Why hockey can be a pain in the elbow

tennis elbow

It has all sorts of names: tennis elbow; golfers elbow; lateral epicondylitis; medial epicondylitis – but I just call it elbow pain. I know lots of hockey players of a certain age, usually over 40, who have their elbow strapped up during matches and complain of pain.Interestingly, it’s also usually their left arm.

I had the same sort of pain where you don’t feel it too much during the match because the adrenaline is pumping but at other times it’s painful to touch anywhere around the elbow. It also hurts when you pick up objects or use your joint. Mine seemed to move around, sometimes it was on the outside of the elbow and sometimes on the inside. A bit of googling reveals these are commonly called tennis elbow (on the outside of the joint) and golfers elbow (on the inside of the joint).

It seemed to have the same type of symptoms so I’m arguing for the creation of a new name – hockey elbow. Although actually, my brother plays a lot of cricket and he has it too so we figured it was probably because of similar action and forces the sports exert on the left elbow.

Meanwhile, I also upped my strength training regime with a personal trainer. A tough 45-minute session each week lifting heavy weights and some more home sessions in the rest of the week. I was worried it would aggravate the hockey-elbow but strangely the more I lifted weights the better it seemed to get.

I am convinced that a whole regime of upper body strength work, including bicep girls, tricep dips – the whole lot – has improved the bad elbow.


I also used a FlexBar for elbow exercises and this has helped too. I keep it by my desk at work to remind me to use it every other day during a quick coffee break.

Train yourself faster and fitter for hockey

An elite midfielder will cover 9k during a game, according to a report in England Hockey magazine. The best way to boost fitness for the pitch is via sprint drills and gym work, says the report.

The Ladder (also called Suicide Runs)

Set up five cones in a line, all equal distance apart. The distance from cone one to cone five should be about 20 to 40 yards depending on your fitness. Start at the first cone, sprint to the second, touch then back to the first cone. Then to the second cone, touch and sprint back to the first. Then the third, fourth, fifth, fourth again, third, second and finish. Complete exercise in sets of five – climbing up and down the ladder is one set.


Set up four cones in a T-shape – three in a line and one forming the stem of the T. Carry out the exercise as shown on the video clip above.

Gym fitness

Strengthen your legs and core. Try…

Cable Lat Pull Down.

Grasp with a wide grip, pull down seated with straight back. Pull bar to upper chest and return. Works your back increasing your power and downswing while hitting.

Barbell squat

Position barbell high on the back of your shoulders. Bend knees, keep back straight. Descend until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Builds quad strength to improve acceleration and explosive power.

Romanian deadlift

Works hamstrings, lower back, upper back, abs – strengthens core while working tendons most likely to be injured during hockey.