This article contains some valuable tips which can be used to
develop field hockey drills, field hockey plays, and assist with
field hockey coaching.
Field Hockey Tactics
The main methods by which the ball is moved around the field by
players are: the "dribble", where the player controls the ball with
the stick and runs with the ball, pushing the ball along as they
run; The "push", where the player uses their wrists to push at the
ball; the "flick" or "scoop", similar to the push but with an
additional wrist action to force the stick through at an angle and
lift the ball off the ground; and the "hit", where a backlift is
taken and contact with the ball is made quite forcefully. In order
to produce a much stronger hit, usually for travel over long
distances, the stick is raised higher and swung at the ball, known
as a "drive". Tackles are made by placing the stick into the path
of the ball. To increase the effectiveness of the tackle, players
will often place the entire stick close to the ground horizontally,
thus representing a wider barrier. To avoid the tackle, the ball
carrier will either pass the ball to a teammate using any of the
push, flick, or hit, or attempt to maneuver or "pull" the ball
around the tackle, trying to deceive the tackler.
When passing and maneuvering between players, certain commands
are used to ensure understanding of movements and plays among
teammates. Although these vary depending on which country the game
is in, there are a few standard calls. By calling "through" or
"straight" the ball is passed straight ahead to another player.
"Flat" or "square" signifies a pass made to the right or left of
the player with the ball at a 90 degree angle. Passes made backward
are occasionally signified by a call of "drop". A hit made forward
at an angle is recognized as "up".
In recent years, the penalty
corner has gained importance as a vital part of the game as a
goal scoring opportunity. Particularly with the advent and
popularisation of the drag
flick, penalty corners are highly sought after. Some tactics or
set plays used involve the aforementioned drag flick, the straight
deflections towards goal, and various, more complex plays,
using passes before shots at goal.
At the highest level, hockey is a fast-moving, highly skilled
sport, with players using fast moves with the stick, quick accurate
passing, and hard hits, in attempts to keep possession and move the
ball towards the goal. While physically tackling and otherwise
obstructing players is not permitted, collisions are common, and
the speed at which the ball travels along the ground (and sometimes
through the air, which is legal if it is not judged dangerous by
the umpire) requires the use
of padded shin guards to prevent injury. Some of the tactics used
resemble football (soccer), but with greater speed - the best
players maneuver and score almost quicker than the eye can see.