet

Left mid

#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

Defending tips…

  • 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!

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