How to slap hit with added power and deception

The quality of this video isn’t that great – but it still makes some interesting points about how you might be able to make your slap hit a little more powerful. It’s also great on how to slap hit with deception.

Ryde Hockey Club high performance coach Larry McIntosh points out that hand and foot position can affect power. He suggests that hands together at the top of the stick might be the best – but it’s a matter of choice because some players say this feels odd. But with the hands together you can move the wrists more.

Foot position – a wide stance allows for movement through the slap shot and consequently more power.

Deception to the right. There’s also some valuable info in here about the best way to make a slap hit with deception – looking as if you are going to hit it straight but then sending the ball off to the right instead. Larry McIntosh suggests that it’s easier if you receive the ball higher on the stick when you want to make this move. It helps the ball accelerate down the stick and gives you more leeway with the movement. For a more direct hit without deception you would aim to receive the ball a little lower down the shaft of the stick.

Do you want to eliminate players? Try ‘the ramp’


Just spotted this new Youtube clip on the Grays twitter feed @GraysHockey. It shows a brilliant little stick work trick you can use to eliminate a defender and it’s called ‘the ramp’. A great skill to use as you are coming into the attacking D.

It involves a little twist of the stick to create a ramp that can lift the ball over an opponents stick. Fantastic. Give it a go…

It’s from Inside Hockey and presented by Shea McAleese.

How to use ‘the spin’ move to escape a defender


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.

#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!

Intercepting the ball in field hockey

I’m out injured at the moment – torn calf – so I’ve been watching my team from the sidelines. I have learned just as much watching as playing this last couple of weeks. Firstly, I’ve noticed that the winning, best teams always play the ball wide and make the best use of their mid and wings to beat defenders and send the ball into the D. The losing team is almost always the team that tries to plough the ball down the middle of the pitch because they inevitably get stopped.

Also, I’ve spotted that a crucial ingredient of a winning team is their ability to intercept the ball. Intercepting means jumping in and getting to the ball when it’s being passed. Basically, you get to the ball before the opposition when they are passing it between themselves. This is a powerful hockey tool – and marks out the team that really wants the ball. Slower, less-drilled teams, and more inexperienced players, will simply wait for the ball to come to them instead of running forward towards it. This leaves them wide-open for you to jump in first and steal the ball from them. If you are speedy this is also a great weapon.

Next time you play a match, have in your mind from the start that your aim is to jump in and steal the ball when it’s being passed by the opposite team.

I can’t find a video of how to do this yet – but in the meantime this web site offers quite a good explanation. Click here… Interception