Canadian national team captain Scott Tupper shares a few tips on how he executes a winning drag flick…
# Start moving towards the ball when it has half way across the D after the injector has released it.
# Carry the ball as long as possible
# Really release through to the goal with all your body weight and momentum
# Get a footwork routine that you can just repeat each time so you don’t have to think about it.
# There is no one correct way to do a drag flick. Just find the way that suits you best and keep rehearsing it over and over
This video from Reds Hockey Club, Perth, Australia is helpful for learning to dragflick because it slows the clip and directs you to focus on one aspect of the shot.
The coach is Nico Resta from Argentina.
He says there are 15 or 16 points to think about when learning to dragflick and this video looks mostly at three – footwork, body and finishing position.
Grip: Start with your bottom hand in the middle of the stick. You can move it higher as you become more adept.
Feet: Left starts level with the ball.
Back: Chest and back have to be ‘really low’. This is because hand and stick have to parallel with the floor. ‘Always low until you release the ball’.
Here’s another clip of Nico showing off his stick and ball trick skills.
And another of him in action. I love the ball played ahead into space at 6:44 in this clip.
There’s a machine available to help you learn to dragflick. It’s what amounts to an elevated platform. It’s called the Sleeppush – and looks like a mini ski slope. But does it work – and can you buy one?
From the image above, I’m also thinking could you make your own improvised one with a plank of varnished wood propped up one end?
From the scant info available on the manufacturer’s website http://www.sleeppush.nl it looks as if it’s main benefits are that you can train longer with more repetitions because the elevated platform reduces the risk of pain or injury.
It’s also easier to lift the ball towards the goal.
I’d be interested to see how this translates into helping a player improve their actual dragflick from the ground position.
There’s an interesting discussion about it on the excellent Field Hockey Forum.
In response to a ‘how does it work’ query, Hans-Pieter van Beek, who seems to be either the retailer or inventor, posts in response.
“As there is a higher ball position there is less pressure on your knees ankles back and therefore it is more easy to master the technic without getting tired or injured.
“Also there is an innovating S-curve to help you master the right balposition. And as you can see in our movies there is a lot of fun for the kids. Because the kids will succeed easily they will keep interest for developing and training their dragflick.
The website with info about it is http://www.sleeppush.nl. The contact details are
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org but neither of these addresses seem to be working – mail just bounces back.
I can’t find a price at the moment – but I will continue to try and contact the suppliers and post on here if I get any more info. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available outside the Netherlands.
If you’ve experience of this machine or any thoughts about whether it might work or not, I’d love to hear from you.
A feature in the Telegraph (link at end of this blog post) talks about the importance of the drag flick – and why it’s lacking in Team GB women. It also hails Grace Balsdon as the next drag flick specialist.
The piece also links to a brilliant drag flick masterclass from Kwan Browne. Watch right to the end as he teaches the presenter the total beginner’s guide to drag flick footwork.
- He approaches at a 45 degree angle for more power
- Keep head low over the ball. Really important.
- Pull from far behind body to get more power.
- Last big step.
- Follow through with where you’ve delivered the drag flick.
- Left foot in line or in front of ball.
Kwan says he’s worked with javelin coach John Thrower (that name seems ridiculously apt) who suggested it’s important to break down every part of the drag flick to make sure each is contributing to maximum power. The angle of your feet and more hip rotation can apparently give you a more powerful flick.
England Hockey’s official magazine, called (ahem) ‘Hockey’ (Winter 2013 issue) has tips from Beeston and England’s number one George Pinner. I’ve summarised them here – and posted a video of George in action. For the anorak drag flickers among you, there’s some quite good slow motion action here too. The shot looks positioned to just tuck in the top left corner but George gets there first. Impressive hockey skills!
- The secret to a consistently good clearance to your block saves is, he says, using your weight correctly. Get into position with small, fast steps rather than big strides. Lead with your head and keep it in line with the ball at all times. Rotate your hips to maximise the force you impart to the ball.
- Stay balanced – avoid letting your hands or head lag behind your body as you move towards the ball. You need all your weight – ALL your weight! – moving forwards to generate maximum power in your kicks.
- Don’t drop your trailing knee to the ground as you make contact. This makes it tricky to reset yourself quickly if the ball comes back into the D fast.
- Keep the front of your trailing foot on the ground as you strike the ball.
- Send the ball to the sidelines not back where it came from – a disaster.
- You can practise kicking enough. Take an old pair of boots and highlight your instep with a marker pen. Get someone to film you in training and look at whether the ball is making contact on this sweet spot.
- Drill penalty corners but vary who takes the shot so you avoid getting stuck in predictable routines. Get them to take close range shots to hone your reactions.
- Unless you play at a high level remain standing for a penalty corner – you need to quickly realign yourself for a rebound shot.
- Choose a good post player – they need to be brave with excellent trapping skills and good reactions.
For more information about England Hockey see http://www.englandhockey.co.uk or twitter.com/EnglandHockey or facebook.com/EnglandHockey
The magazine is produced by TriNorth Communications, email email@example.com
England Hockey also sell a goalkeeping DVD you may find useful. http://www.englandhockey.co.uk/page.asp?section=938§ionTitle=Goalkeeping+DVD