How to score more goals in hockey

This video from Lauren Penny’s Field Hockey Performance Academy is worth a watch. She gives tips for when your team is dominating and you just can’t score…or for when you just want to score more goals. Who doesn’t?

Composure. Don’t panic or worry about missing. Focus on the technical aspects rather than scoring. Focus on staying low and watching the ball on to the stick.

Belief. Lauren thinks a large part of scoring is thinking you can and being confident mentally. Mindset is the most important part of goal scoring.

Deception. Don’t do the obvious. Try to use your body to add deception. Drop your shoulder to fake a move, for example. Don’t try to smack it through their pads but get them moving and go round them.

Avoid perfectionism. Doesn’t matter how you score. A goal is a goal even if it’s from a rumble around the goalkeeper. Just have as many attempts at possible on goal. Bobbly balls and miss hits are all goals they don’t have to be perfect shots.

Always be ready. If a team mate is taking a shot at goal get ready yourself. Get your body low and be ready for passes or rebounds.

While you’re at it, this goal scoring video from Ryde Hockey is also worth a look…


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.

How to score a deflection goal

Deflections and tip-ins are one of the most common ways to score a goal – redirecting the course of a ball hit by a team mate into the goal. Become skilled at it and you’ll be popular with your team.

Deflections are unpredictable for goalies. They pop up, fly wide, spin sideways and are difficult to defend.

Here’s a video with some international goals scored in this way.

Here are some tips to help you score goals by deflecting…

Stick angle: if the goalie is close to you, tilt the head of your stick backwards and this will lift the ball. Impossible to stop. If you’re further away from the goalie be more careful with tilt as it is unpredictable and might make the ball miss the goal. A flat stick might work better as it’s more precise.

Body position: Hands away from body. Hands and eye very close to the ball. Move towards the ball.

In her excellent technical book Field Hockey: Steps to success Elizabeth Anders recommends watching the bottom of the ball rolling towards you. Here’s her advice on how to do a diving deflection.

Field hockey steps to success

In the following video clip, the deflection player tucks himself in behind the goalie. The goalie is watching the original player hit and can’t turn round quick enough to stop the deflection that slips in behind him. 

It is important to keep the stick on or near the ground at all time

Move the stick head towards the ball, in line with the path of the ball.Players should not look at the goal during the skill this makes the stick turn and the ball is not likely to be deflected.

It is important that the player deflecting the ball is not standing too wide of the goal (the ball will be deflected over the back line instead).

Just get a stick on it: however which way you do it, the aim is to touch a hard ball that’s coming in just wide of the goal. If you touch it, you stand a chance of scoring.

This England Hockey has some deflection tips at 4:00 minutes in that might help you.

Jamie Dwyer elimination trick

A great hockey tip from Jamie Dwyer, one of the world’s best Australian hockey players. This is such a good way to eliminate an opposition player in the D, but you’d need to keep your calm to do it. This can help unbalance a defender, leaving them wrong footed and leaving you vital space to shoot – and hopefully score.

What’s not to like!

How to play right wing in field hockey. Insights from playing left back

An injury for a friendly match meant that I had to play left defender in a club hockey match last Saturday. Marking and patrolling to prevent right side attacks from the opposition was one of the best eye openers I have ever had about the best way to play attack. I highly recommend it for any attacker. For example, have a go at defending the position you usually play during training or a friendly match and you will learn a lot.

Here’s what I learned…

  • Dummy leading, then changing to relead on the other side is one of the best ways to make space and fiendishly challenging to track, even for a determined marker like myself. You can see this type of thing on this England Hockey video at around 2:20. It is unbelievably effective and I’ll be doing it a lot more if I play in attack now.
  • Indicating too strongly with your stick you want the ball is a giveaway for whoever is marking you. A visual clue like this is too much of a gift to the defense in club hockey.
  • Attackers get visibly and audibly angry and annoyed when you are marking them out of a game. They start huffing and pushing you. Attackers should try not to show irritation as defenders use this to judge whether or not they are getting it right.
  • It was interesting watching the attacker run at the defense after a break up the pitch. They start to tire after they have beaten a midfielder – looked to me like it would be best to make a pass at that point. When they are coming at you heads down on the ball, running at pace, it’s easy meat. Pass and move is better – now I understand why the coach says that repeatedly.
  • If you get stuck in the corner with the ball and you can’t clear it, roll around and put it on the attackers feet to win a free hit rather than just clearing it off the side. But make sure you don’t hand them the ball – you must put it on their feet.
  • A high press is effective. Attackers pressing high with midfielders pressing high behind them make it harder to find a pass.